The Crowd: Newport Beach’s Decorative Arts Society raises $275,000 for local nonprofits

Decorative Arts Society (DARTS) board members Adrienne Garrison, Shelby Rigg, Marlene Hamontree, Elana Donovan, Carolyn Garrett, Barbara Glabman, Hyla Bertea, Carole Steele, Ann Dennis, Diana Tomei, Mary Anna Jeppe, Kim Donahue, Diane Cannon, Cathi Bledsoe and Maureen Madigan with recent speaker Tim Corrigan.
(Courtesy of DARTS)

As we are all confined to our homes – and blessed for having a home to be confined in – a new and interesting spotlight shines on the different ways people live in their spaces.

If you, like most, are news junkies, you know that many of our familiar anchors, reporters, and hosts – including the late night and daytime kings and queens of television – are reaching us from corners of their own residences.

Guess what is resulting? Viewers are going wild on social media, gabbing about the backgrounds of the living spaces they see on TV.

“CBS This Morning” host Gayle King broadcasts from her New York apartment’s family room in front of a wall of framed photos. “Inside Edition’s” Deborah Norville is in her traditional all-white kitchen. The NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell came to us live on NFL draft night from his “mancave” basement, complete with bar and big screen TV.

Fascination with people’s home lives is not new.

In the 1980s, I produced “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” with the late Robin Leach. In the 1950s, the iconic newsman Edward R. Murrow went into the living rooms of subjects to do his interviews.

Fast forward to 2020, and in a rapidly changing world, home is a rock in an otherwise chaotic world. How we live, where we live, our tastes, style, imagination, and creative expression represent part of who we are.

So, with lots of time at home, whether it is a trailer or a mansion, people are cleaning closets, moving around furniture, removing clutter, and doing all sorts of projects.


COVID-19 or not, the decorative arts have a very strong place in the American, if not worldwide psyche.

In Newport Beach, a unique organization celebrates this art form: the Decorative Arts Society (DARTS).

The devoted members, many associated with DARTS for decades, come together to share a passion for design, architecture and landscape – from pottery to silver, weaving, sculpture and more.

In many aspects, membership to DARTS is akin to an educational pursuit, as its lectures, featuring noted professionals in the various disciplines, deliver information beyond what can be gleaned from the everyday.

Equally important is the charitable component of the society. Funds raised annually are granted to local nonprofits primarily assisting women as well as families with children in need.

Since its founding in 1995, DARTS has awarded some $3 million to a wide cross-section of O.C. nonprofits.

In April, DARTS provided grants to 15 agencies, and they increased the grants in a number of cases to further assist with the devastation created by COVID-19. A total of $275,000 was awarded.

“We felt strongly that the climate in our county as a result of the COVID-19 virus will severely affect the welfare of many of our O.C. women, families and children,” said Adrienne Garrison, president of DARTS. “Within days of our grants committee review process, we saw a very quick shift in the need here in Orange County. Many in our community are in an employment, basic needs and shelter crisis. We were pleased that we were able to react quickly and efficiently, supporting more agencies including many directly hit by COVID-19.”

In 2020, the recipients were: Boys Hope Girls Hope, Breast Cancer Solutions, Casa Teresa, Casa Youth Shelter, Families Forward, Fristers, Intervention Center Early Childhood (ICEC), Mariposa Women and Family Center, Project Scientist, Serving People in Need (SPIN), South County Outreach, Taller San Jose Hope Builders, the Blind Children’s Learning Center, Thomas House Family Shelter and Women’s Transitional Living Center (WTLC).

Jean Wegener, SPIN executive director commented: SPIN is very grateful to be one of the recipients of a grant from Decorative Arts Society. This grant is desperately needed at this time, as our requests for help with housing and other basic needs for families in crisis have increased 180% during the last three weeks.”

Generous contributors to the DARTS funding include president Adrienne Garrison, Elana Donovan, Barbara Glabman, Carole Steele, Cathi Bledsoe, Sandra Ayres, Hyla Bertea, Maureen Madigan and Loraine Eggleston, to name only a few.

To learn more about the Decorative Arts Society go to

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