Through a program designed to give Salt Lake's handicapped and non-handicapped children a creative outlet, youngsters this summer are watching puppet shows and receiving hands-on experience with mask-making and creative dance.

Arts-In-The-Park is held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. in Liberty Park's Northeast Rice Terrace. Co-sponsored by Salt Lake City's Park and Recreation Department and Very Special Arts Utah, the program runs through August 18.A professional artist leads each session, and the lineup covers a full array of visual, dance, music and theatrical arts. Specially trained volunteers work with the artists to make the experience meaningful to all participants. "With a little care and preparation, we are able to blend the groups of children so that an awareness and understanding of handicapping conditions becomes a by-product of the program," said director Barbara Pioli. "We hope these children will make new friends through their common enjoyment of the arts."

Specially challenged youngsters may register free and in advance by calling the organization, thanks to a grant from Citibank/Citicorp. General registration through the Parks and Recreation Department costs $1 a child. Registration is limited at all sessions except puppet shows.

For more information about Arts-In-The-Park or other programs for the handicapped, call 484-2888. The Utah group is accredited by Very Special Arts/USA, an international group and educational affiliation of the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.