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Arts & Culture Newsletter

Keeping the creative spirit alive during COVID-19


During these unprecedented times, creative expression plays a central role in our health and well-being. For years, research has shown a connection between art and heath. Here are some ideas to strengthen your creative spirit while at home:

  • Get to know classical music! Do a web search for classical music and dive in. There are amazing resources online that will inspire you to learn more. Music has tremendous therapeutic properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Check out the Pacific Symphony and San Diego Symphony websites for incredible virtual performances.
  • Take a class! Not only will taking a class help you exercise your mind and body, it adds some structure to your day. Plus, you’ll have a chance to connect with others. Check our arts website for some creative virtual class offerings.
  • Watch dance movies! If you’re already watching tons of TV, try watching movies that explore the magic of dance. Two fascinating choices are Restless Creature, a 2017 documentary of New York City ballerina Wendy Whelan, and A Ballerina’s Tale, a 2015 documentary of Misty Copland’s journey to becoming principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater.
  • Paint your garden! It’s spring time and no season showcases nature more beautifully. Painting outside or “plein air” is another way to enhance your well-being with fresh air and sunshine. There are hundreds of high-quality classes and videos online to inspire you.
  • Listen to poetry! Find a poetry podcast that you can subscribe to and spend two minutes each day listening to poetry aloud. Poetry is often meditative and a great way to center yourself. Two places to start are Audio Poem of the Day and The Slowdown.
  • Explore arts on social media! Try looking for your favorite artists, techniques, or museums on Instagram and Pinterest. It’s an exciting time to see how artists are adapting and how they’re staying creative. Museums are offering many free virtual exhibits as well. Plus, you can feel good about supporting them during this time.
  • Take advantage of online resources! Check out the great resources available throughout Orange County on the SparkOC website.  Learn about National Dance Day, South African Zulu music, Anthony & Cleopatra with the National Theatre, Michelangelo at the Getty’s virtual exhibition, and so much more.
  • Participate in a creative Census Art Showcase! Create media (video, artwork, graphics) to share with your community about Census 2020.  Teachers can win $500 for their classrooms, and students can win a Chromebook.


Tap your creativity with new Virtual Art Classes

virtual art classes

To keep you engaged and tap your creativity, the City of Mission Viejo is offering fun and interactive virtual art classes for all ages.

Registration is underway for the following classes, so don’t delay in signing up today!    

STEAM with LEGO Workshop

Tap into your imagination from the comfort of your own home with the guidance of an experienced Play-Well instructor and simple pieces from your own LEGO collection. You will connect virtually with other young LEGO engineers while exploring creative boundaries, learning new building techniques and connecting your projects to practical real-world STEAM concepts. The focus is on open-ended builds that do not require special LEGO pieces.

For ages 5 – 7:
#55922 / Mon - Fri / 1:00 – 1:45 pm / June 29 – July 3 / $45 / Online
#49028 / Mon - Fri / 1:00 – 1:45 pm / August 3 – 7 / $45 / Online

For ages 8 – 11:
#55823 / Mon - Fri / 2:00 – 2:45 pm / June 29 – July 3 / $45 / Online
#55821 / Mon - Fri / 2:00 – 2:45 pm / August 3 – 7 / $45 / Online

Knitting Quick Start for Beginners

In this two-week entry-level class for adults 18 and older, you will gain essential skills to start knitting.  You will learn about casting-on, knit stitch, purl stitch and binding off.  Once registered, you can contact the instructor via email for any supply questions before class.

The supply list includes the following:

  1. One ball (about 200 yards) of worsted weight yarn (Medium #4 on the ball band), wool or wool blend in a light, solid color: Brands easily available at Michaels or JoAnn stores are Paton’s Classic Wool in color Aran or Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease (wool blend).
  2. #8 straight knitting needles; wood or bamboo needles are preferred.
  3. A large eye yarn or tapestry needle is optional but useful for weaving in ends.

#54993 / Wed / 11:00 am – 12:00 pm / June 10 & 17 / $30 / Online
#55804 / Fri / 11:00 am – 12:00 pm / June 12 & 19 / $30 / Online

Beginning Ukulele

Just one strum of the ukulele can make you smile during these uncertain times. Grab your ukulele and enjoy learning to play the world’s easiest string instrument in a supportive small virtual class environment.  This is a 4-week class for ages 10 and older. Participants should have a ukulele, music stand (optional) and sheet music, which is provided. 

#55053 / Thurs / 6:30 – 7:30 pm / June 18 – July 9 / $89 / Online

Beginning Guitar 

Now is the perfect time to learn to play guitar!  Enjoy learning to play easy cords, fun melodies, strum styles and many popular tunes in a small virtual class environment. Grab your guitar and have fun!  This is a 4-week class for age 10 and older. You should have a guitar, music stand (optional) and sheet music, which you will download.

#55052 / Thurs / 7:30 – 8:30 pm / June 18 – July 9 / $89 / Online

Fun with Paper – Pop-Up Cards

Adults and kids age 7 and older will learn how to make simple pop-up cards with recycled materials around the house. 

Supplies needed:

  1. Ruler
  2. Pencil
  3. Scissors
  4. Index Cards, cover stock, recycled cards
  5. Stickers
  6. Glue stick

All directions and dimensions will be sent to participants.
#55805 / Fri / 2:00 – 3:00 pm / July 10 / $10 / Online

Fun with Paper - Calendar Collage

Adults and kids age 7 and older will learn how to recycle an old calendar and design a collage image.

  1. Pencil
  2. Scissors
  3. Chip Board (Grey cover stock behind pad of paper cut into 6”x6” square)
  4. Calendars cut into 1 ½”-2” strips
  5. Glue stick

All directions and dimensions will be sent to participants.
#55806 / Fri / 2:00 – 3:00 pm / July 17 / $10 / Online

Fun with Paper - Simple Journal Book

Adults and kids age 7 and older will learn how to make a simple journal book using recycled cards.

Supplies needed:

  1. Ruler
  2. Pencil
  3. Scissors
  4. Chip Board
  5. Recycled cards
  6. Glue stick
  7. Extra blank paper

All directions and dimensions will be sent to participants.
#55807 / Fri / 2:00 – 3:00 pm / July 24 / $10 / Online

For more information about any of these classes, contact arts@cityofmissionviejo.org.

Worldwide Knit in Public Day June 13


A Potocki Center for the Arts instructor is encouraging knitters to grab their needles and yarn and get outside from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday, June 13 for Worldwide Knit in Public Day.

Started in 2005, Knit in Public Day is designed to foster community among knitters, encouraging them to get together and enjoy building relationships, while increasing awareness of the craft among a broader audience. 

Mission Viejo knitting instructor Tamara Griffin has dubbed the day “Mission Viejo Knits” and is asking residents to snap photos of themselves enjoying the great outdoors – front lawns, driveways, sidewalks – while working and send the photos to missionviejoarts@mvfota.org. Folks can also hashtag #knittingmvtogether via social media. 

The photos will be used to share the experience of weaving creative relationships.  

Mission Viejo showing gratitude to front-line workers with large art project

art project

In an effort to recognize the amazing healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines, the City created and installed a large art project in front of the new cancer center near Mission Hospital.

The project dubbed “Gratitude Letters to Honor Healthcare Workers” called for volunteer groups painting letters spelling “thank you” measuring 4 feet by 8 feet.  With social distancing in place, masks and gloves, the volunteers painted the letters last week at the Potocki Center for the Arts. 

“It was so great to watch the groups work together on a theme, color, design and collaboration for each letter,” said Cultural Arts Manager Dru Maurer. “The installation is colorful and will hopefully cheer up the front-line workers as they come and go to the hospital.”

The art project is designed to leave a lasting mark on the men and women working tirelessly and selflessly during this COVID-19 crisis. The City is grateful to the following groups and individuals for their creative efforts. 

T - Family Assistance Ministries
H - Mission Hospital Staffer - Elsie Holdridge and volunteers -Lillian Aranda, Valerie Guttierez
A - Mission Viejo Friends of the Arts
N - Abriana Gutierrez, Diane Bottles, Georgia Bottles, Ben Bottles
K - Members of Saddleback Church and Bob Knoke

Y - Little League District 68
O - Mission Viejo Activities Committee - Marillyn Brame, Pam Smith, Cathy Allen, Julie Zanio, Robert Breton
U - Toni Nunez and Lauren Nunez


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