Sunday, November 01, 2015

The City of Mission Viejo’s goes to (Saddleback) college when nine mosaic bears arrive on campus

Entertainment will be provided by internationally-acclaimed harpist Julio Montero. He began his professional career in Spain in the early 1990s, and since then, has performed in concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and Japan.

Posted By CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita,  CA – The City of Mission Viejo’s Bear Project goes to college when nine mosaic bears arrive on campus on November 9, 2015 and stay through January 10, 2016. On Friday, November 20th, the two arts organizations will host a meet the artists and the bears reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in front of the Saddleback College Library. 

The Bear Project is a collaborative art adventure that brought together more than 1,000 community members from all walks of life, ages 1 to 91, working together for more than three years (2012 – 2015) toward a common goal. Friends, neighbors and strangers alike have shared in the creation of nine unique, life-size mosaic bears representing the richly diverse ethnic and cultural heritage of the Mission Viejo community. 

For many community participants, The Bear Project has been a life-changing experience of discovery and fellowship – a celebration of diversity that fosters unity. Artists Joy Aldrich and Aileen May will be present to talk about their creations.

Joy Aldrich began a remarkable journey nearly four decades ago when public schools began considering fine art as an expendable subject. She opened a fine art school – Aldrich School of Art – in 1982 for youth and adults in Stockton, California and was inspired by how her students discovered their own creative genius.  Over the years, Joy has collaborated on many amazing art projects including mixed-media canvases and collages created by hundreds of students at a time. In 2008, Joy became a member of the Dana Point Coastal Arts Board of Directors and met Aileen May.  Three years later, the two began their first project together, a mosaic community collaborative art piece dubbed the “Whale Tale" with more than 150 participants in the Dana Point Harbor.  The Arts de la Vida collaborative art project in Mission Viejo followed, and in 2012, Joy and Aileen began working on the City of Mission Viejo's "Bear" mosaic project. This unique project includes nine life-size bears designed to represent the diversity and multicultural communities within Mission Viejo.  The city partnered with the Kaleidoscope entertainment center to provide working studio space for the project.  To date, more than 4,000 people have experienced the Bears
Aileen May is a talented artist known throughout the country for her passion and exhibitions.   Throughout the years, her outstanding work has garnered many grants, awards and accolades. Aileen's impressive career includes serving as an artist in residence for 20 different schools working with at-risk youth.  Aileen moved to the area in 2000 and has since created exquisite collaborative public art mosaics along Mission Viejo's Oso Creek Trail, Crown Valley Parkway and in the Dana Point Harbor.  In 2011, she teamed up with fellow artist Joy Aldrich to lead a one-of-a-kind project for the City of Mission Viejo. The Bears Project includes 9 life-size mosaic bears that represent the vast diversity within Mission Viejo.  This unique project has been a 3-year labor of love for Aileen. Along with her creative endeavors, Aileen has lent her talents as a member of countless academies and boards including the Art Academy Alumni Association and Dana Point Coastal Arts Board of Directors.

Pacific Islands Bear: With its beautiful face, the Pacific Islands bear sits in its ocean environment among a collection of reef fish in tune with nature.

Entertainment will be provided by internationally-acclaimed harpist Julio Montero. He began his professional career in Spain in the early 1990s, and since then, has performed in concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and Japan. He served as musical advisor to theCultural Foundation “Chavin” of Julio León Gómez; and has organized and taught workshops for various international harp festivals. Montero has participated in many concerts and shows such as Fiesta Argentina  in 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2011 at The Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood, California. He has also appeared in several television shows and has recorded, in collaboration with other artists, music for Smithsonian Folkways.  In his spare time, he enjoys to write and compose music. He is currently working on his next record production that will combine rhythms from Latin, International and American repertoire. Montero can be heard playing at concerts and special performances for various shows, special presentations, hotels and resorts throughout Southern California.

A wine reception includes appetizers from the Broken Yolk Cafe, a new restaurant on Marguerite Parkway near the college. 

The Angels for the Arts is a fundraising and support organization for the Performing and Visual Arts at Saddleback College.  Angel members donate their time and talent to raise funds and assist with a variety of arts events on the campus.  The group is led by a volunteer advisory board of directors. Angel members believe in the importance of offering a full spectrum of arts to the community, with the college as the focal point.  These events bring together Orange County residents from all walks of life, for the purpose of enlightenment, entertainment, and inspiration. The Angels also provide support for scholarships for students in Visual & Performing Arts, MainStage Kids Productions, master classes with professional artists, hospitality for guest artist performers and crew, enhancements for arts patrons, such as the tram, and the annual Black History Month fundraiser.

The Friends of the Arts in the City of Mission Viejo is an organization with a mission “to engage and inspire the community in the arts.”  The Friends’ goals include: to provide  arts awareness and education,  to raise funds for the Arts in a collaborative and enriching way,  to help inspire and educate the City’s residents, to encourage public participation in the arts, and to further support Mission Viejo's commitment to being "an epicenter for arts expansion and creative applications to business and civic life."  The Friends' board members collaborate with talented artists, organizations, and local businesses to help foster and grow these venues over time to enhance appreciation and interest in the arts for all residents of Mission Viejo. The organization’s primary goal is to bring meaningful art to the City.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community.  Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals.  For more information, please visit and for Fine Arts information, please  

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