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15th Annual Orange County Arts Awards Honoree Profile:
Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award for Artistic Visionary

This is the third in a series of profiles of our 15th Annual Orange County Arts Awards honorees.


For 31 years, as artistic director and founder of Southland Ballet Academy (SBA) in 1983 and Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT), a non-profit dance company, Salwa Rizkalla has profoundly influenced and benefited Orange County at the most fundamental levels locally with outstanding classical and contemporary ballet training for thousands of children, education outreach for over 260,000 children and adults, and 66 quality productions with over 280 performances of full-length classical and contemporary ballets, reaching an audience of over 148,000.

In 2011, Pointe Magazine named SBA as one of seven local studios nationwide that are cultivating top talent.   A steady stream of these dancers go on to win international competitions, to study or work with leading regional, national and international ballet and dance schools and companies, and to perform in music videos, television and film.

Under Salwa's direction, FBT has become one of Southern California's most vibrant and accomplished ballet companies. Annually, FBT reaches an audience of 25,000 -- 13,000 for its four full-length productions at its home base, the Irvine Barclay Theatre, and 12,000 for its education outreach programs.  FBT presents a varied repertoire of full-length classical ballets annually -- Coppélia, Don Quixote, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and the Nutcracker. It has sponsored internationally acclaimed guest artists from prestigious companies -- American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Scottish Ballet, and Washington Ballet. It has also presented new works and the restaging of classic ones by many outstanding choreographers.

FBT's educational programs build awareness by enabling artistically underserved children and adults the opportunity to experience and appreciate the performing art of dance by bringing children to the theatre for abridged, narrated performances, bringing FBT'S "Ballet to Schools" program to school assemblies, and collaborating with other organizations to reach children and adults by performing for the Orange County Pacific Symphony's Family Musical Mornings, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts ArtsTeach Program, the Festival of Children, the Annual Motel Kids Christmas Celebration at St. Joseph's Hospital, Arts Orange County's Imagination Celebration, Fountain Valley's Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the Discovery Science Center.

ArtsOC Briefs Assemblymember Travis Allen on State of the Arts


Assemblymember Travis Allen (72nd District- Huntington Beach), second from left, welcomed to his district office (left to right) Vanessa Pereda, Community Investor, The Boeing Company, Rick Stein, Executive Director, Arts Orange County, and Alberto Sandoval, Government Relations Manager, The Boeing Company on September 2 for a briefing on the state of the arts and arts education in our community and our state.  Boeing is the largest employer in Assemblymember Allen's district and Pereda and Sandoval explained to him why it is so committed to the arts in its own giving and advocacy work:  that it sees arts education as a critical contributor to developing the kind of workforce that will keep its business at the forefront of innovation.  Stein provided Assemblymember Allen with a datamap of the more than 1,000 arts-related businesses in his district, which employ nearly 4,000 people, encouraging him to support increased state investment in the sector.




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Grand Opening of Sculpture Exhibition in Newport Beach Civic Center Park Next Saturday


The Inaugural Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park will have its grand opening on Saturday, September 13, from 2-5 pm, with a short program at 3 pm in the Community Room.  Throughout the afternoon, free activities will include docent-led tours and hands-on workshops coordinated by Orange County Museum of Art.  The two-year exhibition of 10 large-scale sculptural works installed throughout the 14-acre park was the brainchild of the Newport Beach Arts Commission and has been supported by the City Council.  Ten additional sculptures will be installed next year, and the plan calls for continuous rotation of ten works annually.  Arts Orange County,

 in association with Green Public Art Consultancy and display are the contractors for this project.  More details here.   (Pictured above are, top:  Sphere 112" by Ivan McLean and bottom: Odyssey by Ray Katz).

New Santa Ana Arts & Culture Commission Elects Leadership


Longtime Santa Ana arts advocate Don Cribb was elected Chair of the new Santa Ana Arts & Culture Commission at its first working meeting in August.  Santa Ana arts activist and Director of the OC Film Fiesta, Sandra "Pocha" Peña, was elected Vice Chair. At its first meeting, discussion revolved around a very ambitious list of arts issues in the community which the Commission determined to begin tackling in earnest at its September meeting.  Meeting dates, agendas and minutes may be found here.

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Arts Orange County is the leader in building appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County. 
It is a powerhouse in advancing Orange County's arts ecology, a trailblazer in advocating workforce development through arts education, a leader in building future audiences and a trendsetter in the world of nonprofit arts councils.
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