In 1968 a cultural master plan was produced and the center was opened. That plan has 5 goals for the center:

Goal #1 Classes in the Creative Arts

The first goal was “to establish an exemplary program of classes in the creative arts.” North Orange County holds most of the impoverished areas of our county. The area from Santa Ana to South Fullerton has an average income that is 50-75% less than the rest of Orange County with 50% larger families . Yet most arts resources are in South Orange County and Santa Ana. This gives us a mandate as the only full-service cultural center serving the region.

In 2007 the Muckenthaler hosted 1,000 students in classes. We now host over 43,000 in 42 sites, including shelters, foster care, Boys and Girls Clubs, schools and other sites were arts would not be without our services. We provide 40 free school tours each year and produce festivals for youth performing groups. 

Goal #2 Diversity Programs

The second goal was “to provide for depolarization of ethnic and socioeconomic groups.” Even in 1968, ethnic diversity was an issue. This is even more so today when 34% of the city is Latino and 23% is Asian, predominantly Korean.

Since 2007 when the Muckenthaler patronage was largely White seniors, we have diversified through grants from the National Endowment of The Arts and the Irvine Foundation. Our programs now are 38% Latino and 18% Asian/Korean with more attendance from families, students and young professionals. It’s this diversity of programs that won us an award for “Most Eclectic Venue” from Orange Coast Magazine.

Goal #3 Exemplary Programs in the Creative Arts

The third goal of the 1968 report was “Cultural enrichment through exemplary programs in the creative arts.” Since 2007, our programs have increased from 20 to 80 each year with five free festivals, a jazz series, a folk music and dance series, a spoken word series and family programming. We now bring Grammy, Tony and Oscar winning artists and top international professionals to The Muck every year. Over 12,000 attended our shows last year.

Goal #4 Integration of Future Buildings

The fourth goal was to “integrate the existing cultural center with “planning and funding of future buildings… allowing for as complete as possible programming in all the creative arts.” In 1984, an initial Master Plan was created for new buildings on the property. A theater was built but the rest of the plan was cut short by the Orange County bankruptcy in 1995. At that time the nonprofit foundation took over operations of the center from the city. Today we get no city funding other than a stipend for basic maintenance of the property, yet have doubled our budget and tripled programs even during City funding cuts and a bad economy. The new 2013 Master Plan was created in a way that will provide for these new buildings, but will also maintain and preserve the heritage of a founding family of Orange County.

What’s not included in the 1968 report is any reference to the historical aspects of the Muckenthaler. At that time it may not have been considered historic, but became a National Historic Registry site in 1999. Today, preserving our heritage is a key part of our mission. Our current Master Plan is designed to serve our mission, the ideals set forth in the 1968 plan and the goals of the 1984 master plan.

Goal #5 To Become a Regional Cultural Center in North Orange County

The last goal of the original 1968 plan was to be a regional cultural center for North Orange County “to help with programming, or expansion of programming, at local centers.” All of our festivals, exhibits, concerts and classes are created in partnership with over 65 different organizations and guilds. We now serve 45,000 people each year in our programs and another 30,000 visit for rental events on the property such as weddings and corporate events.

Our New Plan

The new plan will better serve our programs and patrons with a new gallery, recording studio, media lab, dance facility, dedicated classrooms for fine arts and fine crafts, an indoor events space, and an event lawn designed to cut down on noise from events, while improving space for functions. Our new event spaces will have views of Catalina and Disneyland’s fireworks at night.

The plan will also restore many historic features and allow for us to restore the mansion to a house museum so future generations can tour the home and see how a prominent 1920s family lived. There will be a new heritage grove, rose garden, butterfly garden, walking trail, fountain and stream, restored courtyard and native planting areas.

This new master plan completes what was planned for the Muck in 1968 and 1984, making it a valuable resource for North Orange County preserving history, fighting poverty through arts education, and giving North Orange County needed arts resources.

Click HERE to see the entire plan or contact Janette Pyun and ask for a tour.

Won’t you help make our Muck, your Muck too?

Janette Pyun | janette@themuck.org | 714-738-6595 x 103