O.C. Great Park to host reception for two exhibits
The Orange County Great Park is hosting a special reception Saturday for two new exhibitions that explore the history of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, as well as 1942, the year construction began on the air station.
"Farmers to Flyers: Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and Mid-Century Orange County" and "Contemporary Artists Conceptualize the Year 1942" are now on display in the Great Park Gallery and the Artists Studios, respectively. The reception for the two shows will be from 7-9 p.m. Saturday in the Great Park Gallery and the park's Palm Court Arts Complex. Admission and parking are free.
"Farmers to Flyers" is a site-specific exhibition of historical photographs, documents and artifacts that recount the Marine station's profound impact on Southern California. Based on 400 oral history interviews with El Toro veterans, the exhibit is a joint project with the Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton.
"It tells the story of the transition of this land from an agricultural bread basket to the nation to a Marine air base that helped win World War II, and then in turn had an enormous influence on the way Orange County developed in the 1950s," said Henry Korn, manager of arts, culture and heritage at the Great Park.
Many of the oral histories are incorporated in the exhibit, and visitors can listen to voice recordings of veterans at phone stations.
In the Artists Studios across Palm Court, the exhibit "1942" features paintings by 16 Orange County artists and three from New York and Atlanta. Each artist was asked to think about what the year 1942 means to him or her, and the result explores themes such as family, fashion and the world at war.
Artists include Bradford Salamon, Caleb Morris, Jeff McMillan, Caroline Hadilaksono, Christian Ramirez, Junghwa Hong, Michelle Farro, Sisi Chen and Tony DiMauro.
"It ranges from some who are younger to others who are more established," said curator Kevin Staniec, who's also a program specialist in the arts, culture and heritage division at the Great Park. "Some artists have been around for a while."
Highlights include Salamon's nostalgic scenes from simpler times, and Hong's portrait of Anne Frank combined with a profile of Hong's daughter, who was the same age during a recent visit to Amsterdam.
Visitors to Saturday's reception will receive a free, 48-page color exhibition catalog that includes essays by professors and graduates of Cal State Fullerton. Many veterans who once served at El Toro are also expected to attend.
The two exhibits run through March 31. Hours are noon-4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Orange County Great Park is at Sand Canyon and Marine Way in Irvine.
For more information, call 866-829-3829 or visit ocgp.org.
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