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VERY SPECIAL ARTS (article first published : 2003-04-15)

It is the intention of Very Special Arts of Indiana to collaborate with VSA arts of South Africa in 2003 and 2004 in an International Exchange of the Artistic Expressions of young people with and without disabilities. The artwork done by young people in the state of Indiana, USA arrives in Cape Town in March with the First Lady of Indiana, Mrs Judy O'Bannon, and her delegation of Community Building Leaders.

Jim Nulty, President and CEO of VSA arts of Indiana, is asking teachers in South Africa to work through VSA arts of SA and George Africa to engage their students in artistic expressions that explore or express their impressions of HIV/AIDS in their lives today. Both VSA arts affiliates realize the devastation of the disease in the US and in SA and throughout the world.

“We also realize the arts are a universal language which is used by young artists to communicate thoughts and ideas,” says Jim Nulty. “In October 2003 we would like to have the artwork sent from Cape Town to Indiana for exhibit here in our school system and in our art galleries on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2003.

“The exhibit will stay in the US and be on display in Washington, DC during the month of June 2004 at the VSA arts International Festival.

“George Africa, of VSA arts of SA will be in attendance and present the exhibit to the International audience of VSA arts affiliates. This is an opportunity for the artwork of young South Africans to be viewed. Their message will be read through their images. The project allows for creative expression; enhances opportunities for HIV education to take place and encourages young people to experience the power of the arts to impact universal and social change.”

Jim Nulty adds: “In 2004 it is our intention to do a "distance learning" project with some of the students in SA and the US. This would involve a live video feed that will allow the students to see and hear each other. Their discussion will focus on the exhibit and their lives and how they see HIV in the future of their countries. This exchange of artistic expressions and thoughts and ideas will enhance learning for all involved.”

Those interested in joining this initiative should contact George Africa of VSA South Africa on e-mail: geoafrica@telkomsa.net




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