There are plenty of museums in Los Angeles, and quite a few around Orange County, but art exists everywhere. We don’t have to seek out the exhibits of prominent figures to be blown away by the creativity humans are capable of.
In fact, if you’re in Irvine this summer, you won’t even have to leave town to immerse yourself in the arts. Why is it going to be so easy, you ask? It’s all thanks to our city’s Fine Arts Center, which is proudly hosting the 25th annual Irvine Studio Arts Festival.
This event will be taking place at Heritage Community Park on June 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the festivities are free and open to the public.
When you stop by, you’ll have the chance to discover the works of a diverse array of artists. Included amongst them are ceramists, painters, jewelry designers, sculptors, photographers, printmakers and more.
If you really like what you see, you’ll be able to purchase their work and bring it home with you. The chance to look at amazing art, decorate your home and support local creative minds? That’s a good day all around, in our opinion!
While a wide host of artists present their work at the festival, it wasn’t always that way. Susie Munger, who’s been overseeing this event for the past five years, was kind enough to regale the celebration’s history and give us all sorts of exciting info about this year.
When the Irvine Fine Arts Center first began putting on these showcases, they originally started within certain departments. The ceramics department was the first to put on the event, which they held in their courtyard patio and framed as more of a sale than an exhibit.
Their active and popular jewelry department, which saw the success the ceramics department enjoyed, decided they wanted to get in on the sale as well. From there, more and more people across disciplines and departments at the center contributed their work.
They began including painters, printmakers and the like, and eventually started to bring in glass blowers, woodworkers and other types of artists that functioned outside of the center’s facilities.
The common factor that’s continued throughout the history of the festival, however, has remained. That, of course, is the fact that all the work being shown is created by artists from the area, rather than major figures from other far-off towns.
What’s more, the festival might be your only chance to see work from some of the most accomplished artists in the area. As Susie tells us, various metal workers, ceramists, jewelers and painters, along with others, only offer their wares for display and sale at the annual event.
While the chance to view and purchase some high-quality art and jewelry should be incentive enough to drop by, they don’t stop the good times there.
For starters, there’ll be live music throughout the day while visitors peruse the art. This year, the jams will be provided by Southern California country and blues duo Alpha Mule, who’ll be back playing their second year of the festival.
“We had them last year and they were so popular that we asked them back again this year,” Susie told us. “We’ll also have Knowlwood [Restaurant] here, and they’ll be cooking on site. They’ll provide some nice barbecue, burgers and salads for guests so they can eat a nice lunch.”
Susie also let us know that those who want dessert can get a delicious treat in more ways than one. Not only will ice cream be sold, but they’ll be offering it in handmade bowls crafted by the ceramists at the Fine Arts Center. These will also be available for purchase.
If you find yourself walking around the displays and wanting to learn how you can create some beautiful art yourself, you’re in luck! Along with the displays, the center will be hosting demonstrations in their studios.
Their photography demo, for those able to attend, will allow guests the opportunity to experience one of the few black and white development studios left in Southern California.
There will also be a printmaking demonstration, and even a youth program so the kids can get creative too.
On the food-centered side of things, they’ll be offering some instruction on the fine art of fruit carving, along with some mini-classes on how to get things cooking in the kitchen.
Even if you can’t make it for the festival, you’ll still have a chance to enjoy the bubbling fine arts scene of our city whenever you step into the Irvine Fine Arts Center.
For adults, along with their famous ceramics and sculpture courses, they offer lessons on photography, cooking, painting, printmaking, jewelry and what they call the “Traditional Arts.”
They also offer teen and youth classes in many of these disciplines, along with offering after-school programs and full/half day camps for youth attendees. The camps are also offered during the summer, along with spring.
For those with even younger children, there are a myriad of family programs offered as well.
Already experienced in your discipline and just need a place to practice? If you’re a printmaker, ceramist, photographer or jewelry maker, you can drop by during one of their open studio sessions to keep your skills sharp.
Further information on their programs and offerings can be found here: https://www.cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-arts-center