Statistics prove that Casa Romantica’s artistic and educational programs have engaged and inspired thousands of residents in the past 4 years
San Clemente, CA – Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is proud to announce that it is the recipient of an Achievement Award for Outstanding Arts Organization from Arts Orange County (ArtsOC), the officially-designated local arts agency of the County of Orange and its official state-local arts agency partner. The winners of the 18th Annual OC Arts Awards were announced on Saturday, June 4, 2017, and Orange County Rep. Darrell Issa issued the institution a formal congratulations plaque. The OC Arts Awards were established to honor the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to the arts in Orange County.
“Casa Romantica is deeply honored to receive this award, and it is an indication of the especially incredible dedication of our Board and Staff,” says Casa Romantica Executive Director Berenika Schmitz.
Under the leadership of Schmitz, who celebrates her fourth year as Executive Director in June 2017, the institution has developed a reputation for bringing international talent to south Orange County. Beginning with the 2014-15 season, Casa Romantica has commissioned several critically-acclaimed works, including landmark exhibition Casa Coastal: Rebecca Louise Law (2017; visual art), Casa Kinetic: Contemporary Dance Collective (2017; contemporary dance), The Beauty of the Butterfly (2017; visual art), Casa Kinetic: Carrie Lee Riggins (2016; contemporary dance), Casa Drama: Slings & Arrows (2015; theater), and Open Casa: The Photographs of Douglas Kirkland (2015; visual art). The cultural institution has just released its 2017-18 Casa Captivating season, which includes a prestigious new Casa Jazz Club series, visual and performing arts commissions, and an enhanced Casa Wellness program.
“Casa Romantica strives to be the epicenter for innovative artistic experiences in our southern California community,” says Casa Romantica Executive Director Berenika Schmitz.
Beginning with her tenure, patronage to Casa Captivating events in art, music, education, history, horticulture, and literature doubled from 3,000 attendees to over 6,000 attendees in one year. In the 2016-17 season, just three years later, attendance has risen to nearly 11,000 patrons. The institution, which hosted just 12 events per year in the 2012-13 season, has steeply added to its programming each year, with nearly 100 events planned for the 2017-18 season. One of the most staggering statistics is the number of Casa Romantica memberships. Membership, which provides critical support to the institution’s programs and site preservation, has increased 900% over 4 years, from 90 members to 900 members.
At least 4,000 children now take advantage of year-round free CasaKids arts education programs, compared to its reach of 2,000 children just 4 years ago. Programs include school field trips, arts and horticulture workshops, cinema and theater performances, the middle and high school Artists of Tomorrow exhibition, the Music Festival and Academy, the Summer Dance Workshop, weekly story time, and monthly free D. Yoder Family Sundays.
Casa Romantica has also taken great effort to transform its 2.5 acres into the most diverse and artistic coastal botanical garden in Orange County. An average of 633 flora have been planted every year for the past three years. These improvements, coupled with growing public and media interest in the site as an architectural and botanical destination, have increased general admission to the historic home and gardens alone from 5,900 visitors per year to over 16,000 visitors per year. Both the maintenance of the grounds and the proliferation of cultural and educational programs have engaged more and more of the South Orange County community as volunteers. 2,971 volunteer hours were recorded for the 2011-12 season, while about 7,900 hours have been logged for the 2016-17 season alone. The community is highly engaged with multiple roles at Casa Romantica, from docents and gardeners to educators, administrators, and hospitality officials.
Overall, Casa Romantica now welcomes roughly 35,000 members, residents, and guests through its striking keyhole door annually, and promises to continue its meteoric growth.
“Casa Romantica is the only center of its kind in South Orange County. The Ole Hanson home celebrates 90 years in 2017, and our cultural institution celebrates 15 years,” said Board President Ruth DeNault. “It is satisfying to see that so many people benefit from Casa Romantica’s offerings year after year.”
The Orange County arts community will gather on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa to honor this year’s recipients. Honorees, Sponsors and VIP guests will enjoy a pre-event reception and dinner at the elegant Leatherby’s Café Rouge before joining ceremony guests for dessert and the evening’s program in the Samueli Theater.
“Arts Orange County is proud to host this important annual event which recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements of our wonderful Orange County arts and cultural institutions, artists, and arts philanthropists,” commented Arts Orange County Executive Director Richard Stein. “We have a vibrant, thriving creative ecosystem here in Orange County made possible by the dedication and support of exceptional organizations and individuals such as those we will honor in October.”