Voice of OC Introduces Arts & Culture Section

Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

This undated archive photo was captioned (on the back): The opening of Newport Harbor Ebell Club's second annual Art Exhibit at Newport Harbor Union High School, open to students of all classes. Here a group is shown listening to Miss Ruth Stoever, librarian, describe the paintings on display.

Today Voice of OC debuts an arts and culture section that will feature work from a team of acclaimed arts journalists.

Senior Editor Paul Hodgins and Managing Editor Heide Janssen are at the helm — putting together a unique product: elegant, reader-focused content on all genres of art happening across Orange County from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to community auditoriums.

Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr., on the addition to Voice of OC: “Our growing newsroom is an integral place for Orange County residents to really impact their civic life and dive into important discussions.

We recognize that local Arts & Culture is an important part of the civic fabric that ties communities together and our newsroom leadership and donors are proud to partner with a special group of renowned local Arts writers led by Paul Hodgins.

We are hopeful that adding this kind of coverage will further tie us all together as a county and empower us all to stay engaged with each other.”

Voice of OC Board Chairman Wylie Aitken welcomes the addition.

Aitken: “As a trial lawyer, a would-be actor when young and as the former Chair of the California Arts Council I realized that arts runs through the fabric of our society. It promotes creativity and humanism and is an integral part of all great civilizations. It inspires the young and keeps them in school and develops skills way beyond the class room.

“When will we ever learn…” that removing and reducing arts in the public schools was a great educational tragedy? Kudos to the Voice of OC to add the arts to their already incredible civic coverage and to Paul Hodgins for his continued commitment.”

Meet the Team

Arts & Culture Senior Editor

Paul Hodgins was born in Canada, where he studied piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music and became a professional accompanist by the age of 20. Hodgins worked widely in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. as an accompanist and music professor at Simon Fraser University, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Nonington College (Kent), Eastern Michigan University, and many festivals. He moved to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in the 1980s and has lived here ever since, completing his doctorate in musical composition at the University of Southern California.

Hodgins was a professor of music at the University of California Irvine from 1985 to 1992, where he served as music director of the dance department and founding director of the Gassman Electronic Music Studio. After freelancing as a classical music critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune, he became an arts journalist and critic for The Orange County Register, where he wrote principally about theater and later about dance and classical music.

In addition to his expertise in the performing arts, Hodgins has written extensively about jazz, architecture, interior design and urban planning. For the last decade he has written a regular column about wine, beer and spirits for the Register.

Hodgins has written two books. Music, Movement and Metaphor, a study of dance-music relationships in 20th-century choreography, was published in 1992. The Winemakers of Paso Robles came out in 2017.

Hodgins remains active as an educator. He has been on the journalism faculty at California State University, Fullerton since 2001. He has also taught journalism at Cal State Long Beach and UCLA Extension.

Hodgins and his wife have lived in downtown Huntington Beach for 20 years. Some day he will learn how to surf.

Arts & Culture Managing Editor

Heide Janssen most recently worked for almost five years at the Orange County Register where she was recruited to develop and curate their Varsity Arts section. Varsity Arts was dedicated to weekly stories and news about high school arts programs and students, giving arts students the same recognition that student athletes long enjoyed. The Varsity Arts section was the first of its kind in the nation and has since inspired similar sections in other regional newspapers. She also developed and continues to produce the Artist of the Year program which honors the top theater, dance, instrumental and vocal music, 2D and 3D visual arts, and film/animation students in Orange County.

Prior to joining the Register, she worked in administrative and producing capacities at major regional theater companies including South Coast Repertory, Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Stage in Los Angeles, The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Court Theater in Chicago, and Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven. She has also produced smaller independent projects with Snehal Desai (artistic director at East West Players in Los Angeles) and Adam O’Byrne (producer with New Neighborhood, a multi-media production company) among others. In the world of education, she helped to establish the Orange County Cappies and created the RoleAbout Theatre Festival, programs for high school theater students which she ran for over 10 years. She also taught theater and English at Mission Viejo High School early in her career.

She has been honored by the California Educational Theatre Association for Outstanding Contributions to Educational Theatre for her work with Varsity Arts and The Orange County Register, and by the Orange County Department of Education for Outstanding Contributions to Education for her work with the Orange County Cappies.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota and a master of fine arts in theater management from the Yale School of Drama, Yale University.

Arts & Culture Contributing Writers:

Timothy Mangan served as The Orange County Register’s classical music critic from 1998-2016. He is a contributor to Opera News and the Los Angeles Times, and he has also written for The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Musical America and Gramophone, among other publications. In 1999 he won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his writing on classical music.

Eric Marchese has written more than 2,000 articles – reviews, features, news stories and profiles – for The Orange County Register’s Arts & Entertainment, Life and features sections and for many of the paper’s Advertising Special Sections projects. He has reviewed theater for the trade paper BackStage and has a broad-based background encompassing writing, editing, copy editing and proofreading for numerous Southern California-based trade magazines, newspapers and newsletters.

Richard Chang is an arts, entertainment, education and technology journalist and writer who teaches journalism and serves as faculty advisor to The Poly Post, the student newspaper at Cal Poly Pomona. He was The Orange County Register’s visual art critic and arts reporter for almost 15 years.

Kaitlin Wright covered the arts for The Orange County Register from 2013-2017, specializing in dance. She studied dance and literary journalism at the University of California, Irvine. Kaitlin teaches dance in Orange County and performs professionally.