Thursday, July 24, 2014

Radio Camp at VSA Texas!

Welcome back to the blog of VSA Texas!

For those who read our last post, you may remember me- but I will introduce myself again.  My name is Austin, and I am the intern here at VSA Texas.  I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the VSA Texas team and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences here with you all through this blog!  

As the newest member of our office, it has been quite the ride trying to keep up with all the programs, activities and camps we have going on here, in the office and beyond.  This summer, in addition to all of our regular programs and events, we are holding camps and internships for youths with disabilities.  So far, we have hosted an Arts and Crafts camp, Animation Internship, and a Comedy/ Improv camp.  Right now, we are in the midst of Radio Camp, taught by our very own Eric Clow!  Eric has had a long history of radio experience, telling me:

"I began my adventures in radio as a student DJ and volunteer for KALX, UC Berkeley's radio station.  I hosted a weekly music show in the early hours of Saturday mornings from 1:00-3:30am and learned most of what I know about radio during those long, coffee-fueled nights of spinning records and trying to hide my exhaustion during mic breaks.  After graduating from college, I moved to Austin and soon began to volunteer with KOOP, one of Austin's great community radio stations. I gained valuable experience in news and public affairs programming by apprenticing with Thor Armbruster and contributing to his show, The Common Thread, which featured important news and music from the disability community. I soon completed DJ training and became a certified programmer at KOOP radio. While I currently do not have a regular radio show, I will always have a soft spot for DJing, and I hope to once again find myself on the airwaves."

Today we spent the morning learning about Public Service Announcements (PSA), which eventually culminated in the campers making their own PSA’s for a variety of real and imaginary topics.  Topics ranged from preventing animal abuse to a "Charity for Chairs Without Seats," with small groups writing scripts and then recording their PSA and editing it with GarageBand.  During the afternoon, we came up with a list of imaginary products and recorded commercials to advertise them! We all shared a lot of laughs over the brainstorming and recording of these fake commercials.  It was a great way to get some more practice recording segments and editing their commercials with GarageBand.  

Some of these inventions could be quite useful, in my opinion…

Radio camp continues until the end of next week, and will unfortunately be our last camp of the summer.  I will be sad to see all the campers go- they light up the building and fill our halls with laughter.

On Thursday, April and Eric will be traveling to Houston for the Abilities Expo, held at the NRG Center on July 25th- July 27th.  April will be running the Artist Market Booth, which will have artwork for sale by seven Houston artists with disabilities.  Each purchase will support both VSA Texas and the artist, with 30% going to the organization and 70% going to the artist.  Eric, along with Gene Rodgers, will be presenting a workshop entitled, Help! I Need Somebody: Getting and Keeping the Help You Need at Work, Home, Travel, and Play.  The workshop will be held on Friday, July 25th from 3:45-4:45. Please visit the Houston Abilities Expo website for more information:

Tickets are on sale for our Stand Up for Mental Health Comedy Show, which will be held at the Cap City Comedy Club on August 24th.  Tickets are $10 with a 2-item minimum food/drink purchase per person at the event. To purchase tickets, please visit:
For more ticket information call 512-454-9912 or email

We love hearing your feedback! Please use the comment section below to let us know what you think or ask any questions you have our blog or about VSA Texas. Until next time!  

I would also like to wish a very happy birthday to our Executive Director, Celia Hughes, who is in Washington D.C. for the annual meeting. Happy Birthday Celia- we all wish you were here to celebrate it with us!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Welcome to the blog of VSA Texas!

Hello all!

Welcome to the new blog of VSA Texas! My name is Austin Hughes, and I’m the newest addition to the VSA staff here in Austin, Texas. 

Through this blog, we’ll be sharing more with you all about the goings-on here: who we are as a staff, special projects and activities here at VSA Texas, and some information about other interesting arts events around town and beyond!  We hope to be your one-stop destination for all the information you’ll need to be a part of our diverse yet inclusive community. 

I’ll start with who I am!  I come to Austin from Boston, MA where I recently graduated with a degree in Psychology from Boston College.  As a Boston native born and raised, this has been my first experience with Texas, and I have loved every minute! I had my first breakfast taco last week, and let me tell you- it was life changing.  As VSA Texas’ intern, I help out with the camps and internships and assist with the management of our social media. I also occasionally provide comic relief to our hardworking staff.

Celia Hughes, Executive Director of VSA Texas, has been a huge part of my transition to Austin!  Despite being the rock of VSA Texas and overseeing all of our programs and events, she has been a tireless tour guide and taken it upon herself to show me the ropes of this new city. However, on our recent trip to El Paso for the “Arts Alive!” conference, I was able to show Celia something new: the selfie! See below for evidence.

Can you believe this was her first selfie?

The other staff members that make up the backbone of VSA Texas are April Sullivan, Eric Clow, and Lynn Johnson.  April is our fearless (and patient) Artworks Director.  April is perpetually cool, calm and collected, which are all characteristics that serve her well while she helps run VSA Texas’ summer camps and internships! 

Eric, having come to VSA Texas originally as a volunteer at our summer camp, felt unable to leave this magical place and has stuck around as the Project Coordinator of the Opening Minds, Opening Doors program.  Eric also assists with the comic relief and has been rumored to provide handheld fans to anyone that needs some relief from the humid Texan weather.

Last, but certainly not least, Lynn works as the manager of Community Relations and Outreach Services, and importantly keeps the rest of the staff in line.  She also has the best coffee in town, so if you’re ever in the building I would stop by and see if a fresh pot is brewing!

Well thanks for checking out our blog! I hope you enjoyed this short introduction to the staff at VSA Texas.  We’ll all be contributing our thoughts and updates here, so check back in weekly for more updates, information, and interesting happenings over here at VSA Texas!