VSA Arts Tennessee
1210 Lake Rise Place
Gallatin TN 37066
Mission Statement
VSA Tennessee uses the arts as a tool to help individuals with disabilities in Tennessee reach educational and professional goals.  We also strive to provide opportunities for people to participate in, express themselves through and enjoy arts activities.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Lori Kissinger
Board Chair Mr. Mike Mitchell
Board Chair Company Affiliation FedEx
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 2002
Former Names
Very Special Arts
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $79,000.00
Projected Annual Revenue $79,000.00 (2017)
Mission VSA Tennessee uses the arts as a tool to help individuals with disabilities in Tennessee reach educational and professional goals.  We also strive to provide opportunities for people to participate in, express themselves through and enjoy arts activities.
Background VSA arts International was founded by Jean Kennedy Smith in 1974 with a mission to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through the arts. The organization was originally known as Very Special Arts. VSA formed affiliates in every state and 60 countries. Tennessee was the last state to have an affiliate. Our organization began with Middle Tennessee State University serving as the fiscal agent in 2001 while we formed the organization. The organization became a nonprofit in September 2002.In 2012, VSA International became a program of the John F. Kennedy Center.  Now all VSA affiliates are affiliated with the John F Kennedy Center, but there is no longer any funding support from the national connection.
Impact Some of our top accomplishments over the past year have been: 1) Selected as the organization to create the ornaments for the National Christmas Tree that would represent the State of Tennessee, 2) Coordinated 40 international art/education exchanges, 3) Worked with people with disabilities to create a quilt that was accepted into the US Department of State's Art in Embassies Program and is now touring the world in US Embassies as a piece of US Cultural history, 4) Were selected by the Tennessee Residence to create ornaments for the tree, 5) Began a Corporate Art Program in which people with disabilities create commissioned artwork for corporations under the direction of a professional artist.   Our goals are 1) To continue to work on a plan that will ensure stability of the finances of the organization. 2) To develop a program with the United Nations (they have agreed to partner).  This program would teach individuals with disabilities skills while tying into a United Nation's goal, 3) Expand our Young Soloist program to include more professional development for the participants; 4) Expand our Corporate Arts Program; 5) Continue to provide international art/education exchanges.
A person in the music industry to help us with our Young Soloist program 
Volunteer to help with some computer and technical assistance
An accessible location for workshops
A sponsor for our dulcimer and dance programs
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer VSA Tennessee could use an in-kind donation of a laptop, sewing machines, a video camera and copy paper.  We accept donations by check and donations can be made through paypal at our web site.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Arts,Culture & Humanities NEC
Secondary Organization Category Education / Special Education
Tertiary Organization Category Diseases Disorders & Medical Disciplines /
Areas of Service
Areas Served
We are a statewide organization and offer programs throughout Tennessee.
CEO Statement Before becoming the Director of VSA arts Tennessee, I was a VSA artist for VSA Indiana and had the opportunity to use music to work with children with disabilities. I saw test scores increase, communication improve and children accomplish goals that their teachers, doctors and even parent said was impossible. The arts provide a bridge for people with disabilities to join the community. It allows them expression, self-esteem and a tool for employment and communication. Over 20% of any given population has a disability. Disability does not discriminate with age, gender, ethnic background or social class. It is important to offer opportunities for expression and independence to all individuals and when we do the entire community benefits in the end. I have seen VSA work miracles. I want to see the citizens of Tennessee, especially the children, have the same opportunities and advantages as the rest of the country.
Description VSA provides artist residencies using the arts as a tool to help educators reach educational and behavioral goals. In the residencies, artists work with children with disabilities and teachers to reach  behavioral goals. Residencies have resulted in student run businesses being created, a presentation of a canvass painting to the State legislative body, a student winning a national award and trip to Washington DC, and national publications.
Budget 25000
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Arts & Culture
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,
Program Success Monitored By The program is monitored by the national VSA organization and the TN Dept of Education. 
Description The Young Soloist Award is available to any musician or vocalist under the age of 25 with a disability. It includes a monetary award, plaque and performance opportunities and the opportunity to compete in the national competition for scholarships and to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The Playwright Competition is open to any middle or high school student with or without a disability. The play that they write must deal with a disability issue. Monetary awards and a reading of the winning play is given as prizes. In addition, the top two winners are sent into a national competition for scholoarships. VSA sometimes offers visual arts competitions as well.
Budget 5000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.), Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified
Description VSA Tennessee offers workshops annually for young people with disabilities to expose them to potential careers, allow them to give back to the community and or connect them to other cultures.  In the upcoming year, we will once again offer our Souper Bowl program in which children with visual impairments host an exhibit of bowls that they create and the money and canned food they collect go to the Nashville Rescue Mission. We also offer a program called Teapot Diplomats that offers a variety of free workshops that allows individuals with disabilities to create items that are later sold and the proceeds benefit the participants.  In addition, we offer a Corporate Arts Program that teaches young people with disabilities how to create commissioned pieces of art.
Budget 15000
Population Served , ,
Description The Movement Connection is a performing Dance Company that is housed at the Dayani Center on the campus of Vanderbilt.  The students learn a variety of dance forms and perform in the community.  The program is for young adults with Down syndrome. 
Budget $3000
Population Served , ,
Description VSA Tennessee offers a weekly music program on the Appalachian Dulcimer in cooperation with the Blair School of Music for young adults with Autism.
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music
Population Served General/Unspecified, People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities,
CEO Comments
 VSA Tennessee is proud to position the State of Tennessee as a leader in an international arts/education exchange.  This project has grown much larger than we had anticipated and is now receiving a reception both at the US State Department and US Capitol.  However, this is requiring more travel to Washington DC than we had originally budgeted for the year as we had no idea that this project would grow to the size it has grown.  We also would like to send a young person to Washington to make a special presentation. We could use funding to assist us with this project. 
Our Young Soloist and Playwright programs have so much potential. These programs help train young people in music and writing.  They also send at least 2 students per program into a national scholarship program.  We would like to be able to highlight the participants in these programs more through community readings of the plays and performances of the Young Soloists.  Donors for either of these programs would be greatly appreciated.  These programs teach life and career skills as well as promote the talents of these young people.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Mike Mitchell
Company Affiliation FedEx
Term May 2017 to May 2018
Email mtmitchell@fedex.com
Board Members
Mr. Robbie Ammons PCG EducationVoting
Ellen Butrum EducatorVoting
Miranda Christy Dodson, Parker, Behm & CapparellaVoting
Mr Mike Collins Manier & HerodVoting
Mrs Estelle Condra Self-employedVoting
Alicia Cumberbatch alicia.cumberbatch@Vanderbilt.Edu Voting
Marisa Frank Nashville Classical Charter SchoolVoting
Barbara Gunn Lartey barbara.gunnlartey@nashville.gov Voting
Mr. Mark Henry Morgan, Johnson, Carpenter & Co.Voting
Mr Mark Holcomb State Auto Insurance CoVoting
Sharon Kay Fisk UniversityVoting
DeeGee Lester Nashville ParthenonVoting
Mr Eric Manchir PaycorVoting
Mike Mitchell FedEXVoting
Alanna Rosen TeacherVoting
Mr Mike Ryckeley GAPVoting
Mr. John Sergent First Tennessee BankVoting
Ms. Alicia Stewart Public Consulting GroupVoting
Ms Lori Ward Tennessee Performing Arts CenterVoting
Ms. Cynthia Watkins Belmont UniversityVoting
Ms. Claudia Weber TN Dept of EducationVoting
Mr. JP Williams Singer/SongwriterVoting
Ms Irene Williams Self employed web designerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 19
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 4 Disabilities
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 14
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? No
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Lori Kissinger
Term Start Aug 2001
Email userk7706@comcast.net
Experience Lori Kissinger has a BA in marketing from the University of Southern Indiana, a MLIS in Library Science from Indiana University, a MA in Communication from Indiana State University and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She worked for 11 years as the Director of a Regional Arts Council in Southwestern Indiana where she created a regional program that was later adopted by the State Arts Commission and created an international art exchange with Japan that was the first of its kind. She later worked for 3 years in the Communication Department at the University of Southern Indiana. Upon moving to Tennessee, she found VSA arts Tennessee. Along with running this State organization she is also a full-time Communication Instructor at Middle Tennessee State University.
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 50
Contractors 15
Retention Rate 100%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Under Development
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 3
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Jan 2011
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? No
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? No
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization2002
National Endowment for the Arts2006
Americans for the Arts2002
Tennessee Arts Commission2002
Tennesseans for the Arts2002
Program of the YearNashville Public Relations Society2006
Public Awareness and OutreachVSA arts International2006
Challenge AmericaNational Endowment for the Arts2006
Public ServiceMTSU2007
LeadershipVSA arts International2008
Professional AwardNashville Mayor's Committee on People with Disabilities2008
Arts ServicesThe Arc of Tennessee2009
Arts ShowcaseThe Arc of Tennessee2010
Reader's Choice Best NonprofitNews Examiner Newspaper2011
Outstanding Experiential Learning Scholars ProgramMiddle Tennessee State University2013
Nonprofit of the YearMusic City Guitar Tour2013
TN Organization selected to create ornaments for National Christmas treeNational Parks Foundation2013
Challenge AmericaNational Endowment for the Arts2014
Innovative PartnershipsVSA International2014
Service Learning Community PartnerMiddle Tennessee State University2014
Big Payback Twitter Contest winnerCommunity Foundation of Middle Tennessee2014
Christmas Tree OrnamentsNational Parks2014
Big Payback Twitter ContestCommunity Foundation of Middle Tennessee2015
Christmas Tree Ornaments for National TreeNational Parks Foundation2015
Christmas Tree Ornaments for Tennessee ResidenceGovernor's Office2015
Art In Embassies Program/Quilt/Recognized as part of American Cultural HeritageUS Department of State2015
Teapot Diplomacy for International 40 Days Around the World ProjectUS Department of State2015
Service to MankindSertoma2016
TN organization selected to create ornaments for the national Christmas treeNational Parks2016
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Oct 01 2016
Fiscal Year End Sept 30 2017
Projected Revenue $79,000.00
Projected Expenses $79,000.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Percentage (if selected) 0%
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$84,852$94,239$87,471
Administration Expense$3,494$3,419$4,665
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.141.091.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses96%96%95%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$153,427$140,750$132,746
Current Assets$153,247$140,750$132,746
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$2,485$2,485$2,485
Total Net Assets$150,762$138,265$130,261
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities61.6756.6453.42
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $81,565Contributions, Gifts & Grants $48,069Government Grants and Contributions $41,100
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Revenue $11,200Government Grants $40,150Individual Contributions $40,185
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants $4,632Related Organizations $9,750Registration/Tickets $4,986
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Mar 2018
Solicitations Permit
Charitable Soliciations Permit
GivingMatters.com Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from 990.
990 completed by John P. Young, P.C. 
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 2/17/17.
Nonprofit VSA Arts Tennessee
Address 1210 Lake Rise Place
Gallatin, TN 37066
Primary Phone (615) 210-8819
Contact Email userk7706@comcast.net
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Lori Kissinger
Board Chair Mr. Mike Mitchell
Board Chair Company Affiliation FedEx
Year of Incorporation 2002
Former Names
Very Special Arts