Arts festival to celebrate Orange County artists with disabilities on April 29

VSA festival crowd from above

The 47th annual Orange County Arts and Disability Festival is returning to MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana on April 29 with the theme “The Adventure Starts Here.” 

Orange County Arts and Disability logo

The Orange County Department of Education is continuing its longtime partnership with Orange County Arts and Disability, formerly known as VSA Orange County, to host the daylong event. The festival is part of Arts Orange County’s annual “Imagination Celebration,” which provides opportunities for students and adults with disabilities to exhibit artwork and showcase their talents in writing, dance, music, theater and visual art. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 11 a.m. in Macy’s Court. 

“This year’s theme seemed appropriate with our recent update in branding and name change,” Marleena Barber, director of Orange County Arts and Disability, said. “It’s the start of a new adventure for us and for our artists. We hope this theme inspires them on their personal journeys and adventures in life.” 

The annual event began in 1977 and is held each spring to culminate year-round school and community-based art program efforts. The goal of the festival is to provide opportunities for artists with disabilities to showcase their work, and to provide education and awareness on disability.

Groups including OCDE’s special schools will perform on the main stage.

Offstage, there will be art activities, a mall-wide scavenger hunt, an art exhibit and a resource fair with 20 different community organizations available for the public to learn more about arts and disability. 

The art exhibit will feature 450 pieces created by local adults and students with disabilities, including student Bryan Ha from the Huntington Beach Unified School District’s adult transition program. His piece, titled “The Adventure Starts Here,” was selected as the themed artwork for this year’s festival. 

“It takes courage to express yourself and put yourself out there,” said Barber. “The adventure can start here at our festival and on our stage, but it can also start within you.”

For additional information, contact Marleena Barber, OCDE Visual and Performing Arts consultant and director of Orange County Arts and Disability, at