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Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz Arts: Art Scene in Santa Cruz

Situated on postcard-perfect Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a college town with majestic redwoods, gorgeous beaches, and some of the best surfing on the West Coast.  Local arts organizations and festivals, including Shakespeare Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Symphony, wisely stage many outdoor performances each year so that their audiences can enjoy both nature and art simultaneously.

Santa Cruz Arts Information

  • metrosantacruz.com—Metro Santa Cruz Weekly’s online events and entertainment guide
  • Good Times—Has extensive editorial coverage of Santa Cruz arts, entertainment, and more

Art Museums

The Museum of Art & History the McPherson Center

The Museum of Art & History @ the McPherson Center

The Museum of Art & History (MAH) at the McPherson Center is committed to creating exhibitions that inspire diverse audiences to engage with contemporary art and Santa Cruz County history. Located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, the MAH provides art and history exhibitions along with an extensive archive and library filled with documents and information about the history of Santa Cruz. The museum publishes books on subjects of …more…

Theater

Pacific Repertory Theatre

Pacific Repertory Theatre

Pacific Repertory Theatre Information

Other Venues: Outdoor Forest Theater, Mountain View Avenue and Santa Rita Street
Public Transportation: Good for both. Golden Bough Playhouse (a short walk from MST bus 4 and the Carmel Trolley at Monte Verde Street/8th Avenue, and a 4-minute walk from bus 22 at San Carlos Street/9th Avenue). Outdoor Forest Theater (a 4-minute walk from MST …more…

Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

(July 24 – August 26, 2012) The activities of Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) are centered around a summer festival, lasting from July through August each year. It has been held since 1981 on the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz. Professional actors, directors and designers are brought from around the world to interpret Shakespeare’s work with a modern perspective. SSC is a true repertory company, with a core group of actors each appearing in a number of productions throughout the festival season. ...more...

Classical Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Santa Cruz, CA)

(July 28 – August 12, 2012) Under the leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop – also at the helm at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra – the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra of 68 music professionals presents new orchestral music to the public each summer. The country’s foremost new music festival, Cabrillo has won the national ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music every single year since Cabrillo began in 1982. ...more...

Carmel Bach Festival

Carmel Bach Festival (Carmel, CA)

(July 14 – 28, 2012) This two-week summer festival was founded in 1935, and features more than 60 composers in addition to the monolithically prolific Johann Sebastian Bach — with other Baroque figures like Handel, Haydn, Schütz, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Purcell among them. But the various ensembles perform repertoire that goes beyond the Baroque period to include the works of Elgar, Rossini, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, among many others. ...more...

Monterey Symphony

Monterey Symphony

The genesis of the Monterey Symphony occurred in the 1940s, and since that time the focus has always been on serving the surrounding community of Monterey County. Not beholden to any one genre, the orchestra’s extensive repertoire includes works by such varied composers as Gluck, Debussy, Prokofiev, and Dave Brubeck. Beyond the core concert offerings, the symphony presents Youth Concerts, Musical Salons, and hosts pre-concert luncheons and other …more…

The Santa Cruz Chorale

Santa Cruz Chorale

Started in 1983, this volunteer community chorus performs thrice each season. The programs of the Santa Cruz Chorale are characterized by an appealing mix of the classic and the contemporary—with works by Baroque composers like Dietrich Buxtehude and Samuel Scheidt, Romantic period writers such as Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner, as well as modern composers like Benjamin Britten. Singers interested in auditioning are welcome to do so. (DK)

The …more…

Santa Cruz County Symphony

Santa Cruz County Symphony

Founded in 1985, the Santa Cruz County Symphony (SCCS) performs standard classical fare for adults and children alike. In addition to its regular concert season, which showcases masterworks by composers such as Beethoven, Gershwin, Holst, and Liszt, the SCCS presents a Family Concert.

The ensemble also hosts an in-school education program for students which helps them to acclimate themselves to the concert experience. The program culminates in a performance featuring members …more…

Jazz

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

The Kuumbwa Jazz Center deserves a place on any list of Bay Area jazz venues because of its international reputation as a haven for the art form of jazz. Kuumbwa (a Swahili word meaning ‘act of spontaneous creation’) is a non-profit performance and education organization dedicated to the preservation of jazz. The organization opened in 1975, and has been presenting weekly …more…

Santa Cruz Jazz Festival

Santa Cruz Jazz Festival

Whoever said student festivals weren’t fun for anyone but the students lied. The Santa Cruz Jazz Festival has an incredible lineup of over 50 jazz bands, combos and choirs competing over two days in March. Friday night usually features a special guest artist and Saturday night, the highest rated ensembles give a Command Performance for festival attendees and competitors. $10 for a festival button gives you admission to all events, …more…

Dance

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre

The mission of SCBT, a pre-professional company comprised of dancers between the ages of 7 and 18, is to expose the Santa Cruz community to classical and contemporary ballet; the company does precisely this with its beautifully staged performances. Founded in 1982 by Robert Kelley and Diane Cypher, the company presents classics such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Giselle, as well as new work created by local artists like …more…

Santa Cruz Dance

Santa Cruz Dance

Founded in 2008 by director Abra Allan and project manager Hanna Campbell-Cyr, SCD is a not-for-profit presenting organization that brings dance to the fore in Santa Cruz and neighboring communities. Celebrating dance in all of its forms, SCD presents two major events during the year: National Dance Week and the Santa Cruz Ethnic Dance Festival.

National Dance Week is a yearly event celebrated in April where dance is showcased via performances, …more…

Multi-Arts Festivals

Days and Nights Festival

Days & Nights Festival (Carmel Valley, CA)

(August – September, 2012) The brainchild of eminent minimalist composer Philip Glass, the Days and Nights Festival offers two late summer weeks of musical performances, theatrical productions, poetry readings, dance recitals and film presentations, most of which are presented at the Hidden Valley Theatre in Carmel Valley. ...more...

Art Museums

The Museum of Art & History the McPherson Center

The Museum of Art & History @ the McPherson Center

The Museum of Art & History (MAH) at the McPherson Center is committed to creating exhibitions that inspire diverse audiences to engage with contemporary art and Santa Cruz County history. Located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, the MAH provides art and history exhibitions along with an extensive archive and library filled with documents and information about the history of Santa Cruz. The museum publishes books on subjects of …more…

Theater

Pacific Repertory Theatre

Pacific Repertory Theatre

Pacific Repertory Theatre Information

Other Venues: Outdoor Forest Theater, Mountain View Avenue and Santa Rita Street
Public Transportation: Good for both. Golden Bough Playhouse (a short walk from MST bus 4 and the Carmel Trolley at Monte Verde Street/8th Avenue, and a 4-minute walk from bus 22 at San Carlos Street/9th Avenue). Outdoor Forest Theater (a 4-minute walk from MST …more…

Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Shakespeare Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

(July 24 – August 26, 2012) The activities of Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) are centered around a summer festival, lasting from July through August each year. It has been held since 1981 on the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz. Professional actors, directors and designers are brought from around the world to interpret Shakespeare’s work with a modern perspective. SSC is a true repertory company, with a core group of actors each appearing in a number of productions throughout the festival season. ...more...

Classical Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Santa Cruz, CA)

(July 28 – August 12, 2012) Under the leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop – also at the helm at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra – the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra of 68 music professionals presents new orchestral music to the public each summer. The country’s foremost new music festival, Cabrillo has won the national ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music every single year since Cabrillo began in 1982. ...more...

Carmel Bach Festival

Carmel Bach Festival (Carmel, CA)

(July 14 – 28, 2012) This two-week summer festival was founded in 1935, and features more than 60 composers in addition to the monolithically prolific Johann Sebastian Bach — with other Baroque figures like Handel, Haydn, Schütz, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Purcell among them. But the various ensembles perform repertoire that goes beyond the Baroque period to include the works of Elgar, Rossini, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, among many others. ...more...

Monterey Symphony

Monterey Symphony

The genesis of the Monterey Symphony occurred in the 1940s, and since that time the focus has always been on serving the surrounding community of Monterey County. Not beholden to any one genre, the orchestra’s extensive repertoire includes works by such varied composers as Gluck, Debussy, Prokofiev, and Dave Brubeck. Beyond the core concert offerings, the symphony presents Youth Concerts, Musical Salons, and hosts pre-concert luncheons and other …more…

The Santa Cruz Chorale

Santa Cruz Chorale

Started in 1983, this volunteer community chorus performs thrice each season. The programs of the Santa Cruz Chorale are characterized by an appealing mix of the classic and the contemporary—with works by Baroque composers like Dietrich Buxtehude and Samuel Scheidt, Romantic period writers such as Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner, as well as modern composers like Benjamin Britten. Singers interested in auditioning are welcome to do so. (DK)

The …more…

Santa Cruz County Symphony

Santa Cruz County Symphony

Founded in 1985, the Santa Cruz County Symphony (SCCS) performs standard classical fare for adults and children alike. In addition to its regular concert season, which showcases masterworks by composers such as Beethoven, Gershwin, Holst, and Liszt, the SCCS presents a Family Concert.

The ensemble also hosts an in-school education program for students which helps them to acclimate themselves to the concert experience. The program culminates in a performance featuring members …more…

Jazz

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

The Kuumbwa Jazz Center deserves a place on any list of Bay Area jazz venues because of its international reputation as a haven for the art form of jazz. Kuumbwa (a Swahili word meaning ‘act of spontaneous creation’) is a non-profit performance and education organization dedicated to the preservation of jazz. The organization opened in 1975, and has been presenting weekly …more…

Santa Cruz Jazz Festival

Santa Cruz Jazz Festival

Whoever said student festivals weren’t fun for anyone but the students lied. The Santa Cruz Jazz Festival has an incredible lineup of over 50 jazz bands, combos and choirs competing over two days in March. Friday night usually features a special guest artist and Saturday night, the highest rated ensembles give a Command Performance for festival attendees and competitors. $10 for a festival button gives you admission to all events, …more…

Dance

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre

The mission of SCBT, a pre-professional company comprised of dancers between the ages of 7 and 18, is to expose the Santa Cruz community to classical and contemporary ballet; the company does precisely this with its beautifully staged performances. Founded in 1982 by Robert Kelley and Diane Cypher, the company presents classics such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Giselle, as well as new work created by local artists like …more…

Santa Cruz Dance

Santa Cruz Dance

Founded in 2008 by director Abra Allan and project manager Hanna Campbell-Cyr, SCD is a not-for-profit presenting organization that brings dance to the fore in Santa Cruz and neighboring communities. Celebrating dance in all of its forms, SCD presents two major events during the year: National Dance Week and the Santa Cruz Ethnic Dance Festival.

National Dance Week is a yearly event celebrated in April where dance is showcased via performances, …more…

Multi-Arts Festivals

Days and Nights Festival

Days & Nights Festival (Carmel Valley, CA)

(August – September, 2012) The brainchild of eminent minimalist composer Philip Glass, the Days and Nights Festival offers two late summer weeks of musical performances, theatrical productions, poetry readings, dance recitals and film presentations, most of which are presented at the Hidden Valley Theatre in Carmel Valley. ...more...