About Visionaries of the Creative Arts

Visionaries of the Creative Arts (VOCA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, was established in July 2019 in response to the critical need of supporting the works of the D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing BIPOC artists all together locally and nationwide.  The Deaf/HH BIPOC community and its artists have been overlooked and underrepresented in mainstream and Deaf culture, a form of social injustice that VOCA stands to redress.

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About Our VOCA

History

VOCA’s conception was led by Michelle Banks, our visionary leader along with her co-founder, Nayte Paxton who shared the same vision.  She knew something was missing in the DMV area. After Ms. Banks directed Gallaudet University’s spring 2018 production, A Raisin in the Sun, she realized what was missing -  a permanent home for our local artists.  When Ms. Banks shared her vision with Nayte Paxton who was the director of voice performers for production, both of them eagerly agreed to make the vision come true by embarking on the establishment of VOCA.  As a result, Visionaries of the Creative Arts - VOCA was born!

Mission Statement

To present a visionary platform for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing artists Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BlPOC) to collectively create, collaborate, and showcase their culturally distinct work through various forms of creative arts.

Purposes

  • To increase awareness of intersectionality in the D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, hearing communities by artistically collaborating and celebrating the authenticity of our human experiences together

  • To create unique, aesthetic, and high-quality theatrical presentations in multi sign languages such as American Sign Language (ASL), Black American Sign Language (BASL), and Spoken English.

  • To provide in-depth training programs for people from all walks of life who want to master in one or more creative arts discipline(s) including but not limited to acting, theatrical interpreting, dance, music, ASL poetry and filmmaking and prepare them for employment opportunities in the entertainment industry and theater.

  • To strengthen nationwide and global partnerships with other organizations, businesses, and individuals by participating in the creation of new work or the adaptation of theatrical pieces focusing on deaf-centered themes, Deaf multicultural/cross-cultures, and the art of sign language.

  • To serve as a community center for families, children, and youth to be actively engaged in arts enrichment programs and classes such as interactive ASL while providing access to creative arts resources.