Since 1989, MIU IV’s Very Special Arts has celebrated the abilities of special needs students (K-12) through an art exhibit held at Grove City College. From the 30 participants 20 years ago to the 800 participants in last year, our regional exhibit brings together students, teachers, families and the general public at an opening reception where the young artists receive certificates and programs listing all participants.
VSA Arts (formerly Very Special Arts) is an international nonprofit organization affiliated with the education programs of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. It is designed to give special needs children and adults the opportunity to develop and showcase their creative abilities. Very Special Arts is founded on the belief that the arts are a universal language that challenges people to look beyond themselves and celebrate their diversity.
What Teachers Say
The Very Special Arts Exhibit truly is “very special” the MIU4 is providing an outstanding opportunity for children to be able to showcase their creative spirit and it provides them with a very important chance to shine. The generosity of the sponsors has provided our students with beautiful medals and fantastic art kits but, even more special is that this has helped foster a newfound confidence and pride that makes a lasting impression. Thank you for the high level of quality that this exhibit maintains each year.
- Yvonne DelFratte, Elementary Art Teacher, Sharpsville Area School District.
“I just wanted to say thank you again for giving our students a chance to shine! For some of them, it is the only chance they have to shine and that is why your job is so important and special.”
- Linda Jacobs, Art Teacher, Union Area School District.
I had a lot of very thankful parents email me to let me know how much they appreciated the event. Thanks for having it!
- Miss Katie DeAndrea, Art Teacher, Mars Area Primary Center &, Elementary School, Mars Area School district want to thank you for all your hard work with the Very Special Arts Exhibit. It is a HUGE undertaking and I was so impressed with the show. One student took his grandmother (to the reception) because the portrait was of his Grandfather, and he said it made her cry. She hadn’t seen it before that.
- Michelle Dobi, Laurel Elementary, Laurel School District
The Very Special Arts Show is a wonderful opportunity for my students to shine. For many of these students, such opportunities are few and far between. The Very Special Arts Show allows each student to create something that they are proud of and then displays the artwork in a real art gallery which showcases each students’ submission in a beautiful and professional manner. And if this weren’t enough to build the self-esteem of my students, the awards given to the students on the day of the reception are the “icing on the cake”. From the medals to the tee shirts, to the art boxes and the certificates for participation, all enhance the overall experience for these children and make them feel important and valued. But the experience even goes further than this. The Very Special Arts Show does much to help families feel that their children are appreciated as students in their schools. They are able to attend the artists’ reception as a family unit, and they are able to celebrate their child’s achievement.
Words cannot express how grateful I am as a special needs teacher that my students and their families have this opportunity. Thank you to everyone who makes the art show come together each year. It seems to grow and become more wonderful with each new year, and my students and I look forward to participating and seeing the wonderful results. Your efforts are appreciated by the staff and students of Hillview Elementary School!
- Deborah Vechnak, Special Education Teacher, Grove City Area School District
Thank yo so much for giving our students the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how gifted they truly are! This helps improve their self-esteem and feeling of success. It also gives the community a sense of pride to display their students’ artwork. I am proud of my students at Farrell and appreciate the time and effort to so such a wonderful job with the Children’s Art Exhibit.
- Tina Rodgers, Life Skills Teacher, Farrel Area School District