PARKERSBURG – Artsbridge will present its 23rd annual Festival of the Very Spectacular Arts in early March, continuing in a virtual program similar to last year.
This year’s theme is a celebration of Mardi Gras, and although the program is virtual, a video of the participating students will be available after the program’s conclusion on social media.
In a typical year, the Very Spectacular Arts Festival takes place at West Virginia University in Parkersburg and brings together nearly 500 students with special needs from Wood, Wirt, Pleasants, Jackson, Doddridge and Roane counties in West Virginia and Washington and Morgan counties in Ohio. . The day is usually spent by students exploring several practical art forms.
“While we are unable to hold the festival in this manner due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are delighted to be able to continue to offer a version of the festival to these students in their schools,” said Artsbridge executive director Megan Newbanks.
Art supplies are delivered directly to the classroom door for students to create masquerade masks, noisemakers and bead necklaces with medallions. Students are also invited to participate in karaoke and New Orleans-style parades at their school with their Mardi Gras costume and jazz music, she said.
“We hope the festival can return to its in-person format next year, and we hope to incorporate the more fun and successful strategies from both in-person and virtual formats in the future. The Highly Spectacular Arts Festival committee meets throughout the year to continue planning and improving the next event,” says Newbanks.
The festival and all its activities are organized by Artsbridge and a large community of volunteers. The Events Committee Chairs for 2022 are Newbanks and Diane McDonald. Funding partners for this year’s event include the WV Department of Arts, Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts with the approval of the WV Arts Commission, Arts Council of Ohio, the Bernard McDonough Foundation and Artsbridge.