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14th Annual Art in the Park

October 12, 2017

For Art’s Sake

In a luxurious seaside city that’s captivated the hearts of its visitors and stolen the screens of classic Hollywood films, it’s not surprising that Newport Beach’s natural beauty and allure would attract and inspire artists to create sculptures in a setting that nature’s already taken her paintbrush to. Although it’s enriching enough to soak in the views of canyon bluffs dropping into the ocean and island cottages full of character and as differing as the shades of the sea, there are still soulfully-made pieces of art that are not to be missed in your explorations along our bit of California coast. And what better time to take in humankind’s creative ingenuity than during National Arts and Humanities Month.

Art is something that should be celebrated. “But of course!” you exclaim. Because you know that in some way, art itself is an expression and celebration of the life around us – whatever form that takes. Keeping this in mind, Art in the Park is a not-to-be missed one-day only event where unique art, tasty food, and locals gather for a fun mingling of the featured artists and craftspeople. Head down to the Civic Green adjacent to the Newport Beach Library this Saturday, Oct. 14, and with more than a hundred artists attending with numerous works to display (oil paintings, sculptures, acrylics, photography, jewelry, etc.), you’re sure to find something that catches your eye! If it makes you stop to ponder over some deep thought it’s tugged out of your conscience, and if you can’t think of departing from it – take it home! After having a conversation with the artist about what it’s really saying you’ll be prepared to showcase it in your own home and give commentary about it to guests. Let’s face it – you need that new piece hanging above that bare spot in the dining room. You just do.

Only a hop, skip, and a jump away from where “Art in the Park” is held is actually the largest display of public art in the city. And while an ocean-view walk in the park does the soul good, with the Sculpture Exhibition outside the library in Civic Center Park you’ll be burning calories and stimulating that beautiful mind of yours. While the original sculptures two-year run has ended, nine new ones will start their display starting this month. Selected sculptures include:  Popsicles by Craig Gray, Burnt Matchstick by Karl Unnasch, and Getting Your Bearings by David Boyer; No Swimming by Oleg Lobykin, Life is a Balancing Actby Cindy Debold, Cosmic Glints by Patricia Vader, Flight by Steven Rieman, Be Still and Knowby John Merigian and Cultural Pedestrians by Sue Quinlan.

Though it may have been chance that you stumbled upon the fantastic display after looking for the next Eat, Pray, Love to rent from the library, if you desire to intentionally seek out art that’ll make you feel more cultured merely by being in its presence, there’s just no other place to go than the Orange County Museum of Art. The institution founded in 1962 displays an impressive 3000 pieces of contemporary and modern art, and draws over 30,000 visitors annually. Conveniently located a street away from world-renown Fashion Island, sip a signature latte from Pain Du Monde while appreciating the first U.S. exhibition of Shanghai artist Shi Zhiying. If it’s fresh, enticing, and a little bit bewildering, you’re sure to find it here – warning: be prepared to leave with some new insights you didn’t know were waiting to be uncovered in the first place.

Of course, art surrounds us whether we take an intentional step to view it or not. So how surprised are you when you had a day planned of quality consignment shopping only to pop out of Swellegant Vintage to see Ethos Contemporary Art Gallery snuggled in right beside it? Alright, perhaps fashion and art tie-in quite nicely. Even more reason to find yourself just as captivated by the paintings, glass, sculptures, and photography as you were with the well-kept vintage treasures you’d discovered next door!

Just as there’s captivating art pieces well-kept in galleries, there’s also other art you may stumble upon in unsuspecting places while you’re going about your day. Just playing soccer in Bonita Canyon Sports Park? HA! You thought you could get away that mindlessly. A sculpture of Ronald Reagan ensures you’ll remember the name of at least one president while you’re kicking the ball around. Too domestic for you? You can see an international gift at the Central Library – the “good friends” sculpture celebrating our sister city partnership with Okazaki, Japan.

Now picture a long day of play and surf around Newport Pier. Your eyes may be slightly sunburnt, but you’ll no doubt see a giant bronze sphere centered in a circular walking path, and as you walk closer you’ll see it’s the McFadden Square Centennial Legacy Project. And the purpose is in the name! The globe sculpture illustrates important events in the 100-year history of Newport Beach and it’s set in the perfect place to pay homage to what started as a fishing village and to what kept people coming back for summers of bliss and serenity – a community right at the ocean’s edge. If it’s a day spent in Corona del Mar after walking along the charming flower streets, you’ll arrive to a pretty road of boutique shops and restaurants and discover the Corona del Mar Clock Tower and Tile Wall sitting proudly at the corner of Marguerite. It’s been situated there since the neighborhood’s 100th anniversary, and it proudly stands guard at every Saturday’s farmer’s market. So before you rush off to the beach mere streets away, make sure you take a moment to appreciate another local creation with fresh fruit and veggies in hand.

A sunset over the ocean is Newport Beach’s own original artwork. We have award-winning galleries, contemporary museums, and street-art galore that adds charm to the city, but we can’t take the credit for this one.

The best part, you ask? It’s completely priceless.

Written by Elyse Lu.

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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