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, and a variety of arts lectures and special events.

2022 Events

Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park, Phase VII are Phase VIII are currently on display. 

June 24, 2023, 56th Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition


May 29, 6 p.m. - Mark Wood and the Parrot Head Band (Jimmy Buffet tribute)
June 12, 6 p.m. - Catch a Wave (Beach Boys tribute)
July 17, 6 p.m. - Billy Nation (Billy Joel tribute)
August 21, 6 p.m. - Young Guns (country cover)
September 18, 6 p.m. - Britain's Finest (Beatles tribute)


October 2, 4 p.m. - Stone Soul (Classic Soul and Motown tribute)

News Articles

Photo Gallery

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

Press Contact:

  • Email: mnicklin@newportbeachca.gov
  • Phone: Maria Nicklin, Marketing Specialist (949) 717-3816
  • Mail: Newport Beach Central Library, 1000 Avocado Avenue, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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