The Very Special Arts Festival is an annual admission-free event celebrating the artistic achievements of students with disabilities and their mainstream peers.
The 34th annual festival took place October 26, 2012 and featured student and professional performances on two stages, workshops in the visual and performing arts, and a student art exhibit created around the theme, Harmony.
Presented in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Very Special Arts Festival is free to the public and open to all grade levels.
Your students can participate in the festival in multiple ways. You can prepare a performance for one of the outdoor stages, submit artwork for display, or simply enjoy the many activities available at the festival.
Dedicated teachers from over 50 schools throughout Los Angeles County give their students the opportunity to perform at The Music Center, creating theme-based music and dance routines. In the words of one parent, "When I saw my daughter on stage, I could see the happiness and pride on her face. The kids pour their hearts into it."
The AXIS Dance Company performed at the October 26th festival. This company has redefined traditional notions of dance, creating movements evolving from the collaboration between dancers with and without disabilities. For more information on AXIS Dance Company.
Each year, over 200 volunteers give their time and energy into making the festival possible. Volunteers are needed to assist with the mounting of all the student art the week before the festival.
CHOOSING WORDS WITH DIGNITY
What you write and say creates images and perceptions about people with disabilities. Using negative words encourages stereotyping. Positive, constructive words can enhance the dignity of people with disabilities and promote positive attitudes about their abilities. Avoid negative terms such as "victim," "cripple," lame," stricken" or "afflicted by" (disability). When talking to or about people with disabilities, refer to the person first rather than the disability.
Some appropriate phrases include:
* Person (or child or student) who is visually impaired
* Person who is deaf
* Person who uses a wheelchair
* Person with developmental disabilities
* Person who has muscular dystrophy
It is no longer appropriate to use the term "handicap" when referring to a disability. The appropriate terminology to use would be "disability." Avoid using education or medical jargon and acronyms (e.g., "OH" or "SED") to describe students. Positive descriptions include, for example, "child with physical disabilities" or "student with severe emotional disturbances."