Playhouse May 12 Gala celebrates 50thanniversary of the Moulton Theatre and honors Moulton Family 

Laguna Playhouse announced plans to honor the Moulton family at the Annual Gala on Saturday, May 12, commemorating the Moulton Theatre’s 50th Anniversary and the family’s generous contributions to The Playhouse.

The 2018 Laguna Playhouse Gala will be held at Fashion Island Hotel, Newport Beach, featuring an elegant cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, fine dining, live entertainment and dancing, and an intimate VIP experience with Davis Gaines, Los Angeles longest running Phantom, among other highlights.

“Honoring the Moulton family on the 50th Anniversary of the Moulton Theatre is such a wonderful time to share the story of Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton. Nellie Gail Moulton generously contributed to building the Laguna Moulton Playhouse in 1967,” said Event Co-chair and Season Producer Lisa Hale. “The Playhouse opened with its first performances in 1968 and the same structure continues today as The Laguna Playhouse and Moulton Theatre.” 

Inspired by Nellie Gail and Lewis’s passion for the arts and commitment to the community, the Moulton family works to keep their tradition alive. 

Great-grandson and Playhouse Board Member, Jared Mathis said, “Our family honors the tradition of Lewis and Nellie Gail by passionately giving our time and resources to those that enrich culture, expand education, and provide great services to our communities.”

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Nellie Gail Moulton orchestrating her dream of building the Moulton Theatre at Laguna Playhouse

Through the Moulton Family Foundation, they are also working to keep the history of OC and its ranching era alive through the creation of an interactive archival collection that will soon be open to the public. 

“Nellie Gail loved Laguna and she loved The Playhouse. Our family helping to protect its history and secure its future is the right thing to do,” said Mathis.

Actor Richard Burgi, who plays Mr. Braddock in the current Laguna Playhouse hit “The Graduate,” lauds the Moulton family for their generosity and support of The Playhouse. “Any family that puts their heart and resources into the arts, I have a lot of admiration and gratitude for them. I think there’s not enough of that in the world.” 

The Gala is the Laguna Playhouse’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

“Last year’s Gala, under co-chairs Glenn Gray and Kathryn Burton Gray, grossed $600,000. It is a very large part of our annual fundraising number,” said Hale.

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. 

Serving more than 80,000 patrons each season, Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in 2016 and 2015 as one of Orange County Register’s “Best of OC” in the category of Live Theatre. 

For more information on events, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Miscellany, an exhibit by designer & director GMUNK, opens at LCAD Gallery with reception on April 5

Laguna College of Art and Design’s BFA program in Graphic Design + Digital Media is proud to present Miscellany, an exhibition showcasing a wide range of works by the talented designer and director GMUNK. The exhibit will run from Thursday, April 5 – April 26. The opening reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday, April 5 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

GMUNK (Bradley G. Munkowitz) has designed and directed campaigns for Audi, Windows and many music videos; he will exhibit his infrared photography and art pieces at LCAD Gallery.

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GMUNK’s Miscellany to be exhibited at LCAD, opening on April 5

As its name suggests, Miscellany will feature a variety of works, from GMUNK’s legendary infrared photography from places like Iceland and Alaska to a projection mapped sculptural display window. 

The exhibition also includes GMUNK’s optical experiments in geometric prints and a custom projection mapped and computer numerical controlled (CNC) milled sculpture completed in collaboration with longtime friends Phil Reyneri from Lightform and Peter Clark from www.callmeclark.com.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave, (949) 376-6000 ext. 289.

For more information, go to www.lcad.edu.


Laguna Art Museum: what’s on the calendar

Coming up this Thursday, April 5, for First Thursdays Art Walk, the museum offers free admission and docents are available for tours, including for the current exhibit, Tony DeLap: A Restrospective.Running now through May 28, the exhibit includes approximately 80 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Orange County’s “foremost living artist.”

Christopher Knight, art critic for the LA Times said, “One pleasure of the show is the abundance of his early works, dated between 1961 and 1974, when DeLap’s well-known shaped hybrids of painting and sculpture began to emerge. The earliest are not often seen. Guest curator Peter Frank, who is also responsible for the indispensable catalog, lays out the evolution.”

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From LAM website

On Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m., there is a concert with cello and flute, presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! titled, Live! at the Museum: Yoshika Masuda and Andrew Moses. According to the website, “Cellist Yoshika Masuda is fast emerging as one of the most unique and versatile artists of his generation. Praised by the press for possessing a sound that is ‘ravishing,’ ‘vibrant,’ and ‘sensitive,’ his recent Tokyo debut garnered critical acclaim. Yoshika has performed throughout his native Australia, Japan, the U.S., and Europe.

“Andrew Moses is a composer and clarinetist from Los Angeles. Hailed at age 13 as “an artist to watch” and “a musician of enormous talent,” his compositions have been performed, premiered, and read by ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Calder Quartet, and the Argus Quartet.”

For concert tickets, visit www.ConcertTickets.

On Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m., there will be a special screening of Laguna Art Museum at 100, produced by filmmaker Dale Schierholt.The film chronicles the museum’s history, from its founding as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, through its transformation to Laguna Art Museum in the mid-1980s, and continuing to today with its mission as the museum of California art. Advance tickets are recommended. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.LagunaArtMuseumTickets.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive. It is closed on Wednesdays.


What’s Up at LOCA in April? Quite a lot

Big Birthday Bash! 25 years of Art Education

Sunday, April 8 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., LOCA celebrates 25 years of Art Education at their LOCA Birthday Bash! It will be held at Kitchen in the Canyon at the Festival Center. The public is invited as LOCA’s founders are honored and partygoers enjoy mini golf, a musical cake walk, carnival games, and live performances by South Laguna Garden Band. Guests will enjoy savory foods, desserts, wines, and beer. There will be silent auctions, featuring gift baskets and original art. Tickets are $50.

For more information and tickets, go to www.locaarts.org.

Kitchen in the Canyon is located at 845 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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Block paintings by Elizabeth McGhee will be available at the auction

Art and Sea Lions; Print a Sea Lion Greeting Card

On Saturday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, attendees will view live sea lions, learn about the rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the PMMC, then make a greeting card using intaglio printmaking as taught by Hedy Buzan.

This event is for beginners, families, and groups. Participants will take home a finished art piece. The fee is $20 for adults and $15 for kids. There is free on-site parking.

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information, go to www.pacificmmc.org or call(949) 494-3050.

Senior Art Escapes, Learn Eco Dyeing

A two-day workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 18 and Wednesay, April 25, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., at the Laguna Beach Community Center. Silk and dye clothing expert Reem Khalil will instruct participants on how to create imagery on canvas using dyes transferred from natural leaves and fibers, with watercolor pencils, gold leaf, and other media. The event is for those ages 55 and older. The fee is $30. Advance registration is required. Go to www.locaarts.org to register.

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Sculpture by Scott and Naomi Schoenherr

Art Club “Public Art Walking Tour”

On Thursday, April 19 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Donna Ballard will lead an easy walking tour through the oceanfront Heisler Park. She will share stories and facts on the many benches, sculptures, and installations that are part of the City’s spectacular public art collection. This is a free event. Meet at Cliff Dr near Jasmine St. Metered parking on the street is available. A gallery reception will follow the tour.

To register, go to www.locaarts.org.

Public Reception – Student Banners

At Forest & Ocean Gallery, attendees will view more than 17 botanical-themed silk banners painted by students at LBHS, as taught by Olivia Batchelder. The banners, each measuring an impressive five-feet long, were created under LOCA’s Arts in Schools program led by Sherry Bullard. The exhibit is on public display from April 19-22, during regular gallery hours. This is a free event.

Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave.

Learn to Watercolor on the Beach

At Treasure Island Park on Sunday, April 22 from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., families, adults, and groups are invited to enjoy a guided tour and viewing of tide pool creatures. Then participants will learn to mix colors and create beautiful renderings in a journal. The cost is $35 for adults and $20 for kids ages five and up (includes take home canvas tote, watercolor kit, gel pen, pencil, and more).

To register or for more information, go to www.locaarts.org.


Grammy Award winner Melissa Manchester will speak at LBAA’s 12th Annual Art Star Awards

In true Academy-Award style, the best and brightest of Laguna’s diverse artistic community will be out for the 12th Annual Art Stars, to be held on April 29 at 6 p.m. at [seven-degrees].

Awards in seven categories will be presented to organizations, businesses and individuals who shaped and contributed to the community’s arts and culture in Laguna Beach this last year. 

The honored guest speaker will be Grammy award winning singer, Melissa Manchester.

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Melissa Manchester

The event includes a red carpet reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres, dinner and award ceremony. 

The 12th Annual Art Stars will take place at [seven-degrees], 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Visit www.lagunabeacharts.org for more information.


Bets Malone is Mae West in Dirty Blonde at Laguna Playhouse in limited run, April 26-29

Come up and see her sometime – for six performances only, from April 26-29. Laguna Playhouse announces a special event by the Coyote Stageworks, Founding Artistic Director Chuck Yates – a production of Bets Malone starring as Mae West in Dirty Blonde. 

Written by Claudia Shear and directed by James W. Gruessing, Dirty Blonde explores the phenomenon of the legendary Mae West, one of America’s most enduring and controversial pop culture icons, in this sparkling romantic comedy with music about a guy, a gal, and their mutual admiration for one voluptuous blonde.

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Bets Malone as Mae West

Bets Malone returns to the Laguna Playhouse in a show she performed earlier this year for Coyote Stage Works in Palm Springs. 

Steve Gunderson appears as Charlie in the National Tour. Larry Raben as Man returns to the Playhouse after appearing in Ross in Bright Ideas and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. 

Dirty Blonde was nominated in 2000 for a Tony Award for Best Play and a winner of the 2000 Theatre World Award.

The New York Times described it as “Hands down the best new American play of the season...” and said it allowed “…Mae West to shock and delight once again.” 

Mae West is back in Dirty Blonde for six performances

Dirty Blonde will perform six performances only: Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.;Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  

Tickets range from $55 - $75 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.comor by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). 

Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. Prices are subject to change. The box office is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days).

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For a listing of the credits of the talented cast, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Suzie’s ARTiculation

FOA announces this summer’s artists, ahhh, you can almost feel the joy of the upcoming Art Season 

By SUZIE HARRISON

I have such fond memories of opening night of the Festival of Arts, and the next night, and the next, and the one after that. Opening night is one of the true delights of summer and Laguna Beach’s art world. But of course, so are the many days and nights throughout the summer. It’s always exciting to check out the new artists and some of your fave’s new work.

Since the 140 exhibitors for the FOA 2018 summer show were recently announced, I thought it would be interesting to delve into the jurying process and to find out more about some of the new exhibitors and check in with some returning favorites. Congrats to the new artists and returning artists. Summer can’t come soon enough.

Four new Laguna Beach artists in FOA this year

This year’s FOA Class of 2018, so to speak, includes four new Laguna Beach artists, 40 local returning artists, and 12 artists that have studios in Laguna Beach.

“About 350 applied, 185 went through physical jurying, and 42 spots were available. We will have a total of 140 exhibitors this summer,” said Marketing and PR Director Sharbie Higuchi. “This summer, there will be an outstanding variety of art to choose from at the Festival of Arts fine art show. Visitors and art connoisseurs are sure to find unique original works, which would enhance any collection.”

The jurors for the 2018 show include FOA ceramicist Mike Tauber, oil painter Paul Bond, photographer Rick Graves, and outside jurors Creative Director of USC Design Studio Sam Carter, former Director of Irvine Fine Arts Center Wendy Shields, and Arts Coordinator of the Orange County Department of Education Steve Venz.

Juror Mike Tauber explains the FOA jurying process

Tauber explained the FOA’s jurying process as well as his own.

“I’m serving as a juror to commemorate my 20th year at the Festival of Arts. The position carries much weight, responsibility, and an extreme level of thought and focus.

“In jurying, I remove my personal preferences, and review the works analytically. Considerations include content, cohesiveness of the collection, craftsmanship, 

execution, expression, and presentation.

“I rely on my formal art training and 30-year career history in all areas of the visual arts industry, both here and abroad. I’ve worked with hundreds of artists, and served on selection committees, and as juror for other shows.

“As jurors at FOA, we work individually, and the points are tallied by the Festival, so no individual juror knows the results. 

“The FOA is among the best exhibitions in the Southwest. The quality and diversity of the work is among the finest. We highly value our patrons, and want them to return often - to be amazed, find works they love, and engage with our artists.”

New local artists this year are Sue Thompson, acrylics; Elizabeth Bridy, mixed media; Jorge Burtin, glass mosaic; and Sean Miller, jewelry.

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts

Bridy looks forward to sharing her eclectic work to a larger audience at the FOA

Elizabeth Bridy, mixed media

“Yes, I have applied. It was about five years ago. Since then I have been focusing on my commission works and building my portfolio.

“It means a lot to me - I am very excited and humbled to be a part of this prestigious event. It is a great platform for me to share my works of art with other artists and viewers from all over the world. 

“I am filled with gratitude to be in the FOA. My expectations are that the sky is the limit. I have no idea what this first summer will hold for me, but I know I am a dreamer and dreams do come true. I hope to be a part of this fantastic group of artists that are bringing more energy to the FOA in 2018 and beyond.”

As for Birdy’s creative process, she calls it simple, complex, and chaotic.

“I start with an idea or thought and let it manifest and evolve through the colors, materials, and textures. I let my emotions guide the process, working the layers of the piece until I find a place of comfort within the work. I use my paintbrushes, my hands, rags, and much more... It is a therapeutic freedom and emotional channel.” 

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts

Thompson’s work is reflective of her mother’s photo albums 40s-60s

Sue Thompson, acrylics

Sue Thompson, who regularly shows at the Sawdust, is thrilled to be in the ranks. She is considered a new artist, albeit Thompson did exhibit for one summer in 2008. She talked about the jurying process from the artist’s point of view.

“There are two phases to the jurying. In the fall, the artist application is submitted with three images of your work. This is the first phase where the FOA jury reviews all the images submitted. 

“If they are interested in your work, artists receive a notification that you’re moving onto the second phase. In the second phase, the physical jurying, selected artists bring three original pieces of artwork to the festival and leave it for a day.  

“That day the FOA jury reviews the artwork and makes their determination of who will be selected to exhibit in the upcoming show. A notification of acceptance or denial is then sent to the participating artists. The whole process is spaced out over about three to four months. 

“My recent work is reflective and inspired by my mother’s photo albums from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s

“I’m looking forward participating alongside my peers and friends here in the Laguna Beach art community, interacting with the patrons, and having fun.” 

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts

New FOA glass mosaics artist Jorge Burtin has persevered to land in the FOA

Jorge Burtin, glass mosaics

“I have applied before, about five to seven times. I started applying in 2008. My solace all the years I did not make it was I saw the work of the other artists and was honored just to be judged. The quality is so good I would not be able to pick the ones for the show.

“I have been going to the show as a child. My heart fills with joy now being able to show children how art moves the spirit. Being able to share time with people who prioritize the arts is special. Laguna beach is special. 

“I paint with tiny cubes of stain glass as my media. Glass is eternal and never fades. Each individual piece is hand broken and hand set.”

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Courtesy of the artist

Popular artist Sandra Jones Campbell’s “End of Beach Day,” 40”x26”, Giclee/Paper, the artist will celebrate her 29th year at the FOA this summer

Sandra Jones Campbell

“This will be my 29th year in the FOA. It would be 30 but I took a sabbatical one summer. My first year was exciting. I’ve enjoyed over many years the camaraderie of

dear FOA friends, artists and continued social networking that comes with meeting interested art patrons.

“Every summer is different. I look forward to the festive energy that comes from the festival’s variety of talented artists and entertainment. 

“In FOA early years, I created my artwork of ‘social scenes’ that has become a signature style.Recent years, I have continued the theme from my yearly one woman show I have with Pacific Edge gallery in February or March. 

“However, I like to create a large work that is my FOA “show” piece. The FOA’s and Pageant of the Masters’ theme is Under the Sun; I’m going to create my large painting with that image in mind.” 

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Courtesy of the artist

Longtime exhibitor Tom Lamb’s spectacular aerial landscape photography

Board Member, Tom Lamb, landscape and ethnographic photographer

“I started exhibiting at the Festival in the late 1980s. I was working down the street at SWA and a friend introduced me to the opportunity. I have since not been juried out nor ever looked back, as I’ve spent so many summers at the Festival – it’s become part of our fabric as a family.

“I am working on a new series from late 2017 of aerial abstracts from the Everest Region that are pretty fun and also have begun a new series on the Salton Sea.

“I start preparing before the last summer is over, as I am always working on new ideas and concepts. Over the years, it has become almost a habit as the rough edges have worn off. I don’t stress about what to exhibit as I did early on. It’s now just part of the cycle, as I am continually creating new work and showing what is the best at the time.

“I look forward to re-experiencing our new exhibit grounds now that we have had a summer to adjust and iron out many of the bugs. It was tough for the Festival trying to design the summer exhibit layout on paper – now that the construction is complete, exhibits and operations can spend the time this year required to create the flow, exhibit layout, wayfinding and interpretive planning to make for a great show.”

Lamb said the first few years as an exhibitor he was “pretty clueless.” 

His advice to new artists, “Show only your best work – don’t try to second guess what will sell – hopefully out of the thousands of visitors, collectors will find you and your unique style. Ask us that have done this for a while and take a deep breath.”

Until next time…so many talented 2018 FOA artists, so little time!


The Laguna Dance Festival receives a 

$2,000 grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation

A generous grant of $2,000 was awarded by The Festival of Arts (FoA) Foundation to The Laguna Dance Festival in support of its Master Class Series and free First Thursdays Art Walk performances. 

The grant enables Laguna Dance Festival to continue fulfilling its mission of providing outstanding dance education for young artists, free community performances and present world-class dance. 

The Laguna Dance Festival uniquely offers sensational world-class dance on a theatre stage, art galleries and site-specific outdoor venues. 

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Desmond Richardson, Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, teaching The Laguna Dance Festival’s master class in February 2018

Attracting both dancers and dance lovers to this idyllic resort setting, Laguna Dance Festival is dedicated to audience awareness and appreciation through major annual performances, as well as education and small group opportunities, as well as through major annual performances. 

The Laguna Dance Festival is one of Orange County’s major cultural art events as well as an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. 

This year, the Fall Festival will take place September 29 – October 7. There will be free performances throughout the year, master classes and a new week-long dance intensive in June. 

For more information, go to www.lagunadancefestival.org or call (949) 715-5578.


World Cinema Focus: Noir offered at Susi Q Community Center April 3 through May 8

Irvine Valley College’s 2017 Emeritus Teacher of the Year, Kathryn Kramer, offers World Cinema Focus from Tuesday, April 3, through Tuesday, May 8 at Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third St.

This course examines the global medium of film, emphasizing narrative story and directorial technique. Course Objective: Explore how filmmakers depict or defy genre expectations to create complex layers. This semester, the class looks at films that include classic noir riffs with twists.

The cost is $30, and the class runs on Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

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Fargo

Film schedule: 

April 3: Angels over Broadway, 1940 USA 79 min. This early film noir won writer/director Ben Hecht (The Front Page) an Oscar nomination. Stars Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Rita Hayworth, and Thomas Mitchell. 

April 10:  Alias Betty, 2001 France 103 min. Director Claude Miller adapts a Ruth Rendell novel regarding parent-child relationships. 

April 17: Rapt, 2009 France 125 min. Writer/director Lucas Belvaux depicts a rich man’s abduction. 

April 24: Fargo, 1996 USA 98 min. A modern classic in which a car dealer’s crimes escalate. Winner of 75 awards including Oscars for the Coen brothers’ screenplay and best actress. 

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Get Out

May 1: Tell No One, 2006 France 131 min. A doctor goes on the run, only to uncover various truths about family members. Directed and written by Guillaume Canet.

May 8: Get Out, 2017 USA 104 min. An interracial couple visit her folks in the suburbs. Nominated for four Oscars; won best original screenplay. Class potluck and DVD exchange at this final class.

Participants register at the front desk at Susi Q, using City of Laguna Beach registration forms with checks payable to the City of Laguna Beach.

For more information, go to www.susiq.org.


FOA expands management to address growing needs: Randy Querry appointed director of safety & security

The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, Orange County’s most iconic cultural landmark, has appointed Randy Querry as the Festival’s new Director of Safety and Security.

“The Festival has entered a time of significant growth, and with that comes the need for expanded guidance and expertise. We are privileged to have an individual of Randy’s background, professionalism and community awareness join us as part of the Festival’s management team,” said Festival of Arts President David Perry. “His experience and leadership will be invaluable as we address the ever-evolving interest of our patrons, volunteers, employees and the community.”

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Randy Querry is FOA’s new Director of Safety and Security

Querry is responsible for overseeing the safety and security of the Festival’s patrons, staff, artists, volunteers and property. He joins the Festival’s senior management team as a retired Police Lieutenant for the City of Newport Beach, where he served for 28 years as the Area 1 Commander in the Patrol Division and as a member of the Management Team. While at NBPD Randy also supervised the K9 Program, Bicycle/ATV Program, and the Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a team dedicated to offering world-class art and stunning, cultural, live performances,” said Querry. “To be able to contribute to the Festival and help enhance the experience for its patrons, volunteers, exhibitors and the community is an honor.”

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Seagull’s eye view of the Festival grounds at night

The Festival of Arts grounds is home to some of California’s favorite outdoor summer events including the Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, offering live music, hands-on art activities, exhibitions of local student artwork, and a wide variety of special events.

Since opening in 1932, thousands of artists have shown and sold their work at the Festival of Arts, and the work of many of the artists is featured in the private collections of leading art collectors, celebrities, and museums around the world. 

The Fresh Faces 2018 Exhibit runs now through June 11 at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank in Laguna Beach. 

The 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 – September 1 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. The Pageant of the Masters will run nightly July 7 – Sept 1, with advance tickets now available starting at $15 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


The role of public art: to please or to provoke? Sian Poeschl offers her unvarnished opinion

Story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Sipping coffee at Zinc Café last week, Sian Poeschl and I chat about the controversies over recent art installations around town, from the temporary Light Beam to one of her favorite permanent pieces, Deer Warrior in Jahraus Park. Sian is the City’s cultural arts manager and a talented glass artist who has exhibited her work at the Sawdust Festival for 18 years.

“I understand the controversy about public art,” she says. “You can choose to walk into a gallery or art museum. You don’t have much choice about what you might encounter at City Hall or in the parks.”

Which is exactly what gets some people uptight. Even benches have been known to bring locals close to blows. Residents feel a sense of ownership in the look of our town, and in its history, too, and their perspective isn’t always represented in the choices the City makes, nor can everyone’s taste be taken into consideration. 

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Sian with Deer Warrior: Protective force, or scary figure?

And public art is hard to avoid in Laguna Beach. There are approximately 90 permanent art pieces on public and private property around town, not counting temporary installations.

Does that mean that public art should be pleasing to the majority of residents?

Comforting, not controversial?

Created locally always, never internationally?

Quite the opposite in every respect, Sian believes.

“Art should spark conversation above all,” Sian says. “Get people talking, even if they disagree. I would hope they would disagree. Otherwise all we’d see is the boring, the conventional. We need different perspectives to be a well-rounded city, to be an arts colony.”

Take the recent Light Beam installation

Take the recent temporary Light Beam installation (“Please do!” some residents were overheard to say when they saw the multicolored rings outside City Hall).

I mention some disparaging remarks I’d heard at its unveiling: “Looks like a roll of Lifesavers” and “That should be in a children’s playground,” and how pleased some locals seem to be now that its lease is over and it has been taken down.

Sian is unfazed.

“Maybe it was intended to show City Hall in a different way, a more lighthearted way. Maybe it was meant to be out of scale,” Sian says. “I remember a kid coming up to the artist when it was being installed, and saying ‘what is this, doughnuts?’ – and instead of being insulted, the artist just said, ‘it’s what you see and what you want it to be.’“

Which reminds me of one of my favorite Picasso quotes, as applicable to literature, I believe, as the visual arts.

A painting is not thought out in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it’s finished, it goes on changing, depending on the state of mind of anyone looking at it.

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Photo by Tom Berndt 

Light Beam: Eyeing it from a different perspective

Light Beam was created by an LA artist. And so we segue into the question of whether the City should employ only local versus national and international artists to create public art.

“Not at all,” Sian says. She notes that the City, and the Arts Commission, is tirelessly pushing the goal of maintaining Laguna’s reputation as an art colony. 

“Laguna should be an incubator of art, not a jewelry box,” Sian says. “Art from beyond our borders acts as an inspiration to local artists. 

“Encouraging national and international artists to come here, to exhibit, to lecture – commissioning them to create public art sometimes – also raises our profile in the world art scene, which can only help us become known as a place that nurtures talent, supports young artists, doesn’t close them off from all the possibilities, instead exposes them to new art forms.”

Sian points out that year-round displays and exhibits of international artists at galleries like saltfineart, and the presence of LCAD, help Laguna Beach fight the perception that the town is mostly about summer festivals for summer people.

Temporary pieces engage the community with art

“The idea is that we want to engage people with art here, not just become a place to ‘view and purchase’,” she adds.

“Happily the trend these days is toward temporary art installations. That keeps the art scene fresh and there are opportunities for all. And of course at the same time we need to make sure our local artists have the opportunity to show and market their work, and that’s where places like the Sawdust Festival come in.”

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Sian exhibits her glass art at the Sawdust

“The Sawdust growing, too, with new workshops, hands-on art experiences, different ways for people to engage with art, and music, and more,” Sian adds.

Running out of time for both of us this breezy afternoon in Laguna, Sian and I agree to pick up the conversation another day. 

“Let’s meet at your favorite piece of public art,” I suggest. 

Deer Warrior: Appropriate for a park?

And so next time, Sian, never one to shy away from controversy – she’s the human equivalent of the art philosophy she espouses – chooses to meet at Deer Warrior, a bronze sculpture by Sian’s friend, Cheryl Ekstrom, who died in 2015. The sculpture, once one of around a dozen similar figures, is now located in Jahraus Park. 

Deer Warrior has caused and continues to cause some alarm. Small kids have been known to cry when they see that, a friend told me when I mentioned where I was meeting Sian. Looks like something from a horror movie.

And indeed, face-to-skull with the seven-foot Deer Warrior, spear spiking the sky, antlers jutting wildly from its head, does stir unease at first – as well as questions. 

Most people don’t realize that Cheryl Ekstrom saw the warrior as a comforting figure, a representation of her late brother’s fierce desire to protect his sister. Sian says she was inspired to create the sculpture when she saw a deer outside her window not long after her brother’s death

Transfixed by its gaze, as if it were his spirit talking to her, Cheryl wanted to channel that “feeling of being given the freedom to face a fearless future.”

Sian gazes up at the Deer Warrior. “Cheryl was a wonderful artist. I feel drawn to this figure for comfort.” 

And now, all at once, I see it: the way the deer warrior’s head is cocked slightly down as though to gaze upon the figure at its side, as if to reassure the vulnerable by virtue of its commanding presence.

 

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Boy and Dog when first commissioned: Boy and Dog last week

Jahraus Park is also the site of the oldest public art in Laguna, Boy and Dog, created by Ruth Peabody in 1933. We walk over to the iconic figures, streaked with recent rain, now in hues of green and teal. 

I touch the tiny toes of the boy, marveling at their accuracy, remembering my sons’ little feet at that age; there’s something about this piece that invites a tactile, emotional response.

Sian strokes the Boy’s head, revealing in her gesture the depth of tenderness, of passion she feels for works of art, for artists. “Look, see his arm, how the texture looks different, how smooth it feels? That’s because Cheryl helped repair this. I love to think of that connection between these two women artists over time.”

Cultural arts is literature and music and dance, too

As the Deer Warrior’s shadow lengthens in the late afternoon, his antlers spearing across the grass to reach the tip of the pavement, I realize that we haven’t talked much about other aspects of the City’s Cultural Arts program, from the Literary/Poet Laureate program, to the dance festivals, to the Sunset Serenades at Heisler Park– something exciting is bubbling up there, by the way! – and so much more.

But my article will run long, very long, if I delve into music, dance and literature (it’s already long…), so those subjects will have to wait for another day.

So I say cheers to Sian and hop into my car, thinking of another of Picasso’s quotes, how “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

We’re lucky in Laguna to have so many opportunities to be surprised by art, to ponder its meaning, to delight in it, or even to shake our heads and wonder aloud who on earth thought that might be a good idea, before the dust settles again, and we realize we haven’t decided yet what to cook for dinner, and that the laundry basket is waiting for our attention.


Wang Xin Yong exhibition “Love Letters to Nature” is coming to Ning Zhou Gallery on Thurs, April 5 

Ning Zhou Gallery of Laguna Beach will host an exhibition of 29 paintings on rice paper by prominent Chinese artist, Wang Xin Yong from Thurs, April 5 through Thurs, April 12. 

The artist, Wang Xin Yong, will be at the exhibit’s Opening Reception, which coincides with April’s first Thursdays Art Walk on April 5, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Like Ning Zhou Gallery’s well-known namesake, Wang Xin Yong is from Nanjing, China. The paintings on exhibit will showcase his insights into the nature and cultural landscapes experienced during his extensive sojourns in the US over the last decade. 

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Exhibition “Love Letters to Nature” to run April 5-12

Although firmly rooted in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy techniques from his studies at the Nanjing Arts Institute and China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, Wang’s work also is infused with Western influences using traditional Chinese paint and inks as well as watercolors. 

His ink-and-wash technique has clearly been influenced by the accurate modeling, textural expression, colors, and brushwork of Western painting. Whether inspired by a squirrel, an adobe church or a forest, these “love letters to nature” are ingenious amalgams of East and West, full of charm, quietude and warm-heartedness.

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Wang Xin Yong combines East and West in his rice paper paintings

Wang is a member of the Artists Association & Calligraphers Association in Jiangsu Province, Chairman of Jiangsu Micro Technology & Culture Co. Ltd, Executive Vice President of the US Jiangsu General Chamber of Commerce, and Deputy Director of the Culture and Arts Commission of the US Jiangsu General Chamber of Commerce.

He has held many exhibits and workshops in Beijing, Nanjing, New York, Santa Fe, J. Wayne STARK Galleries in Texas A&M University, Brazos Valley Art Center, Asia Study Center in Michigan State University.

Ning Zhou Gallery is located at 357 S Coast Hwy, 714-726-1763.

For more information, go to www.ningzhougallery.com.


Playhouse May 12 Gala celebrates 50thanniversary of the Moulton Theatre and honors Moulton Family 

Laguna Playhouse announced plans to honor the Moulton family at the Annual Gala on Sat, May 12, commemorating the Moulton Theatre’s 50th Anniversary and the family’s generous contributions to The Playhouse.

The 2018 Laguna Playhouse Gala will be held at Fashion Island Hotel, Newport Beach, featuring an elegant cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, fine dining, live entertainment and dancing, and an intimate VIP experience with Davis Gaines, Los Angeles longest running Phantom, among other highlights.

“Honoring the Moulton family on the 50th Anniversary of the Moulton Theatre is such a wonderful time to share the story of Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton. Nellie Gail Moulton generously contributed to building the Laguna Moulton Playhouse in 1967,” said Event Co-chair and Season Producer Lisa Hale. “The Playhouse opened with its first performances in 1968 and the same structure continues today as The Laguna Playhouse and Moulton Theatre.” 

Inspired by Nellie Gail and Lewis’s passion for the arts and commitment to the community, the Moulton family works to keep their tradition alive. 

Great-grandson and Playhouse Board Member, Jared Mathis said, “Our family honors the tradition of Lewis and Nellie Gail by passionately giving our time and resources to those that enrich culture, expand education, and provide great services to our communities.”

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Nellie Gail Moulton orchestrating her dream of building the Moulton Theatre at Laguna Playhouse

Through the Moulton Family Foundation, they are also working to keep the history of OC and its ranching era alive through the creation of an interactive archival collection that will soon be open to the public. 

“Nellie Gail loved Laguna and she loved The Playhouse. Our family helping to protect its history and secure its future is the right thing to do,” said Mathis.

Actor Richard Burgi, who plays Mr. Braddock in the current Laguna Playhouse hit “The Graduate,” lauds the Moulton family for their generosity and support of The Playhouse. “Any family that puts their heart and resources into the arts, I have a lot of admiration and gratitude for them. I think there’s not enough of that in the world.” 

The Gala is the Laguna Playhouse’s biggest fundraising event of the year.

“Last year’s Gala, under co-chairs Glenn Gray and Kathryn Burton Gray, grossed $600,000. It is a very large part of our annual fundraising number,” said Hale.

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. 

Serving more than 80,000 patrons each season, Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in 2016 and 2015 as one of Orange County Register’s “Best of OC” in the category of Live Theatre. 

For more information on events, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


JoAnne Artman Gallery presents Jane Maxwell’s show Behind the Silhouette, opening April 15

The exhibition Behind the Silhouette featuring artist Jane Maxwell will be presented by JoAnne Artman Gallery from April 15 - June 30. The exhibit will feature a collection of Maxwell’s recent works that explore the dichotomy between visual language, perception, and the written word through the use of both current and iconic images.

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Red Billboard by Jane Maxwell 

Every day across a multitude of platforms, screens, signs, and printed materials, many are confronted by the preconceived notion of femininity or the feminine ideal. Magazine covers, billboards, posters, and ads all attempt to sell their product by capturing the male gaze and exploiting primal fears and desires. 

Artist Jane Maxwell addresses this constant inundation of data in the age of information in works that explore identity and the female form through the medium of paper collage and the classic motif of the female silhouette. 

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Striped Walking Girls by Jane Maxwell 

The medium of collage became popularized in conjunction with the development of early stages of modernism during the early twentieth century. It was first favored for both its versatility as well as accessibility by Picasso and Braque and became popular amongst the Surrealists. Bits of newspaper and other ephemera found in such works provide a telling portrait of an artist’s studio practice, current events, as well as other pieces of socio-cultural information. 

Maxwell’s works on panel create a direct dialogue with this history of collage as a timestamp, utilizing torn sheets of paper taken directly from city walls, enshrining revealing moments in the history of time.

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Blue and Black Billboard by Jane Maxwell 

Physically, the works both enshroud as well as expose the human form as figures emerge or sink into the surrounding elements, their silhouettes outlined in stark black. The works have a sculptural feel through the sheer physicality of material, which is layered and then cut and peeled into distinctive female silhouettes. Areas of readable text emerge from the placement of numbers, letters and words that work together to create lyrical passages that are hauntingly familiar yet unplaceable. 

Maxwell’s works on panel are of myriad complexities in both form and visual language as the shifting imagery synthesizes new meanings through various readings, becoming itself a symbol to the subjectivity of our individual inward gaze.

Jane Maxwell’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. 

For more information on this upcoming event, visit www.joanneartmangallery.com.


Concert Hour is free each Thurs at Saddleback: on April 5 Francois Moutin & Kavita Shah perform

The Music Department at Saddleback College presents Concert Hour, a variety of individual and ensemble performances on each Thursday, from 2 - 3 p.m., in Fine Arts Room 101 and the McKinney Theatre. Admission is free. 

On Thursday, April 5, guest artists Francois Moutin and Kavita Shah perform in FA 101. This unique duo embraces spontaneity, virtuosity and lyricism. Francois Moutin was born in Paris and received a doctorate in physics at the age of 24 before choosing to become a professional musician. The bassist and composer has since toured in over 30 countries around the world. Shah studied languages and literature at Harvard University before pursuing a Master’s in jazz at Manhattan School of Music. 

Hailed by NPR for her “amazing dexterity for musical languages,” Shah regularly tours in Europe and the United States at venues such as the Park Avenue Armory and the Kennedy Center.

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Join Francois Moutin & Kavita Shah at Concert Hour for a unforgettable performance 

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit. Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway, turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the second left to Theatre Circle. Lot 12 will be on the right.

Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. 

 For more information, visit www.saddleback.edu and for Fine Arts information, visit www.saddleback.edu/arts.


“Celebration of Art” showcases exclusive art of all kinds at the big house on the hill on April 7

Art lovers are invited to the art party of the year, Celebration of Art, on Saturday, April 7, from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. at 2190 Hillview Dr. This exclusive art showcase will feature works from painter Karen Petty, jeweler Leslie Edler, glassblower Mike Panetta, and designer Bohdana.

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Celebration of Art on Saturday, April 7

Petty, whose work has been featured at the Laguna Art Museum, attended the Chicago Art Institute. Her paintings of women have been described as “sensuous sinewy forms flowing into dreams.”

Inspired by her love of the ocean, Edler is well-known for her unique settings using freshwater pearls which reflect the beauty of the sea and nature’s gifts. Her Flamingo Jewelry maintains its prominent reputation with its distinctive collection of “one of a kind” jewelry. 

Bohdana is an Art Glass and clothing designer in Laguna Beach, in a style described as refined tribal, Bohemia to California. 

The Artist by Karen Petty

Glassblower Panetta often looks to the ocean for inspiration, making it a part of his everyday life. “The ocean is like glass, so beautiful and clear. It is always changing, there is always something new.”

Call (949) 280-5504 for more information.

Valet parking is provided.

For more information on the artists: For Karen Petty, go to www.karenpetty.com.

For Leslie Elder, visit www.flamingojewelry.com and for Mike Panetta, www.oceanearthglass.com. Bohdana can be seen on Instagram @bohdanam.


Arts Marketing Workshop explores entrepreneurial development and collaboration on April 7

Artists and arts organizations are invited to this free workshop to be held on Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Susi Q Community Center. 

At this workshop, titled Beyond Marketing: Making Community, presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson invite artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives of all kinds to step aside for a few hours from traditional marketing and selling practices. 

This experiential workshop asks participants to speak, listen, and make visible the places in the community they inhabit. 

 (L-R) Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson

Once imagined and described, attendees can begin to map an arts environment that is about cooperation and collaboration, community and opportunity. 

This workshop explores artist/entrepreneurial professional development who live/work/play in this unique place.

Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St. Call (949) 464-6645 for more information. Space is limited.

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com.


The FOA Foundation announces $100,000 in grants to local nonprofits

The FOA Foundation is proud to announce that it has awarded $100,000 in grants to local nonprofits in the Laguna Beach. The recipients are as follows:

ART4KIDS, Inc.

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Community Art Projects

Festival of Arts

Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Beach Chamber Singers, Inc.

Laguna Beach High School Art Department

Laguna Beach High School Band Boosters

Laguna Beach High School Ceramics

Laguna Beach High School Dance Department

Laguna Beach High School Performing Arts

Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Seniors

Laguna College of Art & Design

Laguna Community Concert Band

Laguna Dance Festival

Laguna Outreach for Community Arts

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

LagunaTunes, Inc.

Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley

No Square Theatre

Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund

The Laguna Playhouse

“The FOA Foundation has just distributed $100,000 to 23 deserving nonprofit art organizations in the Laguna Beach community. While the FOA Foundation serves all ages and their pursuit of artistic enrichment, we make a special effort to support the cultural education of our youth, from primary school through college,” said FOA Foundation President Scott Moore. 

Along with Mr. Moore, Foundation board members include John Campbell (Vice President), Bob Earl (Treasurer); Jacquie Moffett (Secretary) and John Rayment.

In 1989, the Festival of Arts with a $1.5 million donation established the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, in order to guarantee annual financial support for the arts in Laguna Beach. 

The Foundation, co-founded by John Rayment and David Young, was designed to hold these funds in a permanent endowment. The earnings and income from this endowment would be distributed annually in the form of scholarships to graduates of Laguna Beach High School and as grants to nonprofit art organizations and educational institutions in and about the city of Laguna Beach. 

The Foundation operates independently from the Festival of Arts. In 2007, the Festival of Arts assumed the financial responsibility of the art scholarships, enabling The FOA Foundation to focus on its grant program for local nonprofit art organizations.

To date, the Festival of Arts along with the Foundation cumulatively has awarded over $2 million in grants to the art community in Laguna Beach. Anyone interested in donating to the Foundation may contact Scott Moore at the FOA Foundation, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.


Watercolor painting class offered by LOCA Arts Education on the beach March 25, April 22

   LOCA Arts Education offers watercolor painting classes at Treasure Island Beach for adults, families, and beginners. The al fresco activity is offered on a choice of Sundays; March 25 or April 19, from 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Participants should gather at Wesley Drive steps at 9:45 a.m.

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September McGee leads watercolor class near tide pools at Treasure Island

   Participants will enjoy a viewing of live tide-pool creatures and learn about ocean preservation by a trained docent. Following that, September McGee will lead a fun, step-by-step watercolor class. It offers families a wonderful activity to participate in together. This workshop is offered to ages six through adult.

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Kids enjoy waves, sand, and sun during a watercolor class

  The cost is $35 for adults and children ages five and up. Everyone will take home finished ocean-themed art, a journal, watercolor kit, gel pen, pencils and reusable canvas tote. Refreshments are provided. 

Treasure Island is located just north of Aliso Creek Beach.

Advance registration is required. Call (949) 363-4700 for more information.

For more information on LOCA Arts Education, go to www.locaarts.org.


Documentary about LAM’s 100 years of history will be shown on April 19 at 7 p.m.

Laguna Art Museum will be presenting the premiere screening of the documentary Laguna Art Museum at 100, produced by filmmaker Dale Schierholt, on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. 

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Laguna Art Museum under construction

The film will chronicle the museum’s history, from its founding as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, through its transformation to Laguna Art Museum in the mid-1980s, and continuing to today with its mission as the museum of California art.

Advance tickets are recommended. Go to www.lagunaartmuseum.org to reserve tickets online, or call (949) 494-8971 x203.


Art in our Backyard: “Survival Is Insufficient” exhibition by Sue Greenwood artist Joe Brubaker

Sue Greenwood fine artist Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners will present their “Survival Is Insufficient” exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art. The exhibit addresses the essential role the arts play in our daily lives. 

“Survivial is Inefficient” is set to run from March 17 - Aug 5. The reception will take place on opening night, Sat, March 17 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the gallery, located at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside. 

Photo from Exquisite Garden website

Found art by Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners

Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners use their artwork to visually express themes related to preserving culture in a dystopic landscape. These artists represent and utilize familiar objects, remnants of the built environment and artifacts and icons of everyday life in an exploration of the cultural threads that tie us together. 

For more information on this upcoming event, www.oma-online.org.

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