Scoops OC has already impressed with ice cream flavors such as ginger lemongrass, brown bread, strawberry lychee and orange-carrot hempseed. But the small shop’s eclectic, playful vibe is amplified by the paintings, mixed media, murals and other works provided by local artists on the walls. According to owner Peter Ji, decorating the interior of the Santa Ana branch of the LA-based ice cream empire comes from his lifelong appreciation of art.
“At one point, I wanted to be a curator for a museum,” says Ji. “I even interned at LACMA, and my goal was to go to Williams College.”
But life went in another direction. So when he and wife Valerie opened Scoops OC, they decided to channel Peter’s art energies into the space’s then-empty walls. “We definitely try to find artwork that can be an icebreaker,” he says.
Since opening in July 2015, exhibiting artists such as Michael Ziobrowski, Mayte Escobar and Karen Conde have drawn a good amount of buzz from the community. “After a few months, people would ask us how to put their art in our store,” Ji says, noting that he specifically looks for Orange County artists. Every exhibition lasts three months, and the next artist’s style is vastly different from the last. Look for works from Garfield Kwan, Wendy Choi and Rob Wallace in the coming months.
Ji’s commitment to art also extends to the schoolyard set. Escobar, who teaches art at different elementary schools, approached Ji about curating some work by students from Heninger Elementary School in SanTana, which opens the minds of kiddie customers to other things. “When kids come in, they see it’s not just about ice cream,” Ji says. “Art helps them find different ways of creativity and encourages them to be free and draw what they want. It makes you go out there and try different stuff, instead of just being in your little bubble.”
Scoops OC, 605 E. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, (657) 210-0399; www.facebook.com/ScoopsOC.