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Bowers Museum launches historic exhibition

Nordstrom evening wear models

Staging an exclusive and unprecedented exhibit, “Virgin of Guadalupe: Images in Colonial Mexico,” the Bowers Museum has assembled more than 60 sacred works of art culled from 14 of the most significant museums and religious sites in Mexico.

“Right now, this is the most important Mexican event in the United States,” said museum President Peter Keller as he mingled with guests, who included Bishop Kevin Vann and Mexican Consul General Mario Cuevas Zamora, at the launch party for the exhibit, on display through January 29. “It’s not only religious; it’s political, economic, social, reflecting the story of the founding of Mexico.”

According to tradition, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to an indigenous man, Juan Diego, at the Hill of Tepeyac, north of Mexico City, in December 1531. “Her image has been used throughout Mexican history, not only as a religious icon, but also as a sign of patriotism.

Without a doubt and regardless of beliefs, she represents Mexico,” Cuevas said.
After mingling in the Santa Ana museum’s courtyard, guests viewed images of Guadalupe, including a 17th-century oil painting that will hang at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove when it opens in 2018. “I’ve had a devotion to Guadalupe for many years,” said Vann, who sported a pair of Guadalupe cufflinks and owns cowboy boots emblazoned with her image. “She is the patron of the Americas and a symbol of a mother’s love. We all need that.”

Philharmonic Hoopla: How do you celebrate a 10-year love affair with a concert hall?  If you’re the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, you stage three blockbuster concerts featuring world-class orchestras under the batons of their renowned conductors – namely, the Berlin Philharmonic with Simon Rattle, the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel and the London Philharmonia with Esa-Pekka Salonen.

“We chose them to celebrate the destination the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall has become for great musicians around the world,” said society President and Artistic Director John Mangum, during an elegant opening night dinner staged in the venue’s box tier lobby. The society is also launching a new endowment campaign, “Philharmonic Forward,” Mangum said, which aims to raise $10 million “to ensure our artistic and youth programs continue to flourish and grow.” More than $5 million has been raised.

Caffeine and the Classics: The Pacific Symphony kicked off its popular Cafe Ludwig series, modeled after the intimate coffeehouses of Europe, with “Brahms & the Romantics” at the Samueli Theater. Sitting at small tables set with mouthwatering desserts, attendees settled back for a serenade on a Sunday afternoon hosted by pianist Orli Shaham. Two more concerts are planned: “Viva Villa-Lobos!” on February 26 and “The Haydn Effect” on May 7, both at 3 p.m.

Nordstrom Glam: Eye-popping evening dresses – short, long, all breathtakingly elegant – will be on parade for patrons who attend Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ annual Candlelight Concert on December 2. Staged at Nordstrom, South Coast Plaza, the fashion event will feature a showcase of designer gowns ranging from seductive (as in see-through) to sedate. Trends to view: glitter, cutouts, the flared skirt, metallics, lace inserts, jeweled. This year’s Candlelight Concert celebrates Segerstrom Center’s 30th anniversary and will feature multi-platinum composer/singer Carole King as headliner.

Saluting the Visionaries: Out of the shadows and onto the stage – that was the theme of the annual Orange County Arts Awards presented by Arts Orange County, a nonprofit aiming to build appreciation, participation and support for the arts and arts education. Honorees dined at Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall before taking the spotlight at the Samueli Theater to receive recognition before a sold-out crowd.
Winners of the 2016 Achievement Awards: outstanding arts organization, PBS SoCal; emerging artist, Yevgeniya Mikhailik; emerging arts leader, Allen Moon; visionary arts patrons, Yvonne and Damien Jordan; visionary arts leader, John Forsyte; visionary arts educator, Mike McGee. Event sponsors included Haskell & White and South Coast Plaza.

“Chapman Celebrates”: With a name switch and a sparkling new performing arts venue, Chapman University raised the curtain on “Chapman Celebrates” (formerly known as American Celebration) featuring a rousing performance at the on-campus Musco Center for the Arts followed by a formal, sit-down repast.

Showcasing a cast of more than 100 students from the school’s College of Performing Arts, the revue featured a playlist of Broadway favorites and classics from the Great American Songbook.

The annual event has raised more than $28 million for the university’s scholarship fund.
Observed emeritus trustee Robert A. Elliott: “As I look around this beautiful Musco Center for the Arts, it reminds me of an old saying, ‘We’ve come a long way, Baby!’ – from the Anaheim Marriott in 1981.”


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