Recently, I was asked what my plans are for VSA Texas in 2019. What a rich question. We have done so much over the past 20 years, and touched so many lives, that sometimes I think we haven’t told our story very well. One of our supporters recently told me, VSA Texas is a hidden treasure. This got me to thinking. Why are we hidden after so many years of delivering great programming, and what can I do in 2019 to challenge this perception?
Not one to blow my own horn, a few weeks ago I hired a new horn-blower for VSA Texas. Gina Woodruff, our new Development Associate, is digging beneath the surface to discover our true identity, and is showing us how to bring our programs and services out into the light. So, look out world. We are about to get bright and shiny!
So, now that I am thinking about 2019, and an organization name change and all that goes with that, let me share with you some stream of conscious thoughts I have been rolling around in. First, who are we? Are we solely defined by our mission statement? Our diverse, and sometimes scattered, programming? Our friends and supporters? All of the above? None of the above?
Second, what is the real challenge that our programs try to address? Lack of access? Stereotypical thinking and actions? Lack of representation in mainstream creative sectors? Fear and ignorance?
Third, what is the consistent message that people think of when they hear the name, VSA Texas? They do good work? They work with people with disabilities? I don’t really know what they do, but I like them?
As you can tell, the little elves in my mind have been busy; assessing and analyzing, planning and devising, celebrating and creating.
Here is what I know about 2019. It is going to be a time of innovation and growth. We have expanded our Board of Directors and our staff. We have a brand new website that we love! We have witnessed increased participation in both our online and in-person events. We have a loyal group of supporters and friends who give us the honest feedback we need. Our staff is hardworking, dedicated, and underpaid. The mission continues and the work still needs to be done.
In 2019, look for a new course of engaging classes for young adults; increased creative opportunities for veterans and their family members; integrated dance performances and workshops; speaking engagements and trainings for emerging self-advocates; exhibitions and performances by artists, musicians, writers of all ages; and multiple ways for you to challenge stereotypes, break barriers, and celebrate the inclusive, groundbreaking, mind-blowing creativity of everyone.
I hope I can count on you to join us on this journey!