MICA Photo alum, Jade Warner, wins award, and places in exhibition

Visual Art Exhibition featuring 15 Emerging Artists with Disabilities to Tour Nationally,
September 2017-November 2019


VSA, the Kennedy Center’s international organization on arts and disability, will present artwork by 15 emerging young artists with disabilities, ages 18 to 25, in a traveling exhibition. Titled Detour, this year-long national tour kicks off in Washington, D.C. at the Rayburn House Office Building on September 5, 2018, and is presented through generous support from Volkswagen Group of America.

The 2018 VSA Emerging Young Artists Competition, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program of the Kennedy Center, drew submissions from talented young artists with disabilities from around the U.S. This year’s theme, around which the artists were challenged to create work, was to embrace life’s detours, to seize and explore the spontaneous forays off the beaten path, to consider what’s possible, and to celebrate the marvelous and unexpected. The winners, selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants, were chosen based on the quality of their work, artistic proficiency, and enlightening or compelling interpretations of the theme.

“These young artists have embraced life’s detours. Their work makes visible what is often overlooked and challenges us to see the world from a different point of view, and through their personal lens,” said Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility of the Kennedy Center. “We look forward to seeing the impact these 15 young artists and their work will have on invoking unity and inclusivity across the nation. We thank Volkswagen Group of America for their continued support in making this possible.”

2018 marks the 17th year of the program in which VSA’s Emerging Artists Competition challenges young artists with disabilities to demonstrate their talents and skills across visual arts genres. The winners receive a total of $60,000 in cash awards as well as national recognition via the exhibition, which will travel to museums and galleries as part of a one year national tour. As part of their award package, the winners also receive all-expense paid travel to Washington, D.C. for three days of educational events and seminars September 5-7, 2018, including a reception at the Rayburn House Office Building on September 5, 2018.

The following artists will receive an Award of Excellence in the amount of $2,000:


  • Coco Allred, Seattle, Washington, age 19
  • Xichao (Carol) Cao, Great Neck, New York, age 24
  • Chance DeVille, Lake Charles, Louisiana, age 23
  • Joshua Dixon, Chicago, Illinois, age 19
  • Thomas Haley, Davis, California, age 23
  • Kip Henderson, La Mirada, California, age 21
  • Kat Katz, New York, New York, age 23
  • Sarah McDaniel, Newport News, Virginia, age 25
  • Kyah Probst, St. Louis, Missouri, age 18
  • Leonafire (Alejandra Suarez), Miami, Florida, age 23
  • Oaklee Thiele, Springfield, Illinois, age 19
  • Jade Warner, Denver, Colorado, age 24

Congratualtions, Jade!