ADI began in 1985 under the name Very Special Arts Ireland (VSA Ireland). Allied to VSA in the USA, VSA Ireland was also part of City Arts Centre’s innovative artistic programme. VSA Ireland’s profile was raised significantly in 1993 when Jean Kennedy Smith, founder of Very Special Arts, became US Ambassador to Ireland.
In 2001 VSA Ireland changed its name to Arts & Disability Ireland (ADI) in order to reflect contemporary thinking in relation to language and disability. From 2003 ADI was based at Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.
Since 2005 ADI has broadened its programme and services to include audiences with disabilities as well as artists. This reflects our belief that the opportunity to experience the best of Irish arts is everyone’s right, and is central to fostering debate and inspiring creativity in all people.
In recent times ADI has enjoyed a period of significant growth, during which we have piloted and developed a wide range of projects and services.