• 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.

  • **The 2020 Very Special Arts Gallery (March 23,2020 -April 18,2020) and Recption (April 18th, 2020) has been cancelled.

    Comments (-1)

2020 Very Special Arts

  •  VSA Logo

    2020 Regional Very Special Arts Exhibit

    March 23-April 18, 2020

    Pew Fine Arts Center, 
    Grove City College, Grove City, PA

    Gallery Hours
    Monday - Friday 8:00-8:00 • Saturday 8:00-5:00
    Closed Sunday

    Reception Honoring the Artists
    Saturday, April 18, 2020 (please note the reception is on a Saturday)

    11:00 am - 2:00 pm

    Pew Fine Arts Center • Grove City College • Grove City, PA

    Activities at Reception
    This event is free and open to students, families, friends, educators and the general public. At the reception, students will have the opportunity to view their selected art in the exhibit and also to participate in arts & crafts and face painting. In addition, they will receive prizes and awards from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the Thirty Three Foundation. Refreshments will be served.

    Hosted by
    Grove City College

    Sponsored by
    We are proud to announce that the Very Special Arts Exhibit will once again be sponsored by:

    Penguins Foundation     Thirty Three Foundation


     We hope to see everyone there!!

2020 Call for Entries

  • NEW
    In an effort to streamline the VSA exhibit there are a few changes. Please note that the student will not be able to participate without the following:

    • Please use this link  to register your students: https://forms.gle/NJwTq4AKLu77JNdCA
    • Please fill out one for each student and submit the form.
    • E-mail melanie.turner@miu4.org that it is ready for pick-up.
    • Please take all your art to the district office.
    • We will then schedule for art to be delivered to the IU
    • Be sure to include the Parent Permission Slips with your entries (the form is below)


    Student registration link:



    Guidelines for the Exhibit

    • Entries are limited to one piece per student. Artwork will be chosen in three categories: Juror's Choice, Honorable Mention, and Group.
    • Size of artwork, unmatted please, is limited to 24"x 36" for flat work and 10 lbs. for 3-D work. Please call if you have a larger entry. (DO NOT staple backing to the artwork.)
    • Students, K-12, may be from any school, public or private, in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer Counties.
    • Mediums acceptable for submission include drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, weaving, printmaking, and digital art.
    • Artwork must not be matted or framed. DO NOT staple backing to the artwork.)
    • Entries must be from the following special populations: Academic Support-Learning Support, Life Skills Support, Emotional Support, Sensory Support, Deaf or Hearing Support, Blind or Visually Impaired, Speech or Language Support; Physical Support, Autistic Support, Multidisabilities Support.
    • Entry blanks must be taped on the back bottom right-hand corner. (Please make sure all information is legible). Additional tags may be downloaded from our website: www.miu4.org/vsa.
    • Artwork may be hand-delivered to MIU IV or sent through MIU IV’s van delivery service. Please be sure to notify Melanie Turner at melanie.turner@miu4.org if we will be delivering your entries to the IU.

    For more information:
    Melanie Turner, melanie.turner@miu4.org or
    Devon Agostino, devon.agostino@miu4.org
    Brenda Marino, Assistant to the Executive Director

    See below for any forms you will need.

Forms Needed for Very Special Arts

Reception Invitation

  • Coming soon. Check back later for an updated invitation.

Directions to Pew FIne Arts Center, Grove City College

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



Program Contacts