Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time. 

Fitz’s QUEST 2016: So begins my fourth year painting “live” in each of the 59 American National Parks 


There is no place like home for the holidays. Just a few weeks ago the Solo Show of my newest National Park Paintings opened at the Design Studio International Gallery in the Laguna Design Center, and when I asked the audience how many were reading my Stories From The Woods I was thrilled when almost every hand went up! It makes it all worth it, to know that so many of you readers are getting a kick out of my wildlife discoveries and vicariously living through my adventures in our National Parks.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, and now to answer some of your frequent questions:

Yes, I am loving the freedom I feel when immersed in monumental beauty, untouched by man, as mighty as only God can create! Yes, I am loving all of the daily inspiration I am absorbing while surrounded by fresh greens and vibrant fragrances permeating from the lush vegetation. Abundant life is continuously growing and changing while peace fills my ears and penetrates my heart. 

No, it is not easy to live with few comforts and be vulnerable to the elements. You must discipline yourself to own and travel with less, including the limitation on water usage. I do not miss shopping or things. The longer I live in nature the more I let go of things. Truly, there is freedom in not being ruled by the constant wanting of more things.

The land of man bombards you with distractions from morning till night. In fact, as you become more deeply connected with nature and your daily life is more involved with the colors of the seasons you simply let go of wanting more man-land things. The most beautiful real things are already all around you! 

Your spirit slowly opens up and feels full of what is pure beauty and truth. You feel good – you feel the peace of being a part of the perfect oneness of all creation. 

You can be one with nature starting now. Start by listening to the birds that live right around you. Start seeking beauty with your eyes and focus on it rather than 

man-land’s concrete, billboards, and commercials.

I feel happier, healthier, calmer and more in tune with the rhythms and rhymes of nature. Nature is nurturing my spirit. I feel its potent healing influence, and the stress from man-land is rinsed away.  My greatest comfort is the growing peace that is deeply rooting in my soul. The more I live as my higher self – my spirit – the better the quality my daily life has become.  I focus on using my God-given gifts of painting and writing. I am inspired to create because I feel the oneness with all of creation and its pulsating passion for life.

Fitz Maurice on the quest for the Ultimate Scene 

Next question: How do I start out on my QUEST once I have landed in a new National Park?

Before ever reaching the park I will have read as much as I can from a variety of sources so that I have a broad overall vision of that particular park.

It is wonderful to take advantage of the brilliant Ken Burns documentary series, The National Parks.

Upon arrival at the National Park, the first place I head for is the Visitors Center. I’ve learned that it is wise to be aware of all of the highlights of the park, and then decide what you want most to experience in the time frame you have. Prioritize and then go for it when the weather is right.

 A secret I will share with you: give up your planned list. Go with nature – that’s the secret! For example, if it is sunny the first day you get there, do not kid yourself – just get out in it, with your camera. Often the first day is your best bet. Also, if the day is sunny and hot, seek the shady hike along the river. If the day is very cold, hike in the warmest part of the day, and be back before sunset. 

These are examples of what I mean when I share with you how I have learned some things the hard way. It is best to flow with nature; guaranteed, she will not conform to your plans!

After carefully researching a new park, I review weather reports and factor in time limitations. If up in the mountains, it can get dark by 5 p.m. You’d better be back before sundown or it may get so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. And it gets colder every 10 minutes after the sun sets.

When I wake up, I feel the day out, checking the weather again for the whole day. Then I decide what direction to take.

Dressing for the entire day of changing weather very often requires layering. Layers of underclothes, shirts, sweatshirts enable you to start in the cool morning air, hike through the full-sun middle of the day, and return in cooling afternoon shadows.

Water is important. Must pack enough water – always! 

I pack a whole picnic and some favorite snacks to make it enjoyable through all the different moods of the day, and I often pack a special treat for those miraculous sunset moments. I wear the appropriate hat for that day, considering wind possibilities.  I also pack a Red Cross pocketknife, handkerchief, sunblock, chapstick and a whistle.

Setting out on a fresh trail to a new place I have never been before is thrilling to me! Walking out, I am already breathing hard with excitement, my eyes darting everywhere, taking in the particular light of the park – its smells, its mysterious character unfolding step by step. All along the way, I am writing little notes and drawing quick sketches as reminders of the different intriguing scenes. Plus I’m quick with the finger on the trigger of my camera. I’ve learned to be always ready to capture that second when a wild animal makes its sudden appearance.

I will hike, ride a horse, kayak, ride up in a gondola… whatever it takes to get to that Ultimate Scene that beckons my spirit to paint. Planning ahead, I will spend as many days as the park merits on the search, all the while learning about the birds and wildlife that are indigenous. 

I am here to learn and grow. This quest has made my life as lovely as being a child again!  I am fascinated to witness the geology and formation of the landscape – volcanoes to caves. There is so much to explore by day, not to mention the magical world of the starlit night sky.

Usually what happens is the Ultimate Scene finds me. I’ll be moving along and it will suddenly hit me as I turn the corner or reach the summit: There it is, all laid out before me. Then I embrace the scene by returning to it at different times of the day, studying its nuances, and realizing its personal light.

Finally, I pack up my portable easel and tubes of oil paint, and carry them off to the Ultimate Scene, day after day until the painting takes on the iconic profile and essence that is unique to that National Park.

Once I brought a friend with me when I was on the QUEST and actively searching for the Ultimate Scene. After miles and miles of hiking he said, “I would like to eat now – are we there?” “No,” I replied. “I’m not feeling it yet.” Further and further we went, and then suddenly the view opened up on the pristine ocean cove that inspired me to paint  “Utopia, Santa Cruz, Channel Islands National Park, Ca.”

Yes, I am more excited than ever to be saddling up for the QUEST - 2016!

I am heading out to Sequoia National Park to catch some snow. Then I’ll head down to Joshua Tree National Park for some fun in the desert sun. 

What National Parks are you going to this year?

FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every National Park in America. Now totally committed to help promote and protect our American legacy, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, and finally setting up with portable easel and oil paints, FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each National Park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.2016 marks her fourth year on the quest. 

To see her National Park Paintings: www.nationalparkpaintings.com

Council supports Whalen’s million-dollar matching grant idea for LAM and Playhouse over four years

During the mid-year budget review at last Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmember Bob Whalen introduced an agenda bill asking the city to set aside $1,000,000 each for The Laguna Playhouse and Laguna Art Museum – $500,000 total for each of the next four calendar years – as grants for matching funds.

As an introduction to the agenda bill, Whalen wrote: 

For nearly 100 years, the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Playhouse have been at the center of the cultural life of the City.  The Laguna Art Museum emerged from the desires of fine artists and the Laguna Playhouse from the desires of actors, in each case to work together to create a center for their respective art form, to encourage participation by others, to share their creativity with the community and visitors, and to establish Laguna Beach has an “art” colony.  

While starting as fledgling organizations, as Laguna Beach grew over the past nine decades, so did the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Playhouse.  Each organization has survived the formidable challenges that nonprofit arts organizations face, including recessions, depression, wars, changing tastes and preferences, competition and limited public and private funding.  Yet each remains today an outstanding contributor to the City’s cultural life and its economic vitality, with a potential for even greater accomplishments ahead.


With the upcoming one hundred year anniversary of the Laguna Art Museum in 2018 and the Laguna Playhouse in 2020, provide matching grants from the City (1) to promote the sustainability of each organization and its continued contribution to the cultural life and economic vitality of the City, and (2) to elevate the artistic and creative excellence of each organization.

Councilmember Whalen remarked afterward, “I was very pleased that there was support for my proposal to do two matching grants of $1 million each for the Museum and the Playhouse in celebration of their upcoming 100 year anniversaries. I believe that these gifts will help sustain two of our core cultural institutions and also help promote economic development in the City by attracting visitors to our restaurants, hotels and local businesses.  

“My purpose in styling them as matching grants was to inspire greater private giving to our arts institutions.”

Each institution will submit an annual report/request for the matching funds to offset expenditures that, “…target primarily towards facility improvements or other tangible uses (for example upgrading registration systems, improving websites, developing mobile applications, improving visual displays, acquiring art, reducing long-term debt).  Uses may include programming and personnel expenditures so long as the expenditures contribute to the achievement of these two goals. Up to 10% of each City grant and matching funds may be used for overhead related to the execution of the targeted expenditures.” 

LAM Art Auction 2016: California Cool – February 6 

Submitted photos

Laguna Art Museum Art Auction 2016 showcases museum-curated works of art from over 100 premier California artists, which will be sold during a fast-paced live auction as well as a silent auction. The featured artists and their galleries have generously donated these works of art, and proceeds from the sale of the works will benefit Laguna Art Museum, a non-profit organization.

Art Auction 2016: California Cool: will begin with Auction Preview Week from Saturday, Jan 30 through Friday, Feb 5 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Tickets for Saturday night’s auction are $125-$150 each. Purchase tickets here or call (949) 494-8971 x203.

A portrait for the successful bidder to be painted at the artist’s studio of Don Bachardy in Santa Monica. Value: $7500 Starting bid: $3750

With works by over 100 important California artists, the museum-curated Art Auction 2016 will include great art at great prices, delicious cuisine, and creative cocktails. The evening includes a silent auction as well as an exciting live auction that attracts competitive bidding by art collectors, both seasoned and new. Selected by the museum’s curatorial staff, the works include many by well-known names–thanks to the museum’s long-standing relationships with California artists and their generosity in supporting the institution.

Proceeds from the art auction ensure that Laguna Art Museum continues its dedication to collecting and preserving California art, providing high-caliber exhibitions and enhancing art education for all.

Laguna Dance Festival’s Contemporary Master Class Series opens with Montreal-based Victor Quijada 

Intermediate and advanced dance students are invited to participate in a master class taught by celebrated dancer and choreographer Victor Quijada. The class will be held on Saturday, Jan 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the dance studio at Laguna Beach High School, 625 Park Avenue. The class and Q&A session are open to dancers ages 12 and older. Cost is $25 to participate; observers may sit in for $15. Register in advance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949-715-5578. 

Photo by Michael Slobodian

Victor Quijada

Quijada’s work is an imaginative fusion of classical choreographic principles and hip-hop ideology. He is a native of Los Angeles whose unique journey took him from dancing on the streets as a B-boy hip hop dance artist who was invited to work with Twyla Tharp in New York, and from there he joined a classical ballet company in Montreal. There, he founded his RUBBERBANDance Group in 2002, and has since choreographed more than 24 short and full-length pieces and toured with his company across North America, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. 

Quijada’s artistry is not limited to the concert stage. He has acted as director and dramaturge, with more than one dozen film credits to his name. Some of his many accolades include the Bonnie Bird North American Award and the Peter Darrell Choreography Award in 2003, the OQAJ/RIDEAU Prize in 2009, and a Princess Grace Awards Choreographic Fellowship in 2010. Quijada has been commissioned to create works for companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Met, Le Jeune Ballet du Québec, Transitions Dance Company, and twice each for Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Scottish Dance Theatre. Quijada is an artist in residence at the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California.

Quijada’s class is the first in a newly announced series of three master classes that include Patrick Corbin on Feb. 27 and Thomas McManus on March 26. Corbin is a contemporary artist who will teach the repertory of Paul Taylor. McManus will explore William Forsythe’s improvisation techniques and repertory. 

Laguna Dance Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates, who is also director of and vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, noted, “We are launching our Contemporary Master Class Series, which reflects the expansion of the Laguna Dance Festival’s programming and represents our commitment to relevant arts education in schools and the community. Laguna Dance Festival is known for its contemporary thinking and for giving students and patrons direct access to internationally known choreographers, teachers and dancers. We look forward to increasing our community engagement this coming year.”

Laguna Dance Festival, now in its twelfth year, is regarded as one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. Its mission is to support and promote the development of dance creation, presentation and education, and to increase public appreciation of the art form in Orange County and beyond. 

The 2016 festival is set for Sept 21-25; the world-class dance companies that will take the stage at Laguna Playhouse will be announced soon. www.lagunadancefestival.org 

KX93.5 announces a couple of new things… tune in!

Laguna’s radio station, KX93.5, has a couple of change-ups in the works. Adding to their creative staff will be Steph Weaver-Weinberg, named as Music Director, and Steven “SLi Dawg” Chew to serve as KX 93.5’s new surf and weather reporter on the station’s weekday morning show, “Daily Scramble Live.”

Weaver-Weinberg, formerly a music and promotions assistant, said she is committed to preserving KX 93.5’s reputation as a beacon for independent, local, and unknown artists, aiming to help listeners discover new music and take chances on new records before commercial radio stations do.

“I so look forward to abusing this newfound power,” she joked. “My first decree shall be to change KXRN’s format to ‘All Nickelback, All the Time.’ 

“But really, as a lifelong music lover, this truly is a dream job!” she affirmed. “I couldn’t be happier or more excited to be part of the amazing team that makes KX go round. Many thanks to founder/PD Tyler Russell for training and entrusting me with the sound of our station.”

Submitted photo

Steph Weaver-Weinberg

The station’s “Generational Alt Rock” format also allows for creative exploration of classic alternative music, to which Weaver-Weinberg says she is looking forward.

The new MD may be reached during her call hours on Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. at 949-715-4859. Music submissions are accepted digitally to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Steven “SLi Dawg” Chew, who will do the report by phone a few days a week between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., said, “I’m stoked to be turning you on to some weather, waves, and wonder from the Super Sonic Surf Shacky! Pray to the Surf Gods!”

Chew, a Laguna native, will deliver the day’s surf height, wind conditions, tides, weather, and other pertinent information.

Daily Scramble Live can be heard 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on 93.5 FM within the boundaries of Laguna Beach, on www.KX935.com on any device, or on the iPhone or Android apps. (The morning surf reports are sponsored by XS Energy drink).

LOCA Art Club kicks off a season of events Jan 21 with Elizabeth McGhee at the Delgado Gallery

LOCA Arts Education invites artists, patrons, and observers to its Art Club events, offered monthly in Laguna Beach. The fun and interactive gatherings take place at local galleries, artist studios, and community centers. 

“Everyone can participate,” said founder Betty Haight, “it’s for artists and non-artists alike”.

The 2016 season kicks-off with Elizabeth McGhee, on Thursday January 21st, from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Delgado Gallery. McGhee, a multi-award winning oil painter, LCAD graduate, and Festival of Arts exhibitor, will share stories about the Greek myths behind her portrait series, and the swap-meet finds, including vintage toys and postcards, that inspire her still lifes.

Photo by Mike Tauber


Artist Elizabeth McGhee

On February 18th, acclaimed wood sculptor, Larry Marley will reveal the unusual paths he took to get to his present career, and on March 24th, Brad Elsberry and Mariana Nelson will lead Fashionista, a hands-on costume workshop. All attendees will be invited to help create two fabulous dresses from discarded and recycled materials. The finished ensembles will be presented on April 24th at LOCA’s “One Thin Dime,” a circus-themed fundraising party, at the studio of Sandra Jones Campbell. 

The season will close on May 19th as Bernie Jones leads an educational critique of works brought in by local artists.

LOCA members are admitted free to all regular art club events. Guests and visitor admission is $20 per event.  Admission to the special One Thin Dime fundraiser is $40. Advance registration is requested.

Call  (949) 363-4700, visit: www.LOCAarts.org or register now at: http://www.locaarts.org/events/category/art-club/

City of LB Cultural Arts Funding Applications available

The Arts Commission is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with functioning cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. 

The deadline to submit the application is February 1, 2016.

For additional information contact Siân Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager at (949) 497-0722 extension 4. 

Applications must be submitted online at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Linda deBecker Shoemaker will offer intermediate to advanced ballet classes beginning January 12

Linda deBecker Shoemaker is an American born Classical Ballet dancer. Her studies, performances and 50-year teaching career have taken her all over the U.S. and Europe. Now back home in Laguna, Linda will begin a program of classes on Tuesdays at Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach beginning January 12 through June, from 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

The Tuesday classes at the Woman’s Club highlight Linda’s love of classical ballet. After receiving scholarship training, Linda feels that teaching is her way to give back. “When things like this are given to you, you just have to give back,” she says. 

Submitted photos

Linda deBecker Shoemaker

Linda began her training at age nine in Laguna Beach, with classes in the Legion Hall from Theodore Bekefi and his partner Ethel Mevay. The technique she was taught was from the Imperial School in Russia. She moved to Los Angles to continue her studies. Her teachers included such greats as David Lichine, Leon Varkas, Tatina Riabouchinska, Irina Kosmovska and Misha Panalieff. She was offered full scholarships at Eugene Loring’s American school of dance as well as the Juilliard School of music and dance. Her career took her to New York, where she continued her studies with Danilova, Leon Danielian, Dukodofsky, Nemchiniva and Swaboda, and to Europe to study with Bejart in Belgium, Madame Nora in Paris, Gustav Blanc in Germany, Fredric Stebler in Switzerland and Hector Zaraspi in Spain.

At a young age she danced with the Los Angeles Ballet Company and the Southern California Ballet Company. She had the pleasure of working with many exceptional choreographers including David Lichine. Linda danced the Pas De Deux in Lichine’s own creation “Graduation Ball.” She also danced with the Los Angeles Opera Company, in musical comedies such as “Plain and Fancy” and “Oklahoma,” both of which she was the lead dancer.

Being very petite, Linda deBecker was exceptionally talented in Adagio work for which she became well known in Europe and the United States. She and her partner toured Europe for five years, performing in famous Casinos and Theatres in Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland, England, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and Spain. She also did film and television performances throughout those countries. She was known as the American Classical Adagio Star.

Linda began teaching while in Europe, where she gave master classes in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, and Florence, Italy. Returning to the U.S., she taught at Eugene Loring’s School of American Dance, the Nico Charisse School and many others. She began full time teaching in Las Vegas where her students became known for the quality of their excellent technique, and many received scholarships to such schools as the Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet Company and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company.

In 1995, Linda was asked to be the director of the Nevada Ballet School. She organized their first Summer Workshop, with such teachers as Cynthia Gregory, Jacques D’Ambroise and Stanley Holden. Four years later, she began her own professional company as a summer performance company. This gave the dancers at Nevada Ballet an opportunity to perform while they were out of contract. Her school “Tomorrow Studios” became known as an outstanding school with a faculty of the finest of teachers.

Linda and her husband moved back to Laguna Beach six years ago. “I just said, ‘I want to go home!’” She is excited to meet the talented dancers in Laguna as she says, “Teaching is the most rewarding experience of my career in dance.”

Linda deBecker Shoemaker’s classes begin January 12, and continue on Tuesdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Woman’s Club. Classes are for intermediate to advanced ballet students. Drop-in classes are fine, but monthly sessions are preferred. Cost is $20 per class. For information call (702) 325-0698

Painting with Passion is a course for artists who love the challenge of a blank canvas, beginning January 7

Painting with Passion is designed to help intermediate to advanced artists take their work to the “next level” as defined by an initial personal inventory. 

Artists of all levels are invited to a class that will explore the challenges and joys of painting.  Activities will include creative “warm ups,” basic theory in terms of composition/color, etc., with reference to both traditional and current masters and an approach that encourages experimentation.  All mediums are welcome. 

A sense of fun, adventure, risk and exploration will enhance sessions that include demonstrations of techniques as well as significant time to work on personal projects.  All non-toxic mediums are welcome.  Sessions may include a critique of work by old masters and newer masters of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The course will include opportunities to work with pen/ink, and mixed media. Guest artists may be available to enhance the course.  An outline of the course and suggested materials list will be available to all participants.

The series is nine sessions: on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Nine sessions; no drop-ins; limited to 15 students

Dates:  January 7 – March 10, 2016  (skips Feb. 18th) 

Located at the Laguna Beach Community Center, 380 Third St. in the Art Room

Materials:  Artists bring their own materials. A limited number of easels are available.

All mediums are welcome (gamsol or non toxic solvent if using traditional oils)

Instructor:  Carole Zavala- (949-683-0433) with questions or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Register online with www.Laguna BeachCity.org

Submitted photo

Click on photo for a larger image


“A Woman in Gold” by Carole Zavala, acrylic with gold leaf

Carole Zavala has been painting for more than 10 years.  She launched and ran the Susi Q’s initial art shows, now known as the Gallery Q, and has been instrumental in creating a space for master senior artists to exhibit their work.  Her Friday afternoon Art Salon has been available for more than eight years as a space for artists to gather for furthering their skills, sharing ideas, and critiquing their work.  Her artwork is in private collections throughout the US, Canada and China. Check out her website/blog at www.czartsandfilm.com and “Musings from (a)Broad.”

LCAD Gallery will open The Splendor of Italy Jan 13 – Feb 20 

Exhibition recollects experience of LCAD Summer Aboard program in Italy

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announced The Splendor of Italy, an exhibition of work opening Jan 13 through Feb 20, 2016 at LCAD Gallery, 374 Ocean Avenue. The public is welcome to meet the artists at a reception on First Thursday Artwalk, Feb 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

The Duomo, Florence

Brad Neal

Color Wash – 15 x 20

The works of art will allow viewers to experience the highlights of the group’s visits to many significant and memorable museums, churches and historical sites such the Pantheon, Colosseum of Rome, Roman Forum, Sistine Chapel, Villa Borghese, Brancacci Chapel, Medici Chapels in San Lorenzo Church, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Uffizi Palace, Doge’s Palace, Accademia Gallery and more. 

 “One of my greatest joys as an educator is to give artists their grand tour of Europe and bring them face to face with historically significant art and culture that continues to influence us today,” said Betty Shelton, Professor of Fine Arts and Post Baccalaureate Chair and Study Abroad Director. 

“For more than 20 years, I’ve been privileged to escort over 400 LCAD students to Europe, and I continue to be enlightened both as an artist and as a teacher.”

Exhibiting artists include: Micaela Aguirre, Elizabeth Alvarez, David Amaral, Nicole Bakale, Amy Bergener, Caitlin Blenz, Taylor Caro, Venetia Ellis, Omar Field-Rahman, Lauren Ghiasian, Meaghan Greaves, William Havlicek, Sara Humel, Don Lagerberg, Sam Mazzarella, Maureen McGinnis, Hiroko Miyama, Hyatt Moore, Anne Moore, Machiko Naganuma, Grant Nasto, Brad Neal, Kassidy Penso, Kellen Pocock, Betty Shelton, Scott Talevich, Nina Ulett, and Lora Wanta.

33 participants, including students and faculty from LCAD, traveled to Rome and Florence from May 28 to June 12, 2015 with Shelton and Art History Professor Dr. William Havlicek. A smaller group continued on to Ravenna and Venice until June 18. 

Professor Shelton started the Laguna College of Art and Design Summer Abroad program in 1995 and has been leading students on art study trips to Europe ever since.  Past trips have included France, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Czech Republic, England and Ireland, Germany, and Spain. In the summer of 2016, LCAD Study Abroad will return to France from May 28th through June 16th.

For more information please visit: www.lcad.edu.

City joins Americans for the Arts’ National Study of the economic impact of spending by nonprofit arts organizations

Siân Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager, announced that the City of Laguna Beach has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity® 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education.

It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments. This will be the third time the City of Laguna Beach has participated in the program. Arts & Economic Prosperity 4 concluded that non-profit arts and culture was a $49.1 million industry, supporting 1,351 full-time equivalent jobs. The report also noted that visitors to our city spent $50.36 per person at arts events (not including admission).

As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the City of Laguna Beach will collect detailed financial data about our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations. The City will also collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.

“Our Arts & Economic Prosperity series demonstrates that the arts are an economic and employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Leaders who care about community and economic vitality can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business.”

Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study is supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts. In addition, Americans for the Arts’ local and statewide study partners are contributing both time and a cost-sharing fee support to the study. This project is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach native Skylar Campbell has been named First Soloist with The National Ballet of Canada

Laguna Beach native, Skylar Campbell trained with Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky in Orange County, and went on to join The National Ballet of Canada.  He has recently achieved the starring soloist position. 

Skylar Campbell

Photos by National Ballet of Canada

Campbell joined The National Ballet of Canada as a RBC Apprentice in 2009 and was promoted to First Soloist in 2015.

He debuted as Florizel in The Winter’s Tale, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet by Alexei Ratmansky, and the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Additionally he danced in the world premiere of Being and Nothingness by Guillaume Côté.

“The most outstanding performance was by Skylar Campbell – a California native – this Mercutio was the star of the night.”  BachTrack.com

Campbell’s repertoire also includes the title role in the Nijinsky, Alain in La Fille mal gardée, Peter/The Nutcracker in The Nutcracker and Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty as well as roles in Swan LakeGiselleA Month in the Country, Cinderella, ManonOneginDon QuixoteHamlet, The Seagull, Theme and VariationsThe Four Seasons, Emergence, Chroma, Symphony # 9 and the second detail.

Performing as Nijinsky, the Toronto Star had this to say about Campbell:
“Skylar Campbell, plucked from the corps and a decade younger, offers a different dramatic perspective. His is a Nijinsky of childlike innocence, conveyed in dancing of unaffected, almost angelic purity. He simply breaks your heart.”

During his training, Campbell was one of the top ten male finalists at the Prix de Lausanne and the Bronze Medal winner for Pas de Deux at the Youth America Grand Prix.

JoAnne Artman Gallery, in the Main Gallery: “Spirit in the Sky” - the fine art photographer Jana Cruder opens Dec 28 

Spirit in the Sky

Never been a sinner I never sinned

I got a friend in Jesus

So you know that when I die

He’s gonna set me up with 

The spirit in the sky

Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky

Norman Greenbaum, lyrics

Spirit in the Sky, 1969

The life-changing event of leaving Ken in the previous series drove Barbie to seek understanding of her role and relationship to spirit. She questions the very core of her beliefs and steps out of her strict Christian upbringing to search for herself. She examines first, the religious constructs of the standard Christian American upbringing, moving to creation vs. evolution. Discovering how societal roles and relationships play out, she sees how they’ve shaped her filter of understanding of self-image and she begins seeking a higher consciousness. 

Click on photo for a larger image


The 1960s and Barbie’s psychedelic experimentation

This series is set in mid 1960s America: an era of youth cultural uprising, war, media and musical influences that urged the challenging of old ideas and the embracing of new ones. Ideologies of new, religious yogic and breath-work movements, a spiritual awakening and freedom from conformity emerged.  

Not unlike today, this was a time of seeking, freedom, pushing for peace and love beyond that era’s comprehension.  Barbie also seeks higher consciousness with psychedelic experimentation allowing her to transcend the external world and discover the true nature of divine existence. 

“As we follow Barbie’s path of exploration we are reminded of where she is at in her journey by the color in the image reflecting that of the chakra’s: starting in red, the root chakra, and ending at violet, the white enlightenment,” said JoAnne Artman. 

“Please join us as we celebrate Jana Cruder’s Spirit in the Sky!”

Jana Cruder’s work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression. 

JoAnne Artman Gallery is located at 326 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 92651. For more information, contact JoAnne Artman at 949-510-5481 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Visit www.joanneartmangallery.com 

A British Invasion tribute featuring the pop music legend Peter Asher with the Laguna Concert Band

We first came to know Peter Asher through the global No. 1 smash hit, “A World Without Love” as one half of the British Invasion duo Peter & Gordon. With the backing of the Laguna Concert Band, the two-time Grammy-winner for Producer of the Year brings his multimedia experience to the Laguna Playhouse.

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Peter Asher and his personal band

Peter Asher moved effortlessly from his role with Peter & Gordon to Music Executive with the Beatles’ Apple Records, then famously—as in cover-of-Rolling-Stone-magazine-level-famous—to Producer and Manager, handling the careers of James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and a host of others. Books abound, documentaries with half-truths (and worse) are too common, but now, finally, Mr. Asher tells first-hand his tales from the eye of the cultural hurricane in this intimate evening.

“He has turned down all offers to write his memoirs. He’d rather sing them.”-New York Daily News

The evening will be filled with the music of Peter & Gordon, including “I Go to Pieces,” “True Love Ways,” and “Lady Godiva.” The songs given to Peter & Gordon by Paul McCartney are also front and center: “Woman,” “I Don’t Want to See You Again,” “Nobody I Know,” and “A World Without Love,” all of which were US Top 40 hits. Peter – backed by the 70 piece Laguna Concert Band and his own four piece band-presents these timeless classics along with other old favorites from that golden era. 

The “Memoir” portion of the program includes film footage and photos from Peter’s considerable personal archive, brought to life with a storyteller’s gift, transporting audiences back to the heart of 60s popular culture. Icons such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithful, Yoko Ono, Carole King, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt are among the cast of characters in this narrative – along (of course) with the greatly missed Gordon Waller.

“The exuberant Mr. Asher knew anyone who rocked and everyone who mattered.” (Wall Street Journal)

There will be two shows, on February 6 and 7. Saturday’s show will be at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s will be at 2 p.m. Full price tickets are $50 and VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet with the artists and a Deluxe CD, are $100.

Art-A-Fair: Call For Artists 2016 show, by Feb 21

Art-A-Fair announces the call for artists to be juried for the “Art-A-Fair” summer art festival, held June 24 – August 28, 2016 in Laguna Beach. There are no residency restrictions on exhibitors; the show is open to all fine artists and master craftsmen. 

Jury Day: February 21, 2016. The deadline for mail-in submissions: February 6th. Artists may jury with more than one medium. Jury fee is $40 per medium. Three original works of art are required for each medium.

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Entry Deadline: February 21
Eligibility: Art-A-Fair, one of the three premier art shows held each summer in Laguna Beach, is the only show that places no residency restrictions on exhibitors. Open to all fine artists and master craftsmen.
Medium: All media may be submitted to be juried, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture, mixed media, fiber, digital art, charcoal, pencil, ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, and wood.
Prospectus / Website for More Info: http://art-a-fair.com/call-for-artists-2/ or call 949-494-4514.

LOCA announces launch of new name and website

LOCA (Laguna Outreach for Community Arts) announced last week the launch of its new identity with its new name, LOCA Arts Education, and a new website, www.locaarts.org

LOCA Arts Education is a recap of LOCA’s original mission, which is to provide art education, enhance artistic awareness and promote creative expression by pairing professional artists with students of all ages.

For over 25 years, LOCA has offered art educational opportunities to students in the Laguna Beach schools, preschoolers and kindergartners at the Boys and Girls club, residents of the youth shelter and Glennwood House, and the community at large by providing a wide variety of classes and workshops.

“The new website not only reflects what LOCA is and does, but also provides easy access to the terrific array of classes and workshops that LOCA offers” says Carla Meberg, the newly elected president of LOCA. 

“We are so excited about the opportunity to better serve the community we love.”

For more information, visit www.locaarts.org, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 949 363-4700.

FOA’s “Selections from the Collection” exhibit on display now at City Hall through January 19

The Festival of Arts is pleased to announce a new exhibit at Laguna Beach City Hall entitled “Selections from the Collection,” now through January 19, 2016. Comprised of pieces from the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection, the display features early Laguna Beach paintings from the 1920s as well recent acquisitions by the Festival of Arts.

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“Cold Front” by Scott Albert

“Selections from the Collection” showcases both classical and contemporary paintings and photographs. Artworks include “Cold Front” by Scott Albert, “Salomon’s Shanty” by George Brandriff, “A Street in Laguna” by Clarence Hinkle, “Mood of the Canyon” by William Darling, and “The Gates - NYC” by Tom Lamb.

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“Mood of the Canyon” by William Darling

“Artworks are windows into history,” said exhibit curator Pat Sparkuhl. “They have the potential to give the viewer an intimate understanding of cultural activities relative to a particular time-period. It’s with this in mind that we continue the process of organizing and conserving of the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection.”

The Festival’s collection, made up of over 1,150 pieces, is composed of an eclectic mix of two-dimensional and three-dimensional work that date back to the early 1900s. The Festival of Arts Permanent Collection, expanded annually through purchases and donations, includes painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, glass, photography, mixed media, furniture and jewelry that reflect the uniqueness and diversity that is synonymous with the Festival of Arts and the region surrounding it.

The exhibit is held at Laguna Beach City Hall at 505 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach, California 92651. The exhibit is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm through January 19 (excluding December 25 and January 1). The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization whose proceeds go to support the arts in and about Laguna Beach. For more information, call (949) 494-1145 or go online to www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.

The force awakens for Laguna Beach artist Cliff Wassman: special preview December 12 at his studio

Artist Cliff Wassmann will preview two new original oils as part of Acme Archives Star Wars Fine Art series on Saturday, December 12th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at his studio, 419 Ocean Ave. 

Acme Archives Artwork is officially licensed through Lucasfilm Ltd.

Wassmann’s first Star Wars piece, Approaching Storm, depicts a fleet of Imperial Walkers on the ice planet Hoth. It was produced as a limited edition canvas print and has sold out. Wassmann began working on the new paintings last year.

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Cliff Wassman’s Acme Archives Artwork from the Star Wars series 

One piece illustrates the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where the bounty hunter Bobba Fett flees cloud city after Han Solo is captured. The second oil painting shows an AT-ST (all terrain scout transport) patrolling a red rock canyon on the planet of Jakku, which will be introduced in the new film opening December 18th. 

Wassmann works from models as well as schematic drawings of the film’s vessels to insure accuracy.

The new paintings may be viewed at Wassmann’s studio at 419 Ocean Ave, Laguna Beach, beginning Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and then during the regular gallery hours of 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. weekdays until December 20th. 

The new paintings are not currently for sale, however artist proofs and original oils of previous Star Wars paintings will be available.

10th annual artist studio sale in the canyon Saturday 

The season of giving and appreciating is upon us - a time to give friends and family special gifts that are unique, handmade and made in Laguna Beach.

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Troy Poeschl

Maggie Spencer along with Siân and Troy Poeschl will be hosting their 10th annual studio sale. Nestled along Laguna Canyon Road the studios will exhibit fused glass, jewelry, photography, sculpture and mixed media. The three artists have very different styles and variety of work – all on sale.

Fused Glass Sushi Set – Maggie Spencer

“We only do this once a year” said Spencer. “It’s an opportunity to clear out our studios, launch new work and get into the spirit of the holidays.” 

A new addition this year is a live acoustic performance by Zach Churchill from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Churchill, a singer songwriter, was nominated for best live performer at the 2014 OC Music Awards and is a regular guest on Laguna Beach’s FX 93.5 FM.

Siân Poeschl

“This year we have made a commitment to donate a percentage of our sales to the national organization CERF+,” said Siân Poeschl. “The Craft Emergency Relief Fund assists artists during an emergency. CERF+ helped many artists in the canyon during the 2010 flooding, and it’s our way of giving back and offering our support.”

The studios are located at 2707 and 2711 Laguna Canyon Road and will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For directions, visit lagunabeachartshow.com

Nelson Coates: new president of Art Directors Guild

Nelson Coates has been elected President of the 2,300-member Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) for a three-year term, succeeding Mimi Gramatky. 

Coates said, “I am thrilled to receive this mandate from my fellow ADG members. Our future strength lies in the unity of all our uniquely creative parts. I look forward to working with Pat, Oana and Tom and making our Guild stronger than ever.”

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Nelson Coates

A member of Local 800 since 1996, Nelson Coates has been designing features, television and commercials for more than 25 years. Known for such films as Flight (2012), Runaway Jury (2003) and The Proposal (2009), he has also designed mini-series such as Stephen King’s The Stand (Emmy® nomination), and the series October Road for ABC. His work was recently seen in Hot Pursuit (2015) and Secret in Their Eyes (2015). 

A member of the Television Academy® and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®, Nelson is one of the few members of Local 800 to begin his entertainment career as a professional actor. When not on a set, he does design projects such as the restoration and reimagining of the world-famous Witch’s House in Beverly Hills.

Nelson was instrumental in creating and organizing the first new member orientation, and the first member directory for the Art Directors Guild.

A frequent lecturer, guest mentor, and panelist at numerous colleges, universities and film festivals, Nelson actively works to educate future designers and filmmakers throughout the US and internationally.

The Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800) represents 2,300 members who work throughout the United States, Canada and the rest of the world in film, television and theater as Production Designers, Art Directors, Assistant Art Directors; Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists; Illustrators and Matte Artists; Set Designers and Model Makers; and Previs Artists.

Pageant of the Masters director Diane Challis Davy plays matchmaker with the 2016 show, “Partners” 

Tickets for the much-anticipated 2016 Pageant of the Masters are on sale now and make the perfect holiday gift for the art lover on your list. This holiday season share the excitement with tickets to next summer’s production of Partners.

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Tickets to the 2016 Pageant of the Masters “Partners” – on sale now

The 2016 Pageant of the Masters sets out in search of stories of compelling collaborations that led to the creation of unforgettable artworks. 

“My inspiration for Partners began during research for the 2012 show, The Genius,” said Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy. “We discovered a portrait of the Lavoisiers, an influential husband-and-wife team doing scientific research in 18th century France. Theirs was a partnership in both science and art.” 

She continued, “Then, in the midst of planning a salute to movies in 2013’s The Big Picture, I began to think ‘dance in the movies’ might be a wonderful subject for an end-of-act-one finale, including a tribute to the masters of cinematic choreography and iconic dance partners, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.”

Pageant Scriptwriter Dan Duling added, “Art doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Leonardo’s mural of The Last Supper wouldn’t exist if he hadn’t found a patron to give him the go-ahead. And who knows where Lewis and Clark might have ended up without the guidance and assistance of Sacajawea?”

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Pageant of the Masters re-creation of Harriet W. Frishmuth’s sculpture, 

The Dancers, to be featured in next year’s show

The 2016 Pageant will feature artworks from many nations including France, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Mexico, in search of memorable art made possible by partnerships – between husbands and wives, artists and models, even artists and their patrons. This theatrical and musical journey will also consider how partnership can become an ideal subject for masterpieces devoted to family, love and courtship, as well as historical, scientific and even fictional quests. 

Director Challis Davy acknowledged the challenge she’s already faced. “There are so many artworks inspired by partnerships, it’s difficult to narrow them down.”

From the warm familial scenes of Sweden’s Carl Larsson to the surreal originality of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Partners promises a double-dose of theatrical fun and surprises. Next summer’s production will find new and exciting ways to tell the stories to be found within a gallery of masterpieces, many appearing on the Pageant stage for the very first time. 

As a preview, Challis Davy said, “We’re planning to incorporate video and live action sequences along with a behind-the-scenes look at how tableaux are created, and how volunteers are selected for the show. We will use the lovely moonlit landscape of our amphitheater as a perfect setting for some of the sculptural tableaux.”

Challis Davy also shared a bit of Pageant history that resonates with this theme. Eighty years ago, in 1936, Laguna legends Roy and Marie Ropp presented their second summer production they had christened the Pageant of the Masters. Their blend of live music, narration and living pictures effectively created the template for today’s internationally acclaimed Pageant. And that year, the Ropps concluded their production with its largest and most ambitious tableau. The first presentation of Leonardo’s The Last Supper brought national attention to the Festival and Pageant and effectively changed the course of history for this Laguna Beach tradition. With only three exceptions, The Last Supper has been the program’s traditional finale ever since.

Back in 1936, Roy Ropp looked to his friends and neighbors to realize his Pageant dreams. Today, director Challis Davy depends every bit as much on the devotion and dedication of her army of volunteers who join together each summer as cast members and backstage volunteers.

Challis Davy summed up her ambitions for next summer’s Pageant. “I think there will be partnerships presented that everyone can relate to. We hope Partners will be beautiful and entertaining, and encourage our audiences to think about the people they know and love who have inspired and encouraged them.”

The Pageant of the Masters will be performed nightly from July 7 through August 31, 2016. Advance tickets are $15 - $230. As an added value, a Pageant ticket also gives unlimited admission all summer long to the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-487-3378 or online at www.PageantTickets.com.


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