The annual Newport Salute to the Arts, a four-hour festival offering entertainment, food and drink, will be held today to raise money for Newport Beach's public arts program.
The smorgasbord of music, drama, dance, art and refreshments will run from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Newport Center Branch Public Library, the Newport Harbor Art Museum, Pacific Mutual's main atrium and sculpture garden and Fashion Island's Bullocks Wilshire wing. A tram will be available to take visitors from one site to the next.
Scheduled performers include the South Coast Repertory Young Conservatory Players, the Newport Theatre Arts Center Improvisational Street Theatre, the Orange Coast College Big Band and the Opera Pacific Quartet.
Among the art exhibits, the centerpiece will be "Spirits and Sights of Newport Beach," a juried art show featuring works by Orange County residents.
Deborah Polonsky, salute organizer and chairwoman of the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, said as many as 8,000 people are expected to attend.
She declined to speculate on how much money could be raised (the event is free, but visitors can buy a $5 pass allowing them to sample food and drinks) but said businesses participating in the salute have already contributed about $10,000 to the "Arts in Public Places" project. The city contributed $15,000.
When the festival is over, and the tally in, the project will begin in earnest, Polonsky said. Tentative plans, which would have to be approved by both the commission and the Newport Beach City Council, call for both realistic and free-form sculptures in parks. Stylish arches over the city's entrance and exit on Coast Highway and decorative street signs and park benches may also be installed, she said.
The project already has one success. In May, a steel sculpture titled "Metalphor" was unveiled in front of Newport Beach City Hall. The $15,000 piece was donated to the city by a Newport Beach art collector.
Beside contributing to the project, businesses have also helped finance the salute, Polonsky said.
In addition to the performers already mentioned, the salute will feature the Bryan Allison Duo (guitar and flute), Frank Amos and the Mississippi Mudders (Dixieland Jazz), pianist Jack Reidling, the Oversextet (New Orleans Jazz), the South Coast Symphony, the Vocal Works and Windways (vocal ensemble) and the Kaleidoscope (modern dance troupe).
Art exhibits will include "The Camera as Art" photo show, works by the Orange County Latino Artists Network, works by six local Vietnamese artists, Chinese calligraphy, and a sculpture exhibition.