A History of Cultural Arts

Newport Beach has a long history of appreciation and support for cultural arts events, education, and organizations. Highlights of the City’s long-standing support for the arts include the establishment of the Balboa Theatre in 1912, the same year that a City Hall was established, the founding of the Orange County Museum of Art in 1962 (previously the Newport Harbor Museum of Art) and the beginnings of South Coast Repertory on Newport Blvd. in 1964.  As Newport Beach has grown to be a burgeoning and sophisticated city, the role of arts and culture became even more prominent. In 1972, the City’s arts and cultural infrastructure was formally established with the birth of the Newport Beach Arts Committee. The group transitioned into the Newport Beach Arts Commission in 1974. Since then, the City has become home to numerous art galleries and cultural events, including: Newport Beach Film Festival, the Newport Beach Jazz Festival, the Southern California Children’s Chorus, Baroque Music Festival, and the Newport Beach Art Exhibition.

Newport Beach has also been home to many artists such as renowned painters Rex Brandt and Joan Irving Brandt, animator Chuck Jones, fashion icon Don Ed Hardy, writers Dean Koontz and Joseph Wambaugh, architect William Pereira, violinist Jascha Heifetz, “The King of Surf Guitar” Dick Dale, actors June Allyson, Joey Bishop, Ray Milland, John Wayne,Buddy Ebsen, Kelly McGillis and the legendary Helena Modjeska.

Cultural Arts in Newport Beach

The Cultural Arts Division of the Newport Beach Public Library, with guidance and support by the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, brings cultural and arts programming to the community. Cultural activities are ongoing throughout the year and include the coordination of revolving art and cultural exhibitions at Central Library, the Sculpture in Civic Center Park Exhibition, the annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition, Concerts on the Green, Shakespeare by the Sea and a variety of arts lectures and special events.

2017 Events

Community Youth Orchestra of Southern California:  March 11, 2017 

Festival Ballet Theatre's "Don Quixote":  March 24, 2017

Newport Beach Art Exhibition:  June 17, 2017

Concerts on the Green: Summer 2017 

Pacific Symphony: July 16, 2017

Cultural Arts Grants Application Deadline: September 29, 2017

Sculpture in Civic Center Park Exhibition - Phase III: October 28, 2017

Photo Gallery

Please email Newport Beach Cultural Arts office at arts@newportbeachca.gov for information or hi-res photos.

Press Contact:

  • Email: arts@newportbeachca.gov
  • Phone: Katherine Mielke (949) 717-3816
  • Mail: Newport Beach Central Library, 1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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