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Arts Orange County news...

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution yesterday renewing Arts Orange County's designation as the official local arts agency and State-Local Partner of the County of Orange. The resolution was presented by Board of Supervisors Chair Doug Chaffee (above left) to ArtsOC's President and CEO Rick Stein. ArtsOC has held this designation since 1998, and it is renewed periodically to update information and meet reporting requirements of the California Arts Council State-Local Partner Program, which provides general operating support and technical assistance for county-designated local arts agencies. The purpose of the program is to foster cultural development on the local level through a partnership between the State and the counties of California. The nature of this partnership includes funding, information exchange, cooperative activities, and leadership.

OC arts community news...

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The Newport Beach City Council has unanimously approved the selection of ten artworks for Phase VII of the Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park. The City Arts Commission reviewed the submissions for eligibility and then Newport Beach residents were invited to register their top three preferences in a month-long online poll. The top ten ranked works (and four alternates) were then recommended by the City Arts Commission for approval by the City Council. The works will be displayed for two years in various locations throughout the park beginning immediately after the de-installation of the ten works from Phase V. Arts Orange County has been contracted by the City of Newport Beach to manage the program since its inception in 2013.

The selected works are above (clockwise, from upper left): “A Novel Idea” by Craig Gray; “Eve” by Joe Forrest Sackett; “Got Juice?” by Stephen Landis; “Pathway Parabola” by Greg Mueller; “Prey” by Mr & Mrs Ferguson; “David” by Miggy Buck; “Where Have All the Birds Gone” by Marguerite Elliot; “The Archaeology of the Everyday” by Tyler Burton; “Plumera Sculptura aka The Feather” by Kirk Seese; “Cross-Section” by Tim DeShong


From the Laguna Beach Indy:

A temporary gallery of quilts was removed within days of being installed inside the Wells Fargo branch in Laguna Beach after customers objected to its political messages, the artist said Wednesday.

Textile artist Allyson Allen was notified of the removal by a member of the Community Art Project who coordinated the rotating exhibit entitled “Piece-ful Protest” at 260 Ocean Ave.

The exhibition is being moved to the Neighborhood Congregational Church where it will be on display beginning February 19.

Read more about it here and here.

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Nominees for the inaugural OC Theatre Awards were announced on January 22 during OC Theatre Guild’s annual membership meeting. The awards ceremony has been scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, April 26, 2022 at the outdoor amphitheater of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. The Guild launched its awards program with the intention of celebrating excellence in Orange County theatre for productions mounted in 2020, but the awards committee extended the scope to include productions in 2021 due to the pandemic.

The OC Theatre Guild was founded in 2015 and officially organized in 2019 as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 to serve Orange County’s vital artistic community with a mission to nurture, support and promote live theatre in greater Orange County.

Productions of ‘The Crucible,’ ‘Fun Home,’‘The Nether,’ ‘Silent Sky,’ and ‘Striking 12’ garner over eight nominations each.

See the full list of nominations here.

OC arts people...

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Jodie Gates has been appointed Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Ballet. Founder in 2005 of the Laguna Dance Festival, Gates has served as the founding Director of the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance since 2012. Cincinnati Ballet has a $11.5 million annual operating budget, 27 company dancers, 12 second company dancers, and the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy. The organization recently moved into its new $30.8 million Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance. Over the course of her 35-year professional career, Gates was a principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Read more here.

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Pacific Symphony has appointed Garrett Collins as Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Collins comes to the Symphony from the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, where he was Marketing Strategy Director on staff since 2014. Prior to his tenure with Center Theatre Group, operator of the Ahmanson Theater, Mark Taper Forum, and Kirk Douglas Theatre, Collins held marketing and community engagement positions at LA Opera and UCLA and was a 2013 fellow in OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program. A native of Gilroy, California, Collins holds a Master of Arts in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Arts in Music (flute performance) from University of California, Los Angeles (magna cum laude). Read more here.

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Mel Mermelstein, a Holocaust survivor who created in his warehouse a museum of artifacts from that period for schoolchildren to visit, has died at 95. He often spoke at local Holocaust-themed arts events, such as Laguna Playhouse Youth Theater's I Never Saw Another Butterfly. The archive has been donated to Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newport Beach which says it will keep the items on display. Read more here.

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Ilse Byrnes, longtime Orange County historian and preservationist, has died at age 94. Among her successful preservation efforts over the decades include historic Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano, Casa Romantica in San Clemente, and Crystal Cove State Park. Of the 13 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in San Juan Capistrano, Byrnes submitted 9. Read more here.

New OC books...

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A new book offering an "alternative tour guide" to Orange County--"If it were a city, it would be the nation’s third-largest city" has been published by University of California Press. Written by Elaine Lewinnek, a professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, Gustavo Arellano, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and Thuy Vo Dang, curator for the Southeast Asian Archive at University of California, Irvine (and Arts Orange County Board member). Read more about it here.

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A new book by Ana Cottle intersperses translations of Yiddish poems written by Jewish immigrants to Argentina in the mid-1900s with poems of her own, which act as responses and introductions to the translated works. Cottle is Communications Director of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton. Read more about it here.

Opportunities & Resources...

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A statewide ballot initiative is under way to dedicate additional funding to arts and music education in public schools – without raising taxes. The initiative will support increased arts and music education in every PreK-12 public school in California, require strong accountability and transparency measures, including requiring schools and school districts to submit annual, public reports to verify the funds are spent as intended, and improve equity with additional funding for schools that serve low-income Black and Latino families. Read more about it here.


Showcase & Open Mic

This Saturday on Zoom!

Orange County Poetry Out Loud coach Marcus Omari invites you to the 2022 Showcase and Open Mic in this energetic short video. Omari is a well known poet, performer, and a co-founder of the Poetic Reform Party (a literary arts event organization) with Natalie Graham and Danielle Mitchell.

Read more about Poetry Out Loud Showcase & Open Mic here.

State Arts Grants Applications Now Open

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Applications are now open for the first cycle of 2022 California Arts Council grants programs. These programs include:

  • Cultural Pathways – Up to $30,000 for two years of support for arts programs in communities of color, recent immigrant and refugee communities, or tribal groups.

  • Impact Projects – Up to $20,000 for collaborative projects that center artists and artistic practice in responding to issues currently faced by California’s communities, prioritizing projects of small organizations.

  • JUMP StArts – Up to $50,000 for high-quality arts education and artists-in-residence programs for priority youth and young people impacted by the justice system.

  • Reentry Through the Arts – Up to $50,000 for arts projects for return residents who have experienced incarceration.

A FREE webinar overview may be viewed here.

More details here, including information about the second cycle of grants, opening in April.


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We acknowledge with respect our presence on the ancestral lands of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians - Acjachemen Nation and the Tongva People.

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