Arts & Culture in Newport Beach
Art, culture and creativity are key components of the Newport Beach lifestyle. Museums and galleries are open all year, and the art and film festivals are so popular that many visitors schedule their trips to this seaside city with an eye on the cultural calendar.
VISUAL ARTS and MUSEUMS
Orange County Museum of Art is one of the most innovative contemporary museums in the country, with intriguing and important work by California and international artists. Exhibits in 2014 include Time Capsule, which features some of the newest additions to the museum’s permanent holdings, and Avant-Garde Collection, a survey of 50 years of cutting-edge art. Near the airport district is The Irvine Museum, which features classic paintings of the California coast, including works that depict Newport Beach in earlier eras, like Phil Dike’s California Holiday, a 1933 view of Pirate’s Cove in Corona del Mar.
In May, Balboa Island Artwalk showcases local artists’ work in an outdoor setting overlooking Newport Harbor, the largest small yacht harbor in the United States.
Collectors can find contemporary, early American and California paintings and photography in galleries throughout Newport Beach. Public art includes a Marine Corps Memorial in Castaways Park, a whimsical sculpture at Newport Beach Central Library and the McFadden Square public art and urban beautification project at Newport Pier. Locals love Tom Van Sant, whose bas-relief sculptures adorn the exterior walls of many buildings in and around NewportCenter. His wind chime sculpture — the largest in the world when first installed in 1967 — hangs outside Macy’s at Fashion Island. Situated on Newport Harbor, ExplorOcean in Balboa Village – Home of the Fun Zone offers a glimpse into the area’s maritime past, while Newport Sports Museum exhibits a diverse collection of sports memorabilia.
FILM and PERFORMING ARTS
In April, Newport Beach Film Festival— one of Hollywood’s top 25 most important festivals — screens hundreds of films, including world premieres, and has star-studded red carpet arrivals, parties and galas.
Island Cinema, a Fashion Island multiplex with leather seats, concierge service, reserved seating and wine and beer in select theaters, offers a luxurious environment to catch the latest movie, while the nearby Big Newport is the destination big screen theater to see new releases. Orange County Film Society screens films at the 1938 Art Deco Lido Theatre, which also shows art, indie and main stream movies. The historic Port Theater in Corona del Mar offers an eclectic mix of films and food in a luxurious atmosphere.
At the Baroque Music Festival in June, musicians interpret masterpieces with period instruments at charming locations, like Sherman Library & Gardens.
Shakespeare by the Sea brings two plays by the bard to Newport Beach each summer, and The Resort at Pelican Hill offers an Italian celebration each fall with Festa dell’Autunno.
The Newport Beach-based National Choreographers Initiative helps develop four ballets each summer that premiere on nearby stages. And Newport Beach Repertory offers classic plays performed by a community of local actors.
Local music festivals offer everything from smooth jazz to indie rock. Top bands and musicians perform in the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Concert Series, Sunset Jazz at Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, and Concerts in the Park.
Nearby, Segerstrom Center for the Arts stages theater, dance, drama and music, including the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Society of Orange County.
*Photo Credit: Orange County Museum of Art