VIDEO: VSA Festival to celebrate the artistic accomplishments of individuals with disabilities

The Orange County Department of Education and VSA Orange County are teaming up to celebrate the artistic achievements of individuals with disabilities at the 42nd annual VSA Festival.

The event, hosted by MainPlace Mall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, 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 free activities for kids at stations throughout the mall, including kite construction, face painting, storytelling, jewelry making, bubble art, a photo booth and more.

An image of children from the VSA Festival“We try to make this a celebration not only for participants but for their families,” says VSA Orange County Coordinator Phyllis Berenbeim.

All activities are free and open to the public. MainPlace Mall is located at 2800 N. Main St. in Santa Ana.

As Berenbeim explains in the video above, VSA is an international organization that was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts opportunities for individuals with special needs. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs.

VSA Orange County began its program in 1976, which is the first year of the VSA Festival. The event has become part of the countywide Imagination Celebration, backed by supporting organizations such as Arts Orange County, MainPlace Mall and the Council for Exceptional Children, Orange County Chapter, No. 188.

This year’s festival is set to begin with a 10:45 a.m. performance by the Darden Sisters, an Orange County group presented by Segerstrom Center for the Arts. At 11 a.m., actor William Allen Young will emcee the Opening Ceremonies, introducing musicians, actors and dancers who will perform vignettes based on this year’s theme, “You’ve Gotta Have HeART.”

Additional performances will be featured through 4 p.m. But if you can’t make it that day, you’ll still be able to view the 800-piece art exhibit, which is scheduled to remain on display at MainPlace through May 13.