Got artsy kids? We’ve got inspired people and places to help grow their young talent. Here you’ll find some of Orange County’s best bets for creative kids—from learning rock from the pros on tour to practicing ballet with top dancers to painting with Wyland and designing outfits like a fashionista. Plus, we’ll school you in some great symphony too and theatre. How will your someday-famous kids ever pay you back for all you’ve done? We say they buy you a mansion in the south of France, but that’s just us.
The Music Factory
1125 Victoria Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
If you’re looking for a music school that understands your kids, stands apart from the ordinary and teaches today’s youth what they need to know to go pro, The Music Factory OC is just the school. Founded by Danny Thompson (of the iconic punk band Face to Face heard on KROQ) and Anthony Riedelsheimer (aka Drummer Extraordinaire), you’ll find all the teachers are musicians with real-world experience who actually tour in top bands (such as Something Corporate). The school offers private music lessons including guitar lessons, drum lessons, voice lessons, piano lessons as well as rock band classes and DJ classes. And they offer in-home lessons in cities from Huntington Beach to Anaheim to Laguna Beach. You can also take advantage of online lessons too!
Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre
606 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Have a drama queen or king at home? Consider Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre. The productions are plays for elementary and middle-school age children and are directed and designed by theatre professionals using the Playhouse’s full technical resources. The cast and staff for each production are drawn principally from their Youth Conservatory Program. Donna Inglima, Director of Education, has a true passion for the program. The plays, by the way, may be existing performances or musicals based upon well-known, popular books or stories, but they also are known to commission new stage adaptations.
Southland Ballet Academy
9527 Garfield Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Southland Ballet Academy, the official school of Southern California’s renowned Festival Ballet Theatre, is considered one of the most accomplished regional ballet companies. Founder and artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla opened the academy in 1983 which gives young dancers incredible opportunities in FBT’s renowned guest-artist shows throughout the year, including Orange County’s Nutcracker at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Southland Ballet students may take classes in either of their studios in Fountain Valley or Irvine. Both offer classes in ballet, jazz, and hip hop.
Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
The Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra consists of some of the most talented young musicians (ages 13-18) in Orange County. Founded in 1993, the PSYO is led by the talented and charming Carl St. Clair, the renowned music director at the Pacific Symphony. Members are selected through annual auditions and are required to participate in their school music programs and study privately. St. Clair makes the symphony come alive for kids and keeps them wonderfully engaged and thriving. The symphony offers opportunities to instrumentalists in grades 9-12 and provides an encouraging musical experience that is also great for a child’s personal growth. Being a member also means that students will get the chance to perform in concert with their professional counterparts as part of the Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings.
Art Lessons In The Wild
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
Laguna Beach’s own Wyland debut’s the “Art Lessons in the Wild” creating a creative experience on the water. The three-hour activity aboard the Ocean Adventures Catamaran begins with a dockside presentation and art lesson, via video feed, by eco artist Wyland. After the art lesson, kids take a 2.5-hour trip and submit their artwork to be judged by Wyland for a chance to win a 45″ x 26.6″ framed, limited edition signed and numbered giclee on paper of Wyland’s “Celebrate the Sun.”
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer with a few artsy kids of her own. Debbie also writes features, cover stories and columns at Bask Magazine, Laguna Beach Magazine, OC Family Magazine and more. Keep up with her on Twitter @deblavdas and at DebbieintheOC.com.