Architect Welton Becket, whose work included the Orange Civic Center shown in this rendering from the original dedication program in 1963, will be the subject of the new Orange Legacy Alliance’s inaugural event Sixties@60 on September 16, the 60th anniversary of the complex.
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Orange Legacy Alliance
Orange Legacy Alliance (OLA), formed earlier this year, is making an impact with their first event highlighting the 60th anniversary of the Orange Civic Center, Sixties@60. This event will honor the complex and broader accomplishments of renowned architect Welton Becket, designer of the center.
“We saw a gap we thought we could begin to fill,” says MaryAnne Skorpanich, co-founding member of OLA. “Orange has the Old Towne district, with Old Towne Preservation Association (OTPA), and now we have three new districts for the Eichler Tracts. But there are other older buildings scattered all over town and many that feature more modern architecture that now falls within the historic period—meaning those that are 50 years old or more. We want to shine a spotlight on all those other resources.”
OLA is a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to the mission of fostering awareness and appreciation of the community’s historic and cultural resources. Through education and collaborative engagement, OLA seeks to inspire recognition, pride and stewardship of Orange’s shared legacy.
“We purposely named ourselves alliance because we saw ourselves working not only with the Old Towne Preservation Association but also with the Orange Community Historical Society and others,” says Skorpanich. “Our mission includes heritage trees, referring to trees that are historic and grand like the one on South Glassell, cultural resources and things of that nature.”
Adrian Turner, another founding member, has lived in an Eichler home for the last 15 years and is part of the grassroots effort to get OLA off the ground.
“We are recognizing a need for a more macro group that is citywide,” says Turner. “Right now, there is a patchwork of initiatives to promote stewardship of historic and cultural resources, and there are many places around Orange that are hidden or not viewed in that context, like the Civic Center.”
The event highlighting the Civic Center will showcase Becket’s overtly progressive style, which OLA suggests is emblematic of the pivotal era the city underwent at that time. The center stands as a symbol of the future aspirations of a city transitioning from its agricultural roots to a forward-looking community of the new age. Becket also designed Chapman University’s Becket Building, Capitol Records, Pauley Pavilion, the Los Angeles Music Center and more. Two noted historians will be speaking on the architecture of the Civic Center, Welton Becket’s legacy and mid-century landscape design.
“Our priority right now is getting established, and this event is a great start. We hope to highlight different important places in future years,” says Skorpanich.
The Sixties@60 event will be held September 16th at 3 pm at the Orange City Hall Council Chambers, 300 East Chapman Ave. Attendance is free with advance registration at OrangeLegacy.org
Orange Legacy Alliance - Sixty@60