More than 100 artists to take part in the third annual ARTventure

The City of Costa Mesa’s third annual juried art exhibition, ARTventure, has practically doubled in the size of participants with more than 100 local artists entered in this year’s event and nearly 250 pieces of artwork, in addition to student artwork from local Newport-Mesa Unified School District students.

Taking place at SoCo, The Mix and the Design Within Reach showroom, the event will kickoff on Friday Nov. 10 and is scheduled to run from 5 to 9 p.m. that night. An award ceremony for the artists will take place at 7 p.m. that night.

The second day of the event on Saturday Nov. 11 will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the event, art is carefully paired with furniture, fixtures, and interior design elements, along with live entertainment featuring musical, theatrical, literary and culinary forms to heighten the artistic experience.

In addition to the work of the artists there will be an opening reception, live musical entertainment, free food and beverages, an awards ceremony and plenty of activities throughout the two-day event.

This event is a project spearheaded by the Cultural Arts Committee and planned with the Parks & Community Services Department team. For more information and to RSVP to this event go to

See Schedule of Events Below:

Friday Evening:

  • 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Exhibit open
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Reception featuring:
  • Beverages and food/dessert tray pass provided by Bistro Papillote
  • Dylan Romaine Band courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts
  • Gift basket drawing – proceeds benefit the Cultural Arts Committee’s Grant Program


  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibit open
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.:
  • Art activation hosted by Wunderkid – paints and papers courtesy of Farrow and Ball
  • Wine bottle painting hosted by Inspired Art & Wine
  • Ceramics demonstration hosted by Costa Mesa Ceramics
  • Drop-in and Draw – Art activation hosted by Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
  • Live music courtesy of Vanguard University
  • Breakfast tasting bar provided by Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
  • Juice bar tastings provided by Birdie Bowl & Juicery
  • 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Performance by Festival Ballet Theater
  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Dollybirds Band courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts
  • 12:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.:
  • Art activation hosted by Wunderkid – paints and papers courtesy of Farrow and Ball
  • Tote bag stamping with artist Matt Allen
  • Adult Doodle Bar & Kids Art hosted by Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
  • Live music courtesy of Vanguard University
  • Afternoon tastings bar hosted by Farm & Culture Co.
  • Lunch tasting bar provided by Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
  • 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Pretty Good Time Band courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts


Mobile Recreation Program officially launches

The Parks and Community Services Department recently launched the return of the Mobile Recreation program at Shalimar Park.

More than 75 kids from the surrounding neighborhoods had the opportunity to engage with staff and recreate in an area that isn’t typically conducive for outdoor recreation.

The program will take place at Shalimar Park on Mondays and Fridays, Lions Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at Ketchum-Libolt Park on Wednesdays during the month of October.

The Daily Pilot featured a story on the program here:

Lions Park Projects Groundbreaking Ceremony set for Friday July 28

The City will hold an official Groundbreaking Ceremony this Friday July 28 at 10 a.m. for the planned Lions Park Projects.

The $36 million public works projects will include a new 20,000-square-foot Donald Dungan Library as well as the refurbishment of the existing library into a new Neighborhood Community Center.

City Council members, staff and other dignitaries are expected to attend, including the architect of the project Steve Johnson as well as Orange County Librarian Helen Fried.

The Boy Scout Troop No. 339 will be the Color Guard that morning.

Click here for more information about the Lions Park Projects.

Historic photography and local artist work displayed as utility box art

The latest utility box artwork pieces were recently installed and features both historic Costa Mesa photography as well as a funky artwork named ‘blue men’.

The boxes are located at the intersection of 19th St. and Harbor and at 17th St. and Santa Ana.

These vibrant pieces of art come from images secured by the City’s Historical Preservation Committee as well as local artist Ben Brough.

Plans for 127th OC Fair announced as day one of the annual extravaganza is fast approaching

Mayor Katrina Foley and City Manager Tom Hatch recently attended a meeting at the OC Fair & Event Center to learn about some of the changes coming to this year’s event as well as details about the City Day at the fair.

The 2017 OC Fair runs July 14 – August 13 (Wednesday-Sunday).

City Day for Costa Mesa will take place on Friday July 21. The event, which will begin atwill include a raising of the Costa Mesa city flag as well as a performance of the National Anthem.

The theme of the 127th Fair is “Farm Fresh Fun,” and is a tribute to agriculture in the county. There are several new offerings including new weekend hours. Hours of operation are Wednesday-Friday: Noon – Midnight and Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m. – Midnight. The Fair is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Pricing has also changed. Click here for more information on pricing and admission.

There will also be a new ride at the fair called “Endeavor,” as well as full-contact jousting, an olive oil competition, a mini-van demolition derby and an e-sports tournament.

Also new at the fair this year is the Heroes Hall veterans museum and the Pacific Symphony will have its summer concert series at the Pacific Amphitheatre.

New brochures highlight the economic advantages for businesses in Costa Mesa

The City continues to provide important economic information to the community and to potential investors in Costa Mesa.

The Community Economic Profile provides up to date information in a variety of categories, emphasizing the City’s strategic location, strong socio-economic indicators, temperate climate, and it also provides valuable contact information for important services.

A second handout, the Costa Mesa Advantage brochure, conveys the City’s vision for Costa Mesa. These handouts help to persuade businesses to establish here, attract investment to Costa Mesa and equip residents with reliable information about their community.

Costa Mesa to Celebrate Action Sports and Art with mural painting and skateboard event this Saturday

Highlighting the City of Costa Mesa’s ties to art and action sports, the Action Arts in the Park exhibition returns this year to TeWinkle Park and will feature the work of four muralists, a skateboard competition, a dance demonstration and interactive public art projects at TeWinkle Park.

The second annual event, scheduled this Saturday April 29 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., was the brainchild of the city’s Cultural Arts Committee.

“Costa Mesa is such a fun, diverse, interesting place to live and we wanted to put on a high-energy event that reflected some of the best elements of this City – the artists, the action sports and the opportunities for families to spend the day in the park,” said Cultural Arts Committee Chair Andrea Marr.

For the city’s Parks & Community Services Department the event presents another avenue to promote Costa Mesa as the City of the Arts and share the City’s unique vibe and melting pot dynamic, Recreation Manager Justin Martin said.

“The Action Arts in the Park event is a really unique event that serves to highlight Costa Mesa’s vibrant arts scene in conjunction with the City’s edgy and ever-growing action sports scene,” Martin said.  “The goal is to have community members of all ages come together in one of the City’s most beautiful parks to enjoy an afternoon that is artistic, athletic, adventurous, energetic and family oriented.”

Four muralists, Josh Madrid, Maxx Gramajo, Ben Brough and Janelle Hinshaw, will paint a new mural from scratch onto a plywood canvas. In addition there will be a skate competition; live music by Cali Conscious and Sturgeon Rock; a dance performance from West Coast School of the Arts; and interactive art stations where patrons can paint a car, design a skateboard and spin art.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District high school students will be demonstrating their clay throwing skills and there will also be a Kids Zone with an Extreme Jumper and a Mechanical Surfboard

On the culinary side, Inspired Art & Wine is offering a design your own bottle event and several food trucks will also be on hand including The Big Cheese Truck, Scooter’s Ice, and Burger Monster.

The title sponsor of the event is Segerstrom Center for the Arts and other sponsors include Vans, The Art Institute of California – OC, Inspired Art & Wine, Papa Murphy’s, Chuck Jones Center, Attic Skateshop, Raising Canes, Garcia Chiropractic and Urban Workshop.

Costa Mesa restaurants once again top the 75 Best Places to Eat in Orange County

Costa Mesa once again proves that when it comes to the best restaurants in Orange County, we are the leaders of the pack.

The Orange County Register just published its annual 75 Best Places to Eat by food critic Brad A. Johnson and the top four restaurants are also Costa Mesa eateries.

Topping the list at No. 1, again, is Taco Maria located in the SoCo center. South Coast Plaza’s Vaca is No. 2 followed by Hana re and Arc at Nos. 3 and 4.

The 75 Best includes 10 more Costa Mesa restaurants, including Mastro’s Steakhouse, Restaurant Marin, The Capital Grille, Shunka Sushi, Water Grill, Din Tai Fung, Manpuku Tokyo BBQ, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen and Rance’s Chicago Pizza.

Congrats to all those winners and we know that those restaurants just scratch the surface of all the great places to eat in Costa Mesa.

SCR’s Paula Tomei presented with Mayor’s Award

Mayor Katrina Foley relaunched the city’s Mayor’s Award on Tuesday March 7 and presented the honor to Paul Tomei, Managing Director of Costa Mesa’s renown South Coast Repertory theater.

Foley announced that the award will be presented quarterly with two in the month that the quarter falls in.

For the first awards, she is honoring women leaders as March is Women’s History Month.

“Paula’s love of the arts was fostered at a young age as a student of the Newport Mesa Unified School District and her career with SCR has been a dream come true,” Mayor Foley said of Tomei, who is a graduate of Estancia High School. “Paula has been instrumental in ensuring South Coast Repertory’s mission to advance the art of theatre in service of the community, and to extend that service through educational, intercultural, and community engagement programs.”

Tomei was presented with the Mayor’s Award as well as a Key to the City.

She thanked the mayor for what she called a “terrific honor” and credited her strong arts and education background at Estancia and UCI for her success.

“I am especially fortunate to have worked at SCR and in the City of Costa Mesa for almost 38 years,” she said.

Second annual ARTventure adds a Veterans Day touch and expands to multiple venues

The City of Costa Mesa’s second annual juried art exhibition, ARTventure, this year will feature a special tribute to coincide with Veterans Day, offering up free photographic portraits to those who served in the military.

ARTventure, which opens on Nov. 11 and runs through Nov. 13, is a fusion of art and entertainment that has expanded to two local venues at SoCo, Cisco Home and the Design Within Reach showrooms.

The Faces of Freedom project, which is run by photographer Jon Haverstick, will be on display during the ARTventure exhibit and veterans who attend on Saturday Nov. 12 can be photographed and become part of the exhibit.

“The Faces of Freedom Project is an ongoing effort to say ‘Thank You’ to the men and women of our military through the medium of portraiture,” Haverstick said in a statement.  “It features elegant black and white portraits of many of the patriots I’ve been privileged to meet over the past few years through a number of veteran outreach events.  Some are people you know. Some are homeless.  Some have passed away since their portraits were made for this project.  All have sacrificed for my freedoms.”

For the event, art is carefully paired with furniture, fixtures, and interior design elements, along with live entertainment featuring musical, theatrical, literary and culinary forms to heighten the artistic experience.


The event will begin with an opening reception and Awards Ceremony from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and that will include hors d’oeuvres and beverages and live musical performances.

Saturday’s festivities begin at 10 a.m. and run to 5 p.m. and will include a pottery demonstration by Costa Mesa High School students. Sunday’s events begin at 11 a.m. and run through 3 p.m. with a performance by the All American Boys Chorus to culminate the event.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

Operation Clean Slate founder given Mayor’s Award

On Tuesday July 5, Mayor Steve Mensinger presented Michael Howard, the founder and executive director of Operation Clean Slate, with the Mayor’s Award to recognize the work his nonprofit has done to deter youths from vandalizing property with graffiti by having them paint murals instead.

“For your years of service to this community, your extraordinary leadership, and your passion for working with youth and providing them with a positive outlet for their creativity, it is my honor and privilege to present you with the Mayor’s Award,” Mensinger said.

Based in Costa Mesa, Operation Clean Slate has partnered with over 25,000 volunteers and produced over 1,000 murals at more than 800 schools throughout Southern California and in six other countries.

Howard started the nonprofit back in 1993 as a solution to graffiti and vandalism while teaching at juvenile hall.

In Costa Mesa, Operation Clean Slate has painted more than 45 murals on 16 different school campuses, including Rea Elementary which now has five, They have also painted murals around town at Bark Park, Mesa Water District, Doria’s Haus of Pizza and New Directions for Women.

“It’s an honor and I’m really excited that the arts are being acknowledged,” Howard said upon receiving the award. “It’s great to have the community recognize what we are doing and we are going to keep doing it.”

Arts fuses with action sports at new event this Saturday May 14 at TeWinkle Park

The City of Costa Mesa plans to roll out a brand new alliance between action sports enthusiasts and artists at the upcoming Action Arts in the Park event at TeWinkle Park on Saturday May 14.

The City’s Cultural Arts Committee came up with the idea of fusing the city’s thriving arts community with the equally thriving action sports industry.

“We are excited to transform the traditional Arts in the Park event into something newer and fresher,” said Tracy Taber, a Cultural Arts Committee member. “We want it to be exciting, interactive and full of energy. That’s why we chose TeWinkle Park and the Costa Mesa Skate Park as the backdrop of the event.  We hope that families enjoy a day in the park while appreciating plenty of arts, culture, entertainment and skating.”

Element Skate Brand has signed on as the title sponsor of this unique event and other supporters include the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

The free event that runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. will include live music from local bands and a DJ.

There will be skateboarding demonstrations, artist exhibits, a rock wall and a mechanical surfboard and interactive art stations.

Families can also visit a kids zone and there will be food trucks offering up a wide variety of cuisines.

aerosol 2

The event will also include demonstrations by Costa Mesa-based Operation Clean Slate, which discourages youth from graffiti vandalism and instead involves young people with hands-on activities to channel their talents and improve their community through aerosol art inspired murals.

“Costa Mesa really is a melting pot for all types of art and culture,” said Justin Martin, the city’s Recreation Manager.  “There is something for everyone here and that is what makes the scene here so unique.  The goal of the Action Arts in the Park is to build on the uniqueness that is Costa Mesa art and really highlight why we are the City of the Arts in a whole new way.”