Christmas in the Time of COVID-19

You thought in March that it would be over by now, didn't you?

This Christmas is shaping up to be like no other. That dreaded coronavirus keeps sticking around — and it has been spreading lately at a record-breaking clip.

If you find yourself stuck at home this Christmas, quarantined with select family members or on your own, here are some virtual experiences presented by local arts and culture organizations that hopefully might bring a smile to your face — or a potent dose of nostalgia for the days of Christmas yore.

John Upton, Longtime O.C. Photographer and Educator, Dies

John Upton, a revered photographer, influential educator and co-author of a seminal textbook on photography, died Dec. 7 in Petaluma. He was 88.

Upton was a key developer of the photography program at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He started as a faculty member there in 1960, taught photography as a full-time professor from 1965-99, served as chair of the department from 1965 to 1975, and instructed at OCC for more than 40 years. He retired in 1999, but continued to teach at OCC part time until a few years ago.

"He was a great spokesman and promoter of the photography program in general," said Blade Gillissen, the current chair of OCC's photography department.

Orange County Food Pantries Wrap Up 2020 With Holiday Food and Toy Distributions

Week after week, this year food pantries have held drive through distributions to feed Orange County residents.

Arts Orange County responded swiftly to the COVID-19 crisis through advocacy efforts that resulted in over $2.7 million in relief funding for artists and arts organizations in our community and conducted more than 50 arts leader roundtables and briefings. In the words of one of these leaders, "the OC arts ecosystem could not survive without" Arts Orange County. We invite you to help keep your nonprofit arts council strong! 

Orange County has returned to Tier 1 of the California Re-Opening Plan, precipitating the closure of many of Orange County's arts and culture organizations and venues. In addition, a curfew for non-essential activities after 10pm has been instituted by the state government. Arts Orange County will continue to spotlight a mix of virtual and streaming arts and culture offerings along with in-person events that conform to the most current safety guidelines. We encourage everyone to keep their lives enriched by the arts, but safely! Save lives by wearing masks and respecting social distancing protocols. 


It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

The Laguna Playhouse presents an on-demand streaming adaptation of the beloved holiday classic about George Bailey and an angel who gets his wings; featuring local favorites The Skivvies  DETAILS »


Tidepool Hikes

The Ocean Institute invites people with masks and advanced reservations to take an eye-opening hike along the rocky shoreline to learn about the strange and wonderful world of acquatic life that gathers there  DETAILS »


Online: Winter Holiday Celebrations

The Bowers Museum presents a unique celebration of multiple holiday traditions to entertain and enlighten with music, dance, crafts, and more  DETAILS »


Chuck Jones Creativity In Your Home

Classes and activities that will entertain kids and develop their artistic side are available in your home or on your phone from the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity  DETAILS »


At Home with the Hilbert Museum

The Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University continues to offer a daily digital selection from their extensive collection via their Facebook page  DETAILS »

Editor's Note: This email newsletter is provided in partnership from Voice of OC, Orange County's nonprofit newsroom, and Arts OC, the officially designated nonprofit arts agency for the County of Orange, CA. Together we are proud to share the latest arts and culture news and curated events listings. Our readers can rely upon stories by established arts journalists and events from the largest Orange County database of arts and cultural events, workshops, jobs, individual artists, organizations and venues.

Voice of OC is Orange County's nonprofit newsroom with a mission to consistently deliver fair, focused and thorough journalism on critical quality of life and local issues for Orange County communities.

Arts Orange County builds appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County. Event information provided by SparkOC, an Arts OC program.