The Laguna Playhouse Youth Conservatory performs in "Treasure Island."

The Laguna Playhouse Youth Conservatory performs in "Treasure Island." (Courtesy Laguna Playhouse)

Whether your child wants to be a pirate, a princess or a pterodactyl, there's a place for them at this year's Imagination Celebration.

Now in its 26th year, the Imagination Celebration is dedicated to bringing the visual and performing arts to Orange County's children, through a seemingly endless variety of free or affordable exhibitions and performances.

Would-be swashbucklers are invited to the Laguna Playhouse's 90th anniversary family event, a Pirate Adventure, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The day includes storytelling, stage combat demonstrations, face painting, pirate hat making, a treasure hunt, lunch and a matinee performance of the playhouse Youth Theatre's "Treasure Island."

Tickets are $25 per person for the event or $18 to $20 for seats at the play's other performances, which will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, or 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

This year's Imagination Celebration offerings also include opportunities to paint with professional artists, enjoy an adaptation of a Jane Austen classic and goggle at synchronized swimmers.

The celebration is perhaps best known for the thousands of children's artworks put on view for the month at places like local libraries, South Coast Plaza and Main Place Mall in Santa Ana.

Organizers say the annual event has sparked the creativity of an entire generation of local children at a time when arts funding is at the mercy of severe budget cuts, both in and out of schools.

The 2011 theme is "Let Your Imagination Soar." Participating venues include libraries, arts organizations, cities and educational institutions.

Read on for this year's events.



Night of the Arts

Northwood High School Visual and Performing Arts

4515 Portola Parkway, Irvine

When: 5 to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Information: (949) 887-7793


Synch to the Beat!

Meraquas of Irvine synchronized swimmers