Photo Courtesy of The Music Center

Sun Valley Magnet School performs on stage as part of The Music Center's 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival. More than 5,000 children with disabilities and their mainstream peers from all over Los Angeles County gathered to celebrate the arts and their artistic achievements in both the visual and performing arts.    

The Music Center’s 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival welcomed more than 5,000 K-12 students of all abilities from all over Los Angeles County to share their artistic achievements in both the visual and performing arts and to salute their community heroes.

More than 130 schools attended this year’s festival, the only one of its kind in the county, which included live performances of music and movement from more than 80 school groups and a display of more than 1,000 pieces of 2-D and 3-D student artwork presented by more than 60 schools. 

Based on this year’s theme, “Heroes,” the free festival featured continuous student performances on two outdoor stages on The Music Center Plaza, along with numerous visual and performing arts participatory workshops led by both professional teaching artists and high school students.

Students also enjoyed performances by magician Allen Oshiro, The Alley Cats, Diavolo/Architecture in Motion and mimes, The Chameleons; a “hero training” obstacle course presented by adapted physical education departments of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE); an interactive exploration with police officers from the Los Angeles School Police Department and a police car to explore; a showcase of exotic animals from the Wildlife Learning Center; guide puppies from Guide Dogs of America; stilt walkers; photo booths; face painting; and much more.

“The Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival invites students of all abilities to experience the transformative power of the arts and showcase their individual creative achievements,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.

“While their performances and presentations will salute those they consider heroes, these students are the true heroes as they share their accomplishments with their peers, teachers, families and friends,” she explained. “For the past 38 years, The Music Center has touched the lives of more than 250,000 young people with the Very Special Arts Festival, and we remain 100% committed to the important platform this event provides for them.” 

During the Festival, The Music Center Plaza came alive with a range of performances, including instrumental, vocal, dance and other presentations.

Younger students also enjoyed interacting with a number of high school students, including visual arts and theatre students from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), which sponsored a face painting workshop; LACHSA dance students who conducted dance lessons for the students at an on-site disco; and more than 120 student volunteers from Bell Gardens High School.