Mission and History

Mission

The mission of the Lamorinda Arts Council is to ignite and sustain artistic expression and appreciation for all ages throughout the tri-city area of Lamorinda, California.

We are an engaged group of volunteers and donors who develop and produce events, partner with professional organizations and artists, give financial support and awards, and advocate for a vibrant, local culture of visual, performing, and literary arts.


History

Founded in 1950 as the Orinda Arts Council, the Lamorinda Arts Council has been stimulating, supporting, and advocating for the visual and performing arts in the schools and community for over sixty years. Key contributions to the schools and community include Lamorinda Idol, the High School Visual Arts Competition, Lamorinda ShortDocs Film Fest, Art in Public Places, the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library and the Art Gallery at Wilder, Art Embraces Words, school musicals, and much more!

The organization began as the Orinda Children's Art Center to supplement art instruction in the Orinda schools.  It soon became incorporated as the Orinda Arts Council (now the Lamorinda Arts Council) also has a long legacy of supporting the arts in the broader community over its 60-year history.

The Orinda Arts Council began installing art exhibits in the 1960s at the Orinda Library and had a long tradition of holding elaborate annual Art Events at showcase homes and the Orinda Country Club featuring local professional and student artists to raise funds for arts in the schools and the community. In the early 1970s, the Orinda Arts Council provided critical financial and organizational support for the opening of the new Orinda Community Center in 1973, where it went on to provide visual and performing arts classes for several decades. The 1980s included funding for the Orinda Community Center Amphitheater and Cal Shakes as it moved to Orinda. In 1989, The Heart of Orinda, a proposal advocated by the Orinda Arts Council for a physical center of the arts, resulted in the addition of the Orinda Art Library Gallery & Auditorium at the Orinda Community Center in the 1990s.

Since the millennium, the Orinda Arts Council has given $25,000 towards the new Orinda Library and participated on the Art in Public Places Committee. In 2011, we helped fund the annual Orinda Jazz Festival. We've also partnered with the Pacific Chamber Symphony, and the Orinda Film Festival and sponsored the California Independent Film Festival (CAIFF).  We also launched the then Orinda Idol (now Lamorinda Idol) student singing competition, as well as the High School Visual Arts Competition (VAC).

In more recent years, programming has expanded to include the Art Embraces Words program, the Lamorinda ShortDocs Film Fest, and a Poet Laureate program for the tri-city area.  In 2015, the Orinda Arts Council became the Lamorinda Arts Council, in order to expand our opportunities to include Orinda's neighbors of Lafayette and Moraga in this vibrant, local, artistic community.


Interesting historical facts about Lamorinda Arts Council:

1950: Orinda Arts Council is founded
1973: Supported the opening of the then-new Orinda Community Center
1983: Contributed to the Orinda Community Center Amphitheater built in 1983
2001:  Donated $25,000 to the then-new Orinda Library; was instrumental in advocating for the addition of the Orinda Library Art Gallery and Orinda Library Auditorium to the new Orinda Library
2003: Creates and produces the first High School Visual Arts Competition event
2006: Creates and produces the first Orinda Idol singing competition (later to become Lamorinda Idol in 2013)
2007: Creates the first Arts Ambassadors, in partnership with the Orinda Union School District Art Teachers, showcasing Elementary and Middle School Art by Orinda Students
2011: Received the Orinda Association's 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award
2011: Presented the First Annual Orinda Jazz Festival, a Joint Benefit for the Orinda Arts Council and Other Causes, with Lamorinda Theatres and the California Independent Film Festival
2012: Spearheaded the Funding Effort and Oversaw the Orinda Historical Mural Replication and Relocation to Orinda Community Park with Partners, Orinda Historical Landmarks Committee and Orinda Historical Society, and Funders, the City of Orinda and the Orinda Community Foundation
2012: Spearheaded the Funding Effort and Oversaw the Upgrading of the Orinda Library Art Gallery Display Case and Auditorium Wall Lighting
2015: Officially became the Lamorinda Arts Council to serve the broader communities of Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga, CA.
2016: Created and Produced the first inaugural ShortDocs Film Fest, featuring short documentary films by local filmmakers of all ages
2019: Began management of the Art Gallery at Wilder in the Art and Garden Center at Wilder, Orinda. Also began the Art Embraces Words program, showcasing emerging writers and local artists.