THE BLOG

Creative Orange County

09/01/2010 01:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Just like Jeffrey Deitch, I too came to Southern California for a new job. It was my husband's. He had lived in North California in the 80's, but never Southern California. And I had never been farther west than Chicago. After six years, I still shake my head at times and say to myself, California, I live in California!

Land of sunshine, Disneyland, surf -- more important to me is the vibrant arts/culture milieu. One can move from the blueblood venues such as LACMA to Machine Project, where a Korean vendor makes blueberry pancakes and mimosas on the sidewalk while you watch 60's black and white nature movies in a manmade urban forest, to a morning at Laguna Beach's Main beach then a stroll to see Laguna Art Museum's ArtShack, to lunch at Bloomingdales, Fashion Island, and OCMA's "15 Minutes of Fame" (Garry Winogrand's "Women" photos are amazing).

What's a girl who listened to her first symphony concert at age 6, and took painting lessons at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at 7, to do? Enjoy the lushness, richness of the offerings... And, get involved...

I've always been an arts patron, artist (my Artchairs adventure, "art you can sit on"), and arts advocate. So, I launched myself in my new hometown, Fullerton, Orange County. Became Chair of the Arts Committee, participated in Americans for the Arts' 3rd Economic Impact Study, and found out that Fullerton's arts/culture generates $69M in revenue for Fullerton ($58M for Laguna Beach) -- wow, wow. It's the multiplier effect, the direct and indirect benefits.

What else to do to be more informed about Southern California's "creative" culture? I started going into LA for arts advocacy and information related events. In March 2009, I participated in Arts for LA's town hall. What I knew was confirmed by the presenters (the keynote was from Robert L. Lynch, President/CEO, Americans for the Arts) and my fellow participants: the challenges and issues facing arts/culture organizations are momentous. Nonprofit organizations (not only arts/culture related) will need to think outside of the box; it's about creativity and agility!

I then went to Arts for LA's "Arts in Crisis, A Kennedy Center Initiative," and Otis College of Art and Design's presentation of the 2009 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, "Unleashing L.A.'s Creative Potential," and California Arts Advocates' "Legislative Briefing." My mind exploded with ideas about ways to bring all this energy and information to Orange County.

At the same time, I had been reading Richard Florida's works about "creative" class, and Daniel Pink's about the right brain, left brain divide. Could I organize a similar event in Orange County? Searching the Internet, I found John Eger, whose seminal white paper, "The creative community - Forging the links between art culture commerce & community," generated my ah ha moment. I called, we chatted, and I had found a like-minded individual.

Things started to jell in my mind. What about a think tank? One focused on arts/culture, or maybe more expansive -- what about "creative" community? Another thought came to me. Why couldn't this think tank curate events? What about a TEDx event? I had been to SoCal's first TEDx event, TEDxUSC, in March 2009.

Again, in the meantime, I had become better acquainted with a like minded individual in Fullerton, Pamela Hughes Tice. As we talked, we began more and more excited about working together.

We said, why not produce and organize the first ever TEDx event in Orange County? We talked to TED and viola! TEDxFullerton: "Ideas Worth Spreading in Orange County," is on September 10.

With TEDxFullerton, we begin the conversation about what is means to be a "creative" community. What are the "ideas worth spreading in Orange County" that will achieve this goal?

Please join us. "Creative" communities are our future!

"I believe that creativity will be the currency of the 21st century." Gerald Gordon, Ph.D., President/CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

"Human creativity has become an essential economic driver." Moving Forward, Canada Council for the Arts, Strategic Plan 2008-2011.

"The innovative cities of the coming age will develop a creative union of technology, arts and civics." Sir Peter Hall, renowned geographer and authority on the economic, demographic, cultural and management issues facing cities.