Arts festival celebrating Orange County artists with disabilities returns with a new look

46th annual VSA Orange County Festival (2022)
The 46th annual VSA Festival returned as an in-person event in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Marleena Barber)

VSA Orange County, which has existed since 1976, has a new name. 

This week, the program now known as Orange County Arts and Disability unveiled its new name and logo ahead of the 47th annual arts festival, which in April will celebrate the artistic achievements of individuals with disabilities. 

2023 Orange County Arts and Disability

Its origins actually date back to 1974 when VSA, an international organization focusing on arts and disability with affiliates nationally and abroad, was founded as a platform to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and to increase access to the arts. 

For decades, the local program maintained its commitment to providing arts, education and cultural opportunities by, with and for people with disabilities, making the arts accessible to all. 

“Our new name also provides us the opportunity to continue working to normalize and celebrate disability as part of our greater Orange County arts community,” Marleena Barber, director of Orange County Arts and Disability, said. “This new name proudly claims the word ‘disability’ and clearly identifies who we serve.”

The annual arts festival will return to MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana on Saturday, April 29 with the theme “The Adventure Starts Here.”

“The adventure starts with you believing in yourself and having confidence in your talents,” Barber said.

Along with the new name, Orange County Arts and Disability also unveiled its new logo created by Ethan Burns Design.

Orange County Arts and Disability logo

“The two figures express joy, community and inclusivity while celebrating the visual and performing arts,” Barber said. “Purple was chosen because of its ties to creativity and reliability. The orange represents our connection to the broader Orange County arts community.” 

This year’s festival is sponsored by the Orange County Department of Education, Orange County Arts and Disability, MainPlace Mall, Arts Orange County and Imagination Celebration. 

The program is welcoming visual and performing arts submissions. For additional information, contact Marleena Barber, OCDE Visual and Performing Arts consultant and director of VSA Orange County, at s.mbarber@ocde.us.