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VSA Arts of Massachusetts to Produce Multimedia Jazz Event

The VSA arts of Massachusetts and Wheelock Family Theatre (WFT), both celebrating their 25th anniversary seasons, have collaborated to present a multimedia, multi-sensory and interactive improvised jazz music event, JazzArtSigns , on March 9, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.

Bostonian Lisa Thorson, a jazz vocalist, actress and music educator, is the creator of JazzArtSigns and has been working with VSA arts of Massachusetts for many years to develop this project. As a wheelchair user, Thorson had been observing disabled people’s inaccessibility to the arts and culture and envisioned events where people with and without disabilities could equally participate in the live concert experience. In 1999, her dream became a reality, with support from VSA arts of Massachusetts’ National Cultural Arts Initiative, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Berklee College of Music’s Faculty Fellowship Program.

Thorson’s image of a universally accessible concert experience is now realized on stage with performers Lisa Thorson, acclaimed jazz vocalist; Cercie Miller, saxophones; Tim Ray, piano; David Clark, bass; George Schuller, drums; Nancy Ostrovsky, improvisational painter; Jody Steiner and Misha Derrisaint, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters; Vince Lombardi, audio describer; and Don DePew of the Caption Coalition.

In addition to the concert, VSA arts of Massachusetts will be sponsoring workshops for students and presenters in jazz and painting improvisation, universal design in the arts and audience development that aim to encourage community building of participants and presenters alike and provide a peek at the future of cultural access.

VSA arts of Massachusetts, which stands for “the Vision of an inclusive community, Strength in shared resources and Artistic expression that unite us al” is an organization that works to improve access for people with disabilities through the arts. WFT is a Boston-based non-profit theatre dedicated to complete access for all in the arts, with their efforts mostly concentrated on people who are historically underserved.

Tickets for the JazzArtSigns concert are $20 and $10 for students. Ticket information by voice is available at (617) 879-2300; for TTY, call (617) 879-2150; or by email at [email protected]

Originally Published