Volunteers sought for arts festival

PARKERSBURG – Volunteers are being sought for the 15th annual Very Spectacular Arts Festival in March.

The arts festival will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. March 27 at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

This year’s theme is “Up, Up and Away.” The festival is co-sponsored by Artsbridge and WVU-P for students with disabilities from school systems in seven counties in West Virginia and two in Ohio, said publicity chair Sarah Jalbert.

The program is for special education students from Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties in West Virginia and Washington and Morgan counties in Ohio. Student registration is available now and any special education teacher wanting to attend with their students may contact the Artsbridge office at 304-428-3988, Jalbert said.

Students at the Very Spectacular Arts Festival range in age from pre-school to young adults and the committee makes sure there are a variety of activities for each age group.

There will be usually about 20 stations at different locations during the festival, she said.

Jalbert said organizers are still putting together this year’s schedule of activities, which will include a variety of hands-on activities, interactive demonstrations and music and dance interactive demonstrations.

Past activities have included picture frames, cartoon fun, bead bracelets, theater games, painting, newspaper hats, face painting, balloon animals, digital photos and storytelling.

Volunteers are needed for volunteer and assignment registrations, bus greeters, teacher assistants, artist assistants, hospitality and lunch room assistants to serve the artists and volunteers and traffic coordinators to assist teachers and groups to locate their art station stops, Jalbert said.

The festival is based on the national model which was created in 1974 by Jean Kennedy Smith, in affiliation with the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience live arts.

The festival brings together artists, educators and policy makers with and without disabilities for a multicultural celebration of the arts and arts education. It features visual, performing, literary and media artists, Jalbert said.

The festival also provides educators, parents, and artists with the resources and tools to support arts programming in their schools and communities.

It showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for all people, she said.

In addition to volunteers, artists are also needed for the event.

Artists interested in presenting for the Art Stops should contact festival chairman Jane Irvine at 304-481-5315, while volunteers may call the Artsbridge office. Lois Mohr is this year’s volunteer coordinator.

Irvine said the festival receives strong support from area artists who come back year after year.

“Most of our returning artists have confirmed they will be back this year,” Irvine said, while new artists are appreciated.

For additional information on the Very Spectacular Arts Festival, contact Mark Lanyon, Artsbridge director, at 304-428-3988 or Irvine.