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UC Riverside Helps Lead Art Revival in Downtown Riverside

Riverside Cultural Trust Appoints a President: Patricia O’Brien, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

(October 3, 2003)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Patricia O'Brien, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at UC Riverside, was recently appointed as president of the Riverside Cultural Trust, a non-profit organization promoting an arts-friendly environment downtown.

"I think the people I'm working with want Riverside to be a national center that attracts people from all over the country for programs and for the quality of life," said O'Brien, who moved to Riverside four years ago from Laguna Beach. "All the pieces are there right now. There's a lot of shared vision. I think the potential to achieve an arts community is really high."

The Riverside Cultural Trust was created as part of Mayor Ron Loveridge’s three-year plan to make Riverside the center of arts and culture in the Inland Empire by 2005. O’Brien said it is her mission to make sure there are tangible achievements for downtown arts within the next year, since there are so many community elements pushing in the same direction.

UC Riverside is planning the Culver Center, a new arts center housed in the old Rouse Building at Main and Ninth streets. The planned $10 million center, including gallery and artist workspace, will be one element in a broad array of art offerings O'Brien hopes will attract people from well beyond Riverside.

City leaders and community activists are advocating a new school for the arts, and the renovation of the Fox Theater. These would be added to such current fixtures as the UCR/California Museum of Photography, the Riverside Art Museum, and the Riverside Municipal Museum.

Arts institutions are already working together to put on events such as “First Sundays,” a family-friendly experience on the first Sunday of the month that involves hands-on art activities at all the downtown art museums, as well as the library.

Also, the UC Riverside Sweeney Art Galley has joined forces with the Riverside Art Museum downtown to host the exhibition "PAST MODERN The Singh Twins." This international show, which opened October 2 and continues through December 6, is the West Coast debut of the highly acclaimed British-Asian twin sisters, Amrit and Rabindra Singh, some of the freshest talent in the United Kingdom. In fact, the artists will be appearing at receptions Saturday, Oct. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Sweeney Art Gallery and from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Riverside Art Museum.

For those who still need more arts action, the UCR/California Museum of Photography opens three exhibitions from 4 to 6 p.m. the same Saturday.

"There's definitely a sense of Renaissance and upsurge," said Daniel Foster, newly hired director of the Riverside Art Museum. "I think there's a strong need for connection for artists." Foster most recently has worked at the San Diego Art Institute and Museum.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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