Very Special Arts plans festival, seeks volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the 1996 Golden Triangle Very Special Arts Festival, which takes place Oct. 18 at Mississippi State University.

The 18th annual public program begins at 9 a.m. in Humphrey Coliseum. All activities will conclude at 1 p.m.

The festival provides an opportunity for children, youth and adults with disabilities from an eight-county area to celebrate their accomplishments. Counties represented include Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston.

The festival is sponsored by Very Special Arts Mississippi. A volunteer non-profit organization, VSA/MS uses the arts as tools for teaching persons of all ages with physical and mental disabilities. Among the hands-on activities are painting, sculpting, dancing, and music.

Executive director Jorja P. Turnipseed said more than 500 volunteers are needed to assist with various festival components, including registration, traffic direction and sign making.

"We also need artists, craftsmen, dancers, and others who can share their knowledge and skills with the participants," said Turnipseed, a retired Mississippi State music education professor and VSA/MS founder.

Turnipseed said individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact program coordinator Marilyn J. Waldhalm at (601) 325-2367. General information also can be obtained at this number.

In addition to volunteers, local festival support is provided by Mississippi State, United Way of North Central Mississippi, United Way of Clay County, Mississippi Arts Commission, and numerous individual donors.