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.
The Marvelous Marble of Elizabeth Turk
A pioneer in marble arts for 20 years, Elizabeth Turk has helped marble come back with a vengeance into the contemporary art scene.
The Avant-Garde at the Orange County Museum of Art
OCMA's exhibition "The Avant-Garde Collection" examines the ever-evolving definition of avant-garde as it is represented through their permanent collection.
Pink Helmet Posse: Future Skater Stars
The Orange County/San Diego-based, all-girl skate crew Pink Helmet Posse wants to change the way girls are treated in skateboarding.
A Conversation on Chicano Art: Artist Jose Lozano and Collector Armando Duron
A Conversation on Chicano Art: Artist Jose Lozano and Collector Armando Duron
Jose Lozano and Armando Duron discuss Chicano art, artists who identify with the Chicano label, and the gallery exhibit "Open Your Eyes/Abre Los Ojos" at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.
Parker Jacobs Can't Lose
Parker Jacobs Can't Lose
"Yo Gabba Gabba" art director Parker Jacobs inspired the Aquabats and also inspired a whole generation of kids to be gleefully weird. The most influential Hungtington Beach artist that you've never heard of recalls his long, strange, colorful path to fame.
Deconstructed Mixtapes and Narrative Tapestries: Visual Chronicles in Laguna Beach
Deconstructed Mixtapes and Narrative Tapestries: Visual Chronicles in Laguna Beach
Salt Fine Art's new exhibition, Visual Chronicles, focuses on the creative expression of images, objects, and experiences without words.
The Art of The Great American Road Trip
The Art of The Great American Road Trip
The new exhibit "Common Tread: Traversing the American Landscape" creates a dialogue about our land and history--evoking fond memories while simultaneously highlighting the various roadside attractions, monuments and curiosities that define American culture.
What the Pageant of the Masters Reveals About Orange County
What the Pageant of the Masters Reveals About Orange County
In south Orange County, there are few traditions as long running (and spectacularly surreal) as the Pageant of the Masters, a two-month-long display where actors pose as well-known works of art.
The Sound and Vision of Jack Goldstein
The Sound and Vision of Jack Goldstein
"Jack Goldstein X 10,000", on display now at OCMA, features the paintings, films, writing, and installations of an artist who expressed his creativity in whichever material or medium fit his expression best.
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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


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

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline


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

icon, Music discipline


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

icon, Performance discipline


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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