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The Very Special Arts Festival is an annual inclusive event celebrating the artistic achievements of students with all abilities.  The 39th annual festival will take place on Friday, October 20, 2017, with the theme Connecting Our Stories.  For lesson plans, click here.

The festival features student and professional performances on two stages, visual and performing arts workshops, and a student art exhibit created around the theme.  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 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 attend and enjoy the many activities available at the festival.  

Student performances are a highlight of the festival.  In the words of one parent, "When I saw my daughter on stage, I could see the happiness and pride on her face."  Performances should have some relevance to the theme and be no more than five minutes in length.  We welcome all submissions of artwork, poetry or photography that spotlight the theme.  Download the forms below for additional information.

Important Dates
Art Exhibit Guidelines and Labels 
Parent Consent Form
Directions to The Music Center

Buses will drop off students on Hope Street between First Street and Temple Street.  Bus parking instructions will be available in October.


Each year, over 200 volunteers give their time and energy into making the festival possible.  Volunteers are also needed the week before the festival to assist with the mounting of all the student art. 

Volunteer Sign-Up Form


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."