Lynwood – About 120 fifth-graders from Will Rogers Elementary displayed works of art and watched dance performances with their special needs peers at the 38th annual Very Special Arts Festival, an event celebrating the talents of all students, especially those with disabilities.
The Oct. 21 festival, themed “Heroes,” was held at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, with students from across Los Angeles County participating.
“This festival helped our fifth-graders gain a lot of arts experience,” Will Rogers Principal Matthew Skoll said. “This also gave our students an opportunity to work with special needs students and see that they are just like them.”
A grant from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) funded specialized visual arts instruction for fifth-graders prior to the festival; they attended the celebration as a culminating event.
“It was amazing,” Will Rogers fifth-grader Ruben Perez said. “We got to see our own artwork and other students’ art, too!”
Students attended five one-hour art lessons with a resident artist from the Music Center to create paintings depicting their heroes, learning to sketch, mix paint colors and employ different brush strokes to create the perfect masterpiece.
“Visual arts give our students a creative outlet to express themselves,” Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “Lynwood Unified is very fortunate to have a strong partnership with LACOE that allows our students to have opportunities to experience the many diverse abilities of students throughout the county.”
The “Heroes” theme permeated the festival, allowing students to talk about their personal heroes with each other through artwork, workshops and dances.
“Everyone has a different idea of what a hero is, so it is really special for our students to experience different perspectives and mingle with students from outside our District,” Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said.
102116_LUSD_FESTIVAL1: Will Rogers fifth-grader Rachel Gonzalez shows off her artwork after watching her peers dance at the 38th annual Very Special Arts Festival, which celebrates the artistic talents of all students, especially those with disabilities.
102116_LUSD_FESTIVAL2: Will Rogers fifth-grader Ruben Perez shows off his “Heroes” artwork at the Oct. 21 Very Special Arts Festival at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.