VSA Festival to celebrate the artistic accomplishments of individuals with disabilities

OCDE and VSA Orange County will spotlight the artistic achievements of individuals with disabilities at the 43rd annual VSA Festival, set to take place at MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana on Saturday, April 27.

Part of the countywide Imagination Celebration presented by Arts Orange County, the free, daylong event will give students and adults associated with special education programs throughout the region a chance to showcase their talents in creative writing, dance, music, theater and visual arts.

There will also be plenty of activities for kids, including stations for kite construction, face painting, solar bracelets and Braille bookmarks.

The festival is set to begin with a 10:45 a.m. performance by Frequency, a contemporary a cappella band based in Orange County. At 11 a.m., actor William Allen Young (“Code Black, “Moesha”) will emcee the Opening Ceremonies, introducing musicians, actors and dancers who will perform vignettes based on this year’s theme, “You’re Out of This World.”

Additional performances will continue through 4 p.m. The VSA Festival will also feature Dee Nee the clown, the Small Paintings Project, a photo booth, face painting and other “make and take” workshops, along with a large art exhibit scheduled to remain on display at MainPlace Mall through Mother’s Day.

With a network of affiliates, the international VSA organization was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to increase access to the arts and provide additional educational opportunities. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs in every aspect of the arts, including visual, performing and literary arts.

VSA Orange County began its program in 1976. Sponsored by OCDE and hosted annually by MainPlace Mall, the local festival is part of the countywide Imagination Celebration and supported by organizations including Arts Orange County and the Council for Exceptional Children, Orange County Chapter, No. 188.

For additional information or to volunteer, contact Annabel Arreola at Aarreola@ocde.us or VSA Coordinator Phyllis Berenbeim at pberenbeim@ocde.us.