Who is Don Cribb?


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Don Cribb. That name resonates in the City of Santa Ana. Some hate him, others swear by him. And most Santa Ana residents have no clue who this man is. Yet he has singlehandedly imprinted the city with his ego – even though by his own admission he does not live here anymore.

That’s right. Last year Cribb admitted during a city commission meeting that he lives in Century City. Technically he maintains a residence in Santa Ana, which is ironically located on my street, a few houses north of my abode.

My four year old calls Cribb’s place the “ghost house.” Because he is never there. The lights are always off. The lawn shows patches of dirt because it is barely tended to. And you can see furniture piled up when you pass by and glance through the front windows. There are usually two nice sport cars parked in the driveway. They might as well be statues because they rarely go anywhere.

Despite Cribb’s absence, he has had an impact on Santa Ana, for better or for worse. He is the one who convinced Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and the Santa Ana City Council to create an artists village in the downtown area of the city. Many years later, we still have only one real library, too few parks, messed up roads, too much graffiti and really high water rates. But yes, we do have an artists village, for what its worth.

Hoping to find out more about Cribb I Googled him and found an interesting article that was published by the O.C. Register. The article is about Cribb’s friend, the artist David Hockney. They are close enough friends that Hockney drew a portrait of Cribb, which appears above. It is a disturbing image. I see madness in his eyes. Then again, most of the creative people in history have been a bit off center, if not completely cuckoo for cocoa puffs…

The article also states that Cribb “splits his time these days between Santa Ana and Los Angeles.” Not really. He is in Santa Ana very rarely. I have seen him either arriving or leaving his house only three times in six years.

I found another article that states that Cribb started the Santa Ana Council of Arts and Culture, whatever that is. And another that said he donated four eucalyptus trees to the Howe-Waffle historic house.

You cannot find anything online about what exactly Cribb does for a living. Or what his educational background is. Or where he comes from. He is an enigma.

I did find a website that disclosed additional information about Cribb’s influence in Santa Ana:

In 1989, a long-time resident of the community, Don Cribb, approached the City’s government with a proposal to revitalize its downtown using the arts as a catalyst. He convinced the City’s leaders and its current Mayor that the arts could be used as an economic tool to rehabilitate downtown. Culture could push commerce forward and strengthen Santa Ana’s community. The city leaders believed in the artists’ ability to revitalize downtown and became the initiators of the Artists Village. Don Cribb headed The Cultural Arts Commission that was later renamed The Santa Ana Council of Arts and Culture.

The Council’s mission is “To enhance the quality of life and to promote the multi-ethnic diversity of Santa Ana by increasing the community’s awareness of Santa Ana’s cultural resources.” Since the development of the Artists Village, more than thirty galleries and art studios, twenty or more museums, theaters, ballet and educational nonprofit organizations and preservation centers have made downtown their home.

“Multi-ethnic diversity.” Ironic choice of words. The Artists Village is not about diversity, as far as I can tell. It is about the de-Mexicanization of downtown Santa Ana.

We have more than thirty galleries and art studios. Twenty or more museums. Blah, blah, blah. And only one library. And way too few parks. And messed up roads. It is obvious that in Santa Ana, Cribb’s vision prevailed, and the people of Santa Ana got screwed. There is no other way to put it.

But who is Don Cribb? Really? I still have no clue who he is or what makes him tick. Perhaps our readers can shed some light on this mystery man?


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"Admin" is just editor Vern Nelson or associate editor Greg Diamond sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.