Orange
Orange County gets a bad rap. Those who define the area for its rampant conservatism and vast tourist economy only think of Disneyland, Costa Mesa and Knott’s Berry Farm are missing the point. In fact, it is this vibrant economy that has allowed the O.C. to creep in as one of the most intriguing cultural centers of Southern California. University of California Irvine is a hotbed of intellectual inquiry - its creative writing department being one of the most prestigious in the nation - and its growing Mexican-American middle class has found cultural maturity in spite of (or perhaps because of) the county’s conservative backdrop.

Gustavo Arellano, the enfant terrible of Mexican-American op-eds, has found a fertile ground to voice his opinions and grow a local audience in the O.C. And who is to question the cultural importance of Mickey Mouse? Last time we checked, hundreds of O.C. teens flocked into the park with a critical understanding about theme park design. As the rest of Southern California, the O.C. isn’t easy to pin down; it is so culturally vast and complex that it is hard to wrap our high-brow minds around it.
Highlights
Summer Writing Project: The Next Great Storytellers
A new program seeks to rebrand libraries, long viewed as places of information consumption, as sites of creation.
On the Scene: California Landscape Paintings
California Scene Paintings from the 1920s-1970s are oil and watercolor paintings inspired by scenes of everyday life in California. Today these works are being rediscovered.
Skeith de Wine and the Uncertain Future of the Leonardo Da Vinci Institute
Artist Skeith de Wine looks at the contemporary world and asks, "What would Da Vinci do?"
Best Kept Secret: Richard Jackson Survey at OCMA
Best Kept Secret: Richard Jackson Survey at OCMA
Richard Jackson has produced work that pushes the boundaries of painting since the 1960s.
Beneath the Skin: The Paintings of Justin Bower
Beneath the Skin: The Paintings of Justin Bower
Orange County painter Justin Bower's oversized faces are steeped in a future dystopia where humans appear to be being subsumed by technology.
Dance in the Park: The Backhaus Company
Dance in the Park: The Backhaus Company
Jennifer Backhaus brings dance to the site specific performance art realm that has never been done in OC before.
Artbound 2012: Best of Orange County
Artbound 2012: Best of Orange County
We selected the best 2012 articles and videos from Orange County.
Gut Punchin' Music: Santa Ana Noise Fest
Gut Punchin' Music: Santa Ana Noise Fest
The Santa Ana Noise Fest hits a demographic that is rarely thought of to be present in the OC scene. Visiting headlining band Brutal Poodle offers insight in to what the Noise scene is all about.
Guerrilla Gowns: Orange County's Ghostly Performance Art
Guerrilla Gowns: Orange County's Ghostly Performance Art
A new feminist movement is happening in Orange County. Guerilla Gowns is a performance series created and enacted by The Nine, an all-women young artist collective based in Santa Ana.
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section header: disciplines
icon, Architecture/ Design discipline

Architecture/ Design

California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.

icon, Community Arts discipline

Community Arts

Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.

icon, Cultural Politics discipline

Cultural Politics

Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.

icon, Film & Media Arts discipline

Film & Media Arts

At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.

icon, Literature discipline

Literature

Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline

Multi-Disciplinary

Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.

icon, Music discipline

Music

A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.

icon, Performance discipline

Performance

Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.

icon, Visual Arts discipline

Visual Arts

Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.


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