Very special Arts Singapore (VSA)

The Cause

As signifies the word used, people with “dis”-abilities are sometimes reduced to what is not possible for them. This notion as perceived in public and many times unintentionally reflected in the interaction with people who need a wheelchair to get around, have difficulties to hear or see or who are faced with other adversities, can put additional stress on the affected person. So it is important to acknowledge that special needs must not be an impediment to participate fully in society. But sometimes, even the best technical support equipment is not the key to full enjoyment of life. If confidence is shattered, despair and resignation or even depression can be the worst adversaries to face. Very Special Arts focusses on the talents and abilities of everyone. Arts brings particular benefits for people with special needs as they can help to boost morale and they can even become a means to greater (financial) independence.


The Plan

Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) started to promote the educational, rehabilitative and therapeutic benefits of visual and performing arts for people with special needs and supports arts as a means to integrate individuals with special needs into mainstream society. If possible, VSA acts as an agent to assist their clients to obtain financial assistance/independence through their artistic abilities.

So their programmes range from Handicraft workshops, Saori Handweaving fashion show, Art Seminars, Children's Arts Camp, Art and Handicraft Exhibitions, public performances to dance therapy sessions, overseas arts exchanges and artist attachments. VSA is open to all different groups and tries to offer a variety of services for children, youths and adults; as well as special education teachers, trainers, volunteers and parents of these special people.

Through painting or other forms of expression, youth and children can find a channel to reconnect with their inner struggles and reflect on their challenges. Art is a special medium for this experience as there is no “right” or “wrong” in how to express oneself and one’s feelings. This is the key to regain confidence and a sense of accomplishment for the young painters, sculptures or actors.

Apart from the therapeutical use of art, some of the participants discover their talents in a chosen genre. These talents are nurtured and promoted by VSA so that their clients can sell their artwork to generate additional income for them. Sometimes, the artwork is a way to gain new skills and establish the confidence that is needed to seek employment. VSA accompanies this process and aims to support as much independence as possible for their clients.


To create and provide access and opportunities for people with disabilities through the arts.





Society with the Commissioner of Charities

IPC (institution of public character) status

Member of National Council for Social Service (NCSS)



International branch of VSA


Tommy Koh