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Creativity Capital - Arts and Culture in Santa Cruz

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With one of the highest concentrations of resident artists in the country, Santa Cruz teems with creative culture. From theatrical productions to artisan showcases to original artwork mounted on the traffic signal cabinets, you'll discover the city's creative spirit across town year-round. Come see a beloved musical, watch an artist at work, and snap a selfie next to a public art installation.

Performing arts

 

Drawing actors and other stage artists from the Bay Area arts scene, Santa Cruz regularly hosts high-caliber theatre in its small, intimate venues. Crocker theatre, on the campus of Cabrillo College in Soquel, seats 570, and Jewel Theatre Company stages shows on both its original 89-seat centre Stage and the newly completed Colligan theatre at the Tannery Arts centre.

 

Cabrillo College Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts (VAPA) Complex

 

VAPA comprises 3 venues: Crocker theatre, Sampler Recital Hall, and a black-box theatre - an unadorned space for experimental shows. Events range from a cappella performances by the renowned Cantiamo! choral group to professional Broadway shows produced by Cabrillo Stage.

 

6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos 95003Tel: +1 831 479 6154

 

Cabrillo College Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts (VAPA) Complex website

 

Jewel Theatre Company

 

This professional theatre company presents musicals, comedies, and dramas year-round. Provocative shows include The Price by Arthur Miller and Talley's Folly by Lanford Wilson. For pure lighthearted fun, there are longtime favorites like Guys and Dolls.

 

1001 centre Street, Santa Cruz 95060. Tel: +1 831 425 7506

 

Jewel Theatre Company website

Art galleries and studio tours

 

With its beautiful vistas of sea and mountains, Santa Cruz has inspired generations of artists to live and work here - and to display their finished products in dozens of galleries and exhibits across town. Visit Artisans Gallery downtown or watch an artist-in-residence work at the multidisciplinary Tannery Arts centre.

 

Artisans Gallery

 

A Santa Cruz fixture since 1976, Artisans Gallery sells American-made artworks, jewelry, glass, ceramics, cards, candles, and bath products. You'll also find children's toys and games, as well as rotating art installations. Many of the items are locally made.

 

1368 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz 95060. Tel: +1 831 423 8183

 

Artisans Gallery website

 

Tannery Arts centre

 

A tannery dating back to the mid-1800s has been converted into the Tannery Arts centre, scenically situated on the San Lorenzo River. The centre includes galleries, studio space for working artists, performance venues, and a café.

 

1050 River Street, Santa Cruz 95060. Tel: +1 831 621 6226

 

Tannery Arts centre website

 

Outdoor art installations

 

With a climate ideal for outdoor explorations, Santa Cruz is a natural host to public art installations. Visit the Santa Cruz City Arts website for descriptions of installed works and interviews with the artists. For a uniquely Californian marriage of form and function, check out the tiles and murals installed at Ken Wormhoudt Skate Park and watch the skateboarders display their own kind of artistry.

 

Public art walking tour

 

The Santa Cruz City Arts website provides a map for a self-guided walking tour of downtown that highlights murals, permanent sculptures, and architecture. The map also includes rotating outdoor exhibits, such as SculpTOUR and Graphic Traffic.

 

Tel: +1 831 420 5157

 

Public art walking tour website

 

Art museums and natural history

 

Santa Cruz is proud of its history and the people who have rebuilt the community as time, earthquakes, and economic drivers have passed. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is a coalition of arts organizations that maintains more than 300 contemporary pieces by local artists, as well as 7,000 historical artifacts. To explore the area's past before modern development, visit the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

 

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH)

 

This downtown museum hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions, including interactive experiences. MAH is also a cornerstone of the community festivals held the first and third Friday evenings of each month. Museum admission is free for children under 12.

 

705 Front Street, Santa Cruz 95060. Tel: +1 831 429 1964

 

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) website

 

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

 

This quaint museum overlooking Seabright State Beach features exhibits on native peoples, plants, wildlife, and geology, in addition to rotating installations. Kids love the grey whale statue and the touch pool containing live marine animals.

 

1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz 95062. Tel: +1 831 420 6115

 

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History website