Banner - Competitions for Young Soloists, Artists, & Playwrights with a photo of a young man playing the piano 

If art shapes our culture, young artists shape our future.

The Access/VSA International Network is proud to support young emerging artists with disabilities. Performing artists, playwrights, and visual artists may apply to annual competitions. Multiple winners receive monetary awards and get the chance to be mentored by industry professionals, participate in professional development activities provided by the Kennedy Center, and showcase their work at a national level. Past Access/VSA program recipients have gone on to successful careers in music, theater, and the visual arts. We hope you, your students, and/or mentees will take advantage of these fabulous opportunities.

Access/VSA Emerging Young Artists Program

Artists with disabilities are invited to submit artwork that demonstrates excellence and their individual perspectives from the experience of disability. Artists must be ages 16-25 and reside in the United States. Applications typically open in November.

Access/VSA Emerging Young Artists “MERGE” Exhibition 

  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20566): June 3-July 24, 2022
  • VAE (228 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601): Aug 1-Oct 28, 2022
  • State University of New York: Adirondacks (640 Bay Rd, Queensbury, NY 12804): Nov 10-Dec 19, 2022
  • University of Toledo, Center for Visual Arts Gallery (620 Art Museum Drive, Toledo, OH 43620): Jan 17-Feb 17, 2023

 Access the digital catalogue here.

Learn more about the program!


Access/VSA International Young Musicians Award Program 

Calling all musicians with disabilities ages 14-25! The Access/VSA International Young Musicians program is open to U.S. and international soloists and ensembles of any genre or instrument, including voice. Applications typically open in November.

Applications now open! Apply by Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11:59 ET



Access/VSA Playwright Discovery Program

Young writers* with disabilities and collaborative groups that include students with disabilities are encouraged to craft 10-minute works about any topic, including the disability experience. Material should be written to be performed, and can include plays, spoken word poetry (for single performer or a group), or music theater. Applications typically open in November. *U.S. writers must be in grades 6-12 (or equivalents). Non-U.S. writers must be ages 11-18. 

Applications now open!  Apply by Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET