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Great Park Gallery Invites You to Visit “The Living Room”

Beginning this April, a new exhibition at the Great Park Gallery will provide a community gathering place for engaging and intimate conversations with local artists set among a collection of nostalgic mural art and décor. Expect collaboration and inspiration as The Living Room hosts a variety of guest speakers on the first Sunday of the month from 1 pm – 2 pm, beginning April 6.

Sunday, April 6
Patrick Ballesteros
Patrick is an illustrator and designer with a passion for creating art that brings you back to being a kid.  He works in Los Angeles as a freelance illustrator/concept artist for the film, game, and animation industries.

Thomas N. Perkins IV
Thomas N. Perkins IV is an Emmy Award-winning artist working in the animation industry for television and film since 1997.  He has worked for animation studios at Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network, and Columbia Tri-Star Television, to name a few.

Sunday, May 4
Bianca Barragan
Bianca Barragan is a writer and zine enthusiast and one of five co-founders of the LA Zine Fest, a one-day gathering that gives zinemakers a physical space to meet each other, exchange ideas, and share their work with the public.  She’s writes her own zines, mostly under the banner Trust Me: I Know What I’m Doing.

Yumi Sakugawa
Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and the author of “I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You.”  Her short comic stories have been listed as Notable Comics of 2012 and 2013 by the Best American Comics anthology editors.

Sunday, June 1
Jane Bauman
Jane Bauman is an Orange County artist represented by Brett Rubbico Gallery.  She is Chair of the Visual and Performing Art Department at Coastline Community College in Newport Beach and is interested in building a strong local art community.

David Michael Lee
Artist, curator, and instructor David Michael Lee was born and raised in Orange County. He earned his BA from Columbia College in Chicago and his MFA from CSU Fullerton. He is currently a faculty member at Coastline Community College and the curator of Coastline Art Gallery.

Great Park Gallery Hours
Thursdays & Fridays: 12 noon – 4 pm
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 am – 4 pm
The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways. For more information, please visit http://www.ocgp.org/ or call 866-829-3829. 

Children’s Gardening Workshop Series Continues at Farm+Food Lab

Families from throughout Orange County can expect their kids to come home with dirty hands after a day at one of the Orange County Great Park’s Children’s Gardening Workshops. The free monthly workshop series at the Great Park’s Farm + Food Lab provides hands-on gardening activities for children ages 3 - 9.

The Children’s Gardening Workshops take place every second Sunday of the month from 11 am to 1 pm and are offered every 30 minutes.  All workshops are free to the public and run through June 8, 2014. The Children’s Gardening Workshop series has been developed in cooperation with the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Orange County.

Growing a Rainbow
Sunday, March 9

Flowers come in all colors, shapes and sizes.  Some are fragrant, others are edible.  Many are used for medicine and dyes, while some can be harmful.  Find out all about the wonderful world of flowers, their uses, and how to create a magical floral rainbow of your very own.

Three Sisters Gardening: A Native American Tradition
Sunday, April 13

According to Native American legend, corn, beans and squash (the food staples of many Native American cultures) are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive when planted together. Come listen to the legend, absorb the wisdom and reconnect with the land by planting your own Three Sisters Garden for your yard or patio.

Garden Detectives 2: What’s All the Buzzing About?
Sunday, May 11

Bees are fascinating insects that play a critical role in making sure we have yummy fruits and vegetables to eat. Come and learn all about the world of bees, how they make honey and why it is so important for us to protect them. Then stay and plant some nectar flowers to take home for your garden.

The Web of Life
Sunday, June 8
Did you know that plants, animals, insect, humans, and the environment are all interconnected and depend on each another for survival?  Come discover how it’s all woven together, as you make your very own Web of Life to take home with you.

For additional information about the Orange County Great Park, please visit www.ocgp.org or call 866-829-3829.

The Orange County Great Park is located off the 405 or 5 Freeways at Sand Canyon and Marine Way in Irvine. Admission to most park events is free; parking for special events is $10. For more information call (866) 829.3829.



U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Returning to the Orange County Great Park

We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon will return to the Orange County Great Park in 2015. This award-winning program challenges collegiate teams from across the nation and around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

From 2002 through 2011, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. served as the venue for five successful Solar Decathlons. In 2013, for 10 days from October 3-13, the City of Irvine hosted the Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park, attracting 64,000 visitors from around the world.  In the Fall of 2015, Solar Decathlon again returns to the Great Park.

U.S. Department of Energy’s Deputy Secretary, Daniel Poneman, recently announced the 20 university teams selected to participate in Solar Decathlon 2015.  The collegiate teams include 8 returning teams and 12 new teams. The 20 university teams include:

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Clemson University
  • Crowder College and Drury University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • New York City College of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College
  • The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine; Saddleback College; Chapman University; and Irvine Valley College
  • Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University
  • West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
  • Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana
  • Yale University

The Solar Decathlon 2015 teams now begin a two-year process to design, test and build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence.  We will follow their progress from now until the fall of 2015 when the teams reassemble their houses on the competition site at the Orange County Great Park. 

For more information, please visit U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Great Park Visitor Center Dedicated

On a chilly morning in late December, both current and former members of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors gathered to dedicate the Great Park’s Visitors Center Pavilion and honor the elected officials and the community and business partners involved in delivering the facility to the public.

Current Great Park Board members participating in the ceremony included Chair Jeff Lalloway, Vice Chair Christina Shea, Director Larry Agran, Director and Irvine Mayor Steven S. Choi and Director Beth Krom.  Former Great Park Board members in attendance included former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang, Bill Kogerman, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, and James “Walkie” Ray.

The new 4762-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion is adjacent to the Great Park Balloon; it features a large lobby, restroom facilities and office space for Park staff.  The facility provides a welcoming first stop for those looking for flights on the Great Park Balloon, rides on the Carousel or more information about Park programs and activities.  Park visitors will notice a special feature of the building – approximately 1,000 tons of El Toro Stone  (pieces of the demolished concrete runways from the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro) were used in the construction of the Visitors Center Pavilion.  The runway pieces were used to create a gabion retaining wall made of stacked stone-filled gabions tied together with wire filled with El Toro Stone on the south side of the facility.

The Visitors Center Pavilion was constructed along with the new South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, which opened in September. The 30-acre expansion added four tournament-quality soccer fields, four basketball courts, the mile-long Kaiser Permanente Thrive Path, reflecting ponds and a viewing pier, giant chess sets and more to the Great Park.

Photos courtesy of Cliff Wallace, Deputy CEO, Orange County Great Park

Additional 688-acres to be developed at the Orange County Great Park

The Irvine City Council has approved a proposal from private developer Five Point Communities to build 688 acres of amenities at the Orange County Great Park over the next five years.  These 688 acres will include sports fields, a Bosque area with trails and playgrounds, Upper Bee Canyon improvements, a wildlife corridor, an 18-hole golf course, agricultural fields and trail improvements.

Through this public-private partnership between the City of Irvine and Five Point Communities, progress on the Orange County Great Park continues.  Other Great Park features already complete include the Great Park Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, Walkable Historical Timeline, Palm Court Arts Complex, South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, and Historic Hangar 244.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park’s array of recreational and educational opportunities, including panoramic views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air. 

With its approximate 1,300-acre master plan, the Great Park is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.  The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.

Enjoying the Orange County Great Park’s New Features

On the horizon, Saddleback Mountain fades into the distance… a bit closer you see the great orange balloon rising in the sky… but immediately within the entry gates at the Orange County Great Park, the beautiful new Reflecting Ponds & Viewing Pier beckons.

This new feature at the Great Park is a welcome sight for all guests who venture into the Park.  Added as part of the 30-acre Western Sector Park expansion project, the Reflecting Ponds & Viewing Pier does double duty as a storm water retention facility.  But Park guests will appreciate the ponds for the beauty and wonder they add to the landscape.

After contemplating the beauty of the Reflecting Ponds & Viewing Pier, take a stroll down the Walkable Historical Timeline.  The Timeline takes visitors on a 2,604-foot walk through history, with more than 100 historical details added since the original timeline was installed.  It is a natural connector to other Park featues like the Great Park Balloon and more points of interest just beyond at the Visitors Center Pavilion.

The new 4,762-square-foot Visitors Center Pavilion adjacent to the Great Park Balloon features a large lobby, restroom facilities, retail area and office space for Park staff.  Additional new Park features include the South Lawn Sports + Fitness Complex, expanding the Great Park’s sports programs.  The complex includes four tournament-quality soccer fields and four full-size basketball courts.  

Other charming new features at the Great Park are the Giant Chess Boards located within the picnic area between the soccer fields and new ping pong tables, which ring the east side of the South Lawn. Giant chess pieces and ping pong paddles are available for check out at the Visitors Center.  Completing the fitness complex is a mile-long Kaiser Permanente Health and Fitness Trail.

All the new features at the Orange County Great Park are enhanced by the addition of more than 300 new trees that have been added to the landscape.

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