Share this story

Arts Orange County announces 21st OC Arts Awards honorees, including Laguna Playhouse

The Orange County arts community will gather on Tuesday, October 19 in the Samueli Theater at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, to honor its stars at the 21st Orange County Arts Awards, hosted by the county’s nonprofit arts council, Arts Orange County. 

This year’s Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award for lifetime contributions to the Orange County arts community will recognize Jonelle Allen, an award-winning actress known for her work on Broadway, in film, and television. Beloved arts education center the Laguna Playhouse, one of the West Coast’s oldest continuously operating theatre companies, now completing its 100th season, will also be honored. Tom Titus, arts journalist now retiring as the theatre critic for the Daily Pilot where he has championed local theatre for 55 years, joins the honorees. 

Arts Orange Jonelle

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Honoree Jonelle Allen 

An Achievement Award for Outstanding Public Art will be given to the visionary FLIGHT at Tustin Legacy Murals, a project of owner/developer LPC West, RIOS architects, and the City of Tustin, who commissioned three nationally known artists to create multi-story murals: Shag (Josh Agle), Bunnie Reiss, and John Park. 

The Emerging Arts Leader Award will be given to Maurizzio Hector Pineda, director and curator of S/A. Exhibitions, operator of the new gallery at the Santa Ana Arts Collective affordable artists residence. 

A Special Award will be presented to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in recognition of their extraordinary allocation of more than $5.8 million in federal COVID relief funds to the local arts community. 

2021 marks the 21st edition of the Orange County Arts Awards (held annually except for 2020) and the twelfth time that the Orange County Arts Awards will take place at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Preceding the ceremonies, honorees and sponsors will enjoy a pre-event reception and dinner at Leatherby’s Café Rouge before joining all ceremony guests for the evening’s program in the Samueli Theater. 

Arts Orange Playhouse

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Laguna Playhouse 

Emcees for this year’s event are Marleena Barber, Director of VSA Orange County, an organization that provides arts, education, and cultural opportunities by, with, and for people with disabilities, making the arts accessible to people of all abilities, and Richard Stein, President & CEO of Arts Orange County. 

“Arts Orange County proudly honors the people and organizations that have profoundly impacted the creative life of our community,” commented Stein. “Each year, we look forward to recognizing those in the arts who have contributed to Orange County over the course of a lifetime and those who have made a more recent impact. This is an evening that celebrates our diverse artistic community, where we honor and thank those whose dedication to the arts enriches and benefits so many throughout Orange County.” 

For more information, visit


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: for questions about advertising


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.