The 2018 Hero fest will honor esteemed Laguna Beach psychologist Judith Anderson, PhD

The MY HERO Project is happy to announce that Judith Anderson Ph.D. is the recipient of this year’s Community Hero Award, which will be presented at the 2018 Hero Fest. The award honors Anderson’s many contributions to families in the Laguna Beach Community. From her efforts at her nonprofit Foundation for the Contemporary Family to her work with community programs, Anderson has been a champion for students and parents.

 “I am so grateful to Judy for her ongoing support for teachers and students around the globe who use MY HERO,” says MY HERO Co-founder and Director Jeanne Meyers. “I am grateful for her leadership with the PTA in Laguna Beach, bringing together parents and leaders in the field of education and parenting to help guide and nurture our community with the launch of Coffee Break for parent education and communication.”

Anderson, a licensed clinical psychologist, has had a private practice for more than 20 years, specializing in couples and family therapy. She teaches at the UC Irvine College of Medicine, where she also supervises psychiatry residents. Her practice focuses on families and couples; she is recognized as an expert in the areas of blended families, divorce, and remarriage. 

The Foundation for the Contemporary Family is a nonprofit foundation with a mission to support research, clinical training, and community programs that address the complex issues faced by contemporary families. The foundation has helped bring internationally renowned researchers and clinicians to Orange County and has offered grants for innovative programs and dissertation research. The Anatomy of Intimacy series at UC Irvine, in particular, has become the premier forum for ongoing clinical education in couples and family therapy in Southern California (

At the 2012 Ed Tech conference ISTE, Anderson talked about MY HERO and the principles of developing heroic behavior in children. “When kids are taught and reinforced by teachers and parents that they expect them to take action, they are more likely to do so,” she said. “Studying heroes and how heroes think and what they do is a way to help kids model and begin to develop their own heroic imagination.”

Anderson has been a generous supporter of The MY HERO Project and its use of heroism as a teaching tool. She helped launch MY HERO’s Teacher’s Room, which is now used in classrooms throughout the world. “She has been a champion for promoting compassionate education and understanding throughout the website,” says Meyers. “We are pleased to shine a light on her important contributions at the HERO Fest this year.”

Through the foundation, Anderson also supports the work of MY HERO with the Relationships First Award. The award honors filmmakers whose work reflects the intricate issues and dynamics found in all sorts of modern families. The Relationships First Award is presented each year at the MY HERO International Film Festival.

The HERO Fest is an evening of Music, Art and Short Films that celebrate local and global heroes. The event takes place June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theater inside the Festival of Arts ground.

For more information, visit

Teacher of the Year announced by LBUSD along with employees of the year

Laura Silver, an 8th-grade language arts teacher at Thurston Middle School, was selected as the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year. Additionally, Kristine Landrum, special education instructional assistant at Top of the World Elementary, was selected as the Classified Employee of the Year for the district. They will be recognized at the school board meeting on May 8 at 6 p.m.

Silver will be recognized at the Orange County Department of Education Teacher of the Year (TOTY) banquet in November at the Disneyland Hotel, which celebrates outstanding teachers in Orange County. 

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Submitted photo

Teacher of the Year Laura Silver

“Laura Silver is an outstanding representation of what it means to be Thurston. Her tireless efforts to create an environment that is positive and challenging for all students provide our 8th-grade students with an incredible experience in English Language Arts,” said Thurston MIddle School Principal Jenny Salberg. She continued, “Laura is proactive in creating and implementing lessons that are new and fresh, always keeping her students engaged and excited to learn.”

Presented by California Casualty, the California Department of Education and the Classified School Employees Association, the Classified School Employees of the Year Program highlights the contributions of classified school employees who support more than six million public school students from preschool through grade twelve in California. 

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Employee of the Year, Kristine Landrum

“Kristine Landrum is a valued member of the Top of the World Family,” said Top of the World Elementary School Principal Michael Conlon. “She is the gold standard on how to build strong relationships with students and staff, and she demonstrates every day the lasting power of making meaningful connections with others,” he concluded. 

The school district will also recognize Classified Employee of the Year winners in specific categories including Brian Armstrong, child nutrition; Sanny Mandala, maintenance and operations; Jennifer de Encio, office and technical support; and Tim Crilly, support services and security. 

The winners were selected through a district-wide nomination and voting process that was open to all classified school employees.

Grace Kook-Anderson, former LAM curator, speaks at Laguna Art Museum on Thursday, May 24

On Thursday, May 24 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum presents a lecture by the former LAM curator Grace Kook-Anderson, now the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art at the Portland Art Museum. 

Grace Kook-Anderson oversees the research, documentation, and exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection of more than 10,000 objects of Northwest art. Kook-Anderson curates the ongoing APEX exhibition series, featuring emerging and established artists of the region, and recently published an essay for Anne Appleby: We Sit Together the Mountain and Me at the Tacoma Art Museum. 

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Grace Kook-Anderson

She most recently taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art at Portland State University. Before joining the Portland Art Museum, she worked as an independent curator and arts writer. 

Art lovers shouldn’t miss this exciting night, as she shares her story.

Advance tickets are recommended. For more information or to reserve a ticket, call (949) 494.8971 x203.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

Behind-the-scenes look at set design presented by Playhouse Artists at LOCA Art Club on May 17

LOCA Arts Education invites artists and theater lovers to a behind-the-scenes look at how sets are designed at the LOCA Art Club event on Thursday, May 17 from 4 - 6 p.m. at LCAD Gallery. Eight-time Emmy nominee D. Martyn Bookwalter, along with Ann E. Wareham of Laguna Playhouse, will present. 

Bookwalter has received numerous awards including theADG Excellence in Production Design Award for Television – Episode of a Multi-Television Series, as well nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction – Variety of Music Program, and more. 

The artists will show construction drawings, maquettes, costume illustrations, and examples from the Chicago row-house themed Clybourne Park, to be performed at the Playhouse in June. 

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Drawings from Clybourne Park to be performed at Playhouse in June

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit coalition of arts educators, professional artists, and advocates interested in arts education for people of all ages. The group has been serving the community for over 20 years.

This is a rare opportunity – early reservations are recommended. Cost for guests is $20. Free to LOCA members.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave. 

For more information, go to or call (949)363-4700.

Waiting for your booth pick: An annual rite of passage for Sawdust artists

Story and photos by MARY HURLBUT

The annual Sawdust Art Festival “booth pick” was Tuesday, May 8.

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The iconic VW bus fronts the Festival: the waiting can be agonizing

There were 191 available booths, most chosen by lottery. Some have trees to build around and others are half-size, called mini’s.

The nine board members are given first choice, their reward for hours and hours of hard work.

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The rules that Sawdust artists must follow

Next come the artists with seniority: the longer they’ve been in the show, the lower their number.

For instance, this will be my 37th year as an exhibitor, and I was the 42nd artist to choose my booth space.

Seniority is rewarded using a complicated formula of years in the show and the number of artists in your group. 

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Soon this area will be bustling with people and artists

This approach was decided upon so that the show would remain open to new artists.

The last group of artists is pulled from a lottery and I remember the stress of hoping for a low number, because the good locations are few at the end.

And so the anticipation mounts for opening day!

Mark Chamberlain’s Celebration of Life to take place June 3 at 2 p.m. at Neighborhood Community Church

A celebration of Mark’s life is scheduled for June 3 at 2 p.m. at the Neighborhood Congregational Church.

All are welcome.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

RIP Mark Chamberlain

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