Arts Month in Long Beach

October is Arts Month in Long Beach: 31 days to appreciate and enjoy the great gift given to us by artists of all stripes. Long Beach is teeming with creativity in music, visual arts, crafts, cinema, and so much more. Here’s where you can not only experience art all over the city – indoors and out, beautiful, thrilling and downright scary – but also how you can interact with the very people who created it.


Long Beach Symphony Music Director Eckart Preu is going big to open the 2022-23 season. The October 1 concert (8 p.m.) features works by Prokofiev, Mendelssohn as well as the Big One, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The Fifth’s opening – bum, bum, bum, buuummm – is without question, the single most recognizable piece of music ever written, and any work by Beethoven always goes over well in the Terrace Theater (300 E. Ocean Blvd.); ask anyone who's ever had the thrill of hearing the Symphony perform his Ode to Joy accompanied by the Long Beach Camerata Singers. The Symphony will also open its Pops! Season, October 29 with I Remember When Rock Was Young: The Elton John Tribute.


It’s one thing to see the result of artists’ work, it’s another to actually see where that process happens. The annual Long Beach Open Studio Tours series affords people a unique opportunity to actually meet artists in their studios and not only see where they work but actually talk to them about their work. You might even be so moved to buy some of that work. More than 60 artists – painters, woodworkers, jewelry designers, sculptors, etc. – are opening their studios to the public this year. The tours happen on four consecutive weekends, beginning Oct. 1-2, Uptown. That will be followed by tours in Downtown (Oct. 8-9), Belmont Shore (Oct. 15-16) and on the Eastside (Oct. 22-23).

Credit: Long Beach Open Studio Tour


True to its name, The Art Theatre (2025 E. Fourth St.) is one of Southern California’s best art film houses with extensive renovations to this gorgeous, nearly 100-year old building, improving the movie-going experience even more. The Art always features unique, artsy fare, and October is no different. On October 8-9, it will present Living Wine, a film about the art of natural winemaking in Northern California, to be followed by a tasting of some of those wines at Art Du Vin (2027 E. Fourth St.) wine bar, which is connected to the theater. On Halloween, October 31, the Art will show the beautifully horrific silent classic, Nosferatu, with a live score composed and performed by the Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble.


Long Beach has all sorts of weekly events happening all over the city that feature artists/artisans/makers showing up to display their work for sale. Some of the biggest happen in neighborhoods, such as Bixby Knolls’ well-attended First Fridays, a collection of musicians, artists, makers and a whole lot of community that occurs – you guessed it – the first Friday of every month. Similar artsy get-togethers happen in the East Village Arts District (Second Saturdays) as well as Retro Row’s (Fourth Fridays). There are also several makers’ festivals, including the monthly Creative Communal Makers Market at the 2ND & PCH retail center.

Credit: Candice Wong


If you like your art curated and located, mostly, indoors, Long Beach has plenty of that as well. The city boasts four major art museums, each with a specific, unique emphasis. The Museum of Latin American Art (628 Alamitos Ave.) will continue its activities around Hispanic Heritage Month, while the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (695 Alamtios Ave.) and the Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, on the campus of Cal State Long Beach (1250 Bellflower Blvd.), will continue to present their own ongoing exhibitions. Along with its own exhibitions, the Long Beach Museum of Art (2300 E. Ocean Blvd.), will offer its Family Art Making class, Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free, available to all-ages and does not require a sign-up.


Long Beach has an exceptional collection of public art, everything from murals to sculpture to mosaics to painted utility boxes. There are literally hundreds of pieces all over the city. A treasure, to be sure, but one that can be a little overwhelming, especially if you want to see specific pieces. Fortunately, the Arts Council for Long Beach has constructed an excellent digital resource on its website that will guide you to virtually any work of art you desire. Its Public Art Map not only has every piece of public art in the city, but allows you to search for it using numerous filters whether by neighborhood, specific artist, art type, etc.

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Steve Lowery