The VAPA+ Committee prepares for this year’s Kaleidoscope Festival

Creativity thrives at Mission Hills with the Kaleidoscope Festival highlighting art pieces from students.


Photo by McKenna Crenshaw

Volunteers painting the windows of the band room to decorate and promote the Kaleidoscope Art Gallery.

This year’s Kaleidoscope Festival will bring to light art’s role of empathy. The 2023 festival will feature for the first time creative writing, more events, a mural and new awards that art students will be able to receive for their wonderful submissions. The VAPA+ committee has worked hard this entire school year to allow creativity to shine through. “Every year I hope that doing the Kaleidoscope Festival at the end of the school year will bring art experiences to students on campus who maybe aren’t in [an] art class… to give them the opportunity to listen to a performance, look at some artwork… and even participate in making artwork,” said Cari Jean Nelson, one of the Ceramics Representatives in the VAPA+ Club.

In previous years, VAPA+ staff planned the entirety of the festival on their own with limited access to student’s opinions about the structure. The team rarely had a designated time to meet and discuss ideas.
This year, the club was established by senior Layla Azhar, in order to help harness commitment from students and more areas in which students could become involved in organizing the events to better showcase the various talents of students.

Every year I hope that doing the Kaleidoscope Festival at the end of the school year will bring art experiences to students on campus who maybe aren’t in [an] art class.

— Cari Jean Nelson, VAPA+ Ceramics Representative

“The committee has dedicated their time to work with representatives of each section in order to ensure that everyone is well represented,” said Azhar.

This year the festival was centered around the theme of empathy to help organize the festival to allow the different sections of VAPA to be interconnected, just like a Kaleidoscope. The name of the festival was only coined fairly recently, to give the festival a unique spin. This year’s theme is empathy, representing that art allows others to be empathetic and does this in various ways. It was a challenge to bring each section under this focus, but the planning committee was able to bring each under wraps.

“Arts Fest is important to me because it gives artists a chance to showcase their hard work in a very public display. Even though I am in the arts program…it’s great to see what everyone else has created,” said senior Erin Beckwith, a ceramicist who has created various projects for the art program over the years.

Volunteers painting the wall black for the VAPA+ team to begin painting the heart for the mural. (Photo by McKenna Crenshaw)

If students miss the opportunity to view the Art Gallery or want to take a closer look on their own time, it will be open every day after school until 4:30 pm this week. There in the Gallery, students will be able to vote for their favorite art piece. During lunch, students can view performances from the choir and band program, as well as leave a handprint on the mural found by the band room. This year’s festival will be kicking forward with new ways to bring creativity to the walls of Mission Hills.