Every fall, employees working at Volkswagen Group of American (VWGoA) headquarters in Herndon, Va., enjoy a more colorful, creative and vibrant view on their way in and out of the office. This is because Volkswagen supports VSA, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ international organization on arts and disability.
Since 2002, VWGoA has supported the VSA Emerging Young Artists Program, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program, recognizing talented young artists with disabilities from across the country. And as in years past, VWGoA again welcomed the artwork back to headquarters, on display in the office lobby for several weeks as part of the travelling exhibit, Electrify!
“We are thrilled to once again support VSA’s Emerging Young Artist Competition, as the program not only empowers young artists but inspires our entire company,” said David Geanacopoulos, Senior Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Public Policy, VWGoA. “The program combines art and culture while advocating for diversity and inclusion, all values that VWGoA promotes throughout the organization.”
Both the exhibit, and the young – and incredibly inspiring – artists joined VWGoA colleagues and guests for the kick-off reception to celebrate their outstanding, award-winning pieces. VWGoA colleagues had the opportunity meet the young artists and hear about their artwork and the stories behind the pieces.
“These young artists challenge us to see the world from a different point of view, and through their personal lens. Their work will spark debate and conversation, and ultimately ignite understanding,” said Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility of the Kennedy Center. “We thank Volkswagen Group of America for their continued support in making this possible. We look forward to seeing the impact these 15 young artists and their work will have on invoking unity and inclusivity across the nation.”
The 2017 exhibition theme, Electrify!, encouraged artists to excite the senses and awaken the audience’s curiosity. Hundreds of artists applied for this honor and of those, 15 were selected as finalists. After the exhibit leaves Volkswagen headquarters, it will receive national recognition, on display in galleries across the U.S. for a year until returning to the Kennedy Center for the last installation.
“I am very honored to have been chosen to be a part of the 2017 VSA Young Emerging Artists Competition,” said Trinity Kai, grand prize winner for Insight, a work of gum dichromate over palladium. “It was a wonderful experience to be able to meet everyone involved in the program – both the fellow artists and all of those who support this incredible program. I enjoyed the reception at Volkswagen, meeting the employees and sharing my story with them. VSA has already impacted my life because it’s brought together such a wonderful and unique group of artists, provided us with the opportunity to learn from each other and make important connections at this stage in our careers.”
Additionally, all finalists receive a cash award and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for a three-day session of workshops and discussions at the Kennedy Center to promote professional development and career advancement.
To learn more about the 2017 VSA Emerging Young Artist Competition finalists, visit https://media.vw.com/en-us/releases/945. For more information about the Kennedy Center or the VSA Emerging Young Artist Program, go to http://education.kennedy-center.org/education/vsa/.