Volume 13, Issue 85  |  October 22, 2021

The Nellie Gail Moulton Exhibition at LCAD Gallery reveals the artistic talent behind one of Orange County’s most renowned matriarchs


Orange County locals are likely familiar with the Nellie Gail name, most commonly associated with the community of ranch-style and equestrian homes located in Laguna Hills. Perhaps some will recognize Nellie Gail Moulton as the wife of Lewis Moulton, who acquired nearly 22,000 acres of Orange County ranch land in the late 19th and early 20th century (including the land of Rancho Niguel). Local Laguna art students might know her as the founder of the Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) in 1961, or one of the founding members of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918. But it’s her work as an accomplished plein air artist that the LCAD Gallery is celebrating through the next month. 

the nellie Portrait

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Portrait of Nellie Gail Moulton with California Seascape (circa 1968). Photo print with hand-painted elements, obtained from a collection of Chapman University.

To commemorate the exhibition’s opening, two of Nellie Gail Moulton’s descendants – Jared Mathis and Scott Barnes – attended the reception and shared their thoughts on their great-grandmother’s work, including one incredible story about how they obtained one of her lost paintings.

We spent some time with historians and archivists from the Moulton Museum, as well as the curators of the exhibition and Moulton’s own heirs, to learn more about the artist’s life, influences, mentors and passions. 

the nellie Grandsons

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

(L-R) Great grandsons Jared Mathis and Scott Barnes pose at the LCAD Gallery reception of Nellie Gail Moulton’s retrospective

In addition to being treated to Moulton’s artistic talent, the retrospective provides an opportunity to step back in time and glimpse Orange County’s landscapes and seascapes as they existed in the early to mid-20th century. The recent past feels far removed, but the exhibition is a reminder that it wasn’t so long ago. 

The early years before plein air

Neither a native to the art world, nor Southern California, Nellie Gail came to both on her own volition and embraced them with enthusiasm. Born in Kansas in 1878, she obtained her teaching credential in 1900. But by the age of 15, she already showed a keen interest in art. A piece produced during her adolescence was shown in the children’s center of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Gail’s earliest known existing work, produced in her early ‘20s, is a painting now titled, “Roses with Bees” (circa 1900).

the nellie Roses

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

“Roses with Bees” (circa 1900) was provided by the Barnes Family Collection. Charlotte Moulton Mathis, Nellie’s daughter, reported it was one of the only paintings she still possessed from her mother’s early years.

“It’s an intriguing piece because it’s so different from her other subject matter,” said Jennifer Keil, historian at the Moulton Museum. “It focuses on a closer perspective and homes in on a small landscape.”

While her passion for art – and plein air painting in particular – may have consumed Nellie Gail, she also held a deep commitment to education, spending her early adulthood as a teacher and school principal in Seattle, WA.

the nellie Teachers

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Five women, including Nellie Gail Moulton who is second from the left

But after moving the family to Seattle, Nellie’s father took a position as postmaster at the El Toro General Store in Southern California. Nellie visited him there shortly after his move, a trip that would change the trajectory of her life.

“Her father was receiving all the town’s mail and hearing every latest update,” said Keil. “He had a chance to introduce his lovely, eligible daughter to a Mr. Moulton, who was quite distinguished and – at this point in 1903 – had a successful career with Moulton Ranch.” 

Mr. Moulton, being a formal and well-heeled gentleman, asked Nellie’s father for permission to court his daughter. He called on her and visited her in Seattle throughout their five-year courtship. Nellie reported falling madly in love with the man who was close to her father’s age. The two were married in 1908 and Nellie Gail Moulton would spend the remainder of her 93 years living in Orange County.

the nellie couple

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Nellie Gail Moulton looks over Lewis Fenno Moulton’s shoulder as he reads

“She hated the landscape of Southern California at first,” local curator, writer and art historian Evan Senn told Orange Coast Magazine last year. “Having spent so much time in Washington, she loved the lush green vegetation of the Pacific Northwest and thought that California’s brown grass hills were not impressive. However, her artwork would tell us another side to that story, one that shows us she fell in love with the California coast.”

Learning alongside the masters

After the birth of their two daughters – Charlotte (1910) and Louise (1914) – Nellie Gail Moulton began participating in Laguna’s local art culture in a significant way. As a charter member of the Laguna Beach Art Association, founded in 1918, the Moultons began fundraising efforts for what would eventually become the Laguna Art Museum.

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Photo courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Ozzie Jackson and Nellie Gail Moulton pose with a sign reading, “Join the Laguna Beach Art Assn.” Photograph date unknown.

By the time her daughters were grown, Moulton was studying plein air painting in earnest. Perhaps knowing her commitment to education and teaching, it’s no surprise to discover that Moulton was a lifelong student of the arts. Although she received no formal artistic training, she studied with the most notable 20th century impressionist painters in Southern California – Edgar Payne, Anna Hills, Frank Cuprien, Bennett Bradbury and William Wendt.

“The LCAD exhibition also showcases paintings by Hills, Wendt, Cuprien and Payne – alongside Moulton’s pieces – to guide the public through this point of view of mentee working alongside the master,” said Keil. “We’re also showcasing the different methods used in impressionism. Moulton’s various techniques appear alongside whomever she’s studying. For example, you can see her use of palette knives versus brushes.” 

Viewers will also see Moulton’s attempts to imitate her masters’ subject matter and form. Moulton’s paintings of lush green rolling hills are indicative of her work with Wendt. “Look for her use of ‘Wendt green’ [artists often refer to this color that Wendt stylized]. You can see her mixing that color tone in her work,” said Keil. “Then she does these amazing strokes of trees, these beautiful eucalyptus trees that were a common subject matter at the time.” 

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Mountain Landscape” by Nellie Gail Moulton emulates the work of her mentor, William Wendt

the nellie Wendt

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Road through the Ranch” by William Wendt

Then there are Moulton’s seascape paintings that are imitative of Cuprien’s style, who is known for being the master of light. “Cuprien captures sunsets and the shoreline,” said Keil. “He was able to depict that glimmer of sun as it speeds into the ocean. You can see Moulton trying that same technique in some of her seascapes.” 

Moulton traveled with these masters to Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon and other destinations, studying their techniques along the way. “It was an adventure as much as it was a learning experience,” said Keil. 

the nellie Niagara Falls

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Nellie Gail Moulton photographed overlooking Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, New York (circa 1930)

Many of Moulton’s works date from the 1930s and ‘40s. She showed her work in the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts in 1938. This period of time seems to be the height of her productivity, but she painted well into her elderly years. 

“She starts early,” said Keil. “Art remains one of her favorite pastimes until her later years. And she’s prolific to the point that we have identified more than 120 pieces of her work – from miniatures to large canvases.” 

Nellie Gail’s artistic gift to future students

The exhibition at LCAD not only showcases some of Moulton’s strongest works alongside those of her mentors, but it also includes her sketches and drawings, which allow access to her artistic thought process and the development of her style. 

the nellie Sketch

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

An untitled charcoal sketch (circa 1935) was a study for the painting of a shack

the nellie Shack cropped

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Shack at Fisherman’s Cove” (circa 1935)

“Her graphite sketches emphasize her technique and her ability to capture a region and translate that onto a canvas using oil,” said Keil. “We love the sketches as their own body of work to showcase her abilities.” 

“I would have loved to see more of her writings,” said Bryan Heggie, gallery and collections manager at LCAD. “My goal was to get inside her head as an artist and showcase Nellie Gail Moulton not as the wealthy woman who started these institutions, but as Nellie Gail Moulton the artist.” 

the nellie Heggie

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Bryan Heggie, curator of the exhibition, poses with Anna Althea Hills’ “Threatening Weather” (circa 1926, left) and “Blue and Gold”

“That’s why the sketches are so important,” said Heggie. “Because they give an insight into her thought process. That’s what started the exhibition. I saw those sketches and realized we had an educational show. It allows the viewer to get into the mind of the artist a little more.”

“Seeing her process, looking at her sketches and drawings as they turn into artwork, is wonderful,” said Jared Mathis, president of Moulton Museum, CEO of Moulton Company and Moulton’s great-grandson. “It takes you behind the curtain.”

the nellie Mathis Sketches

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Jared Mathis, great-grandson of Nellie Gail Moulton, with several of Moulton’s many sketches and drawings, which reveal her artistic process

A commitment to education

Moulton was 82 years old when she founded LCAD, contributing the first significant donation to what was then known as the Laguna Beach School of Art. LCAD holds a continuing endowment in her name today. 

“I’ve been around the world twice and done almost everything I wanted to do in my 90 years except one thing – go to college,” Moulton wrote in her memoirs. “You wouldn’t think it would still matter, but it does. It’s a bit too late for me to go back, so I established a fund to assure the youngsters in the family, 21 in all, get a proper education. Something I could never afford.”

An unexpected find

One of Moulton’s signature pieces, a work titled “Three Arch Bay,” ended up on eBay, erroneously attributed to Edgar Payne. The mistake likely happened because Moulton signed the back of the painting, “With apologies to Edgar Payne,” who was her mentor for the painting. When Mathis discovered the piece, he immediately bid on it and flew to Hawaii to fetch it. 

the nellie Three Arch Bay

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Jared Mathis with “Three Arch Bay” (circa 1925), a piece he accidentally discovered on eBay

Laguna’s plein air painters as conservationists

Keil said these early 20th century plein air painters were considered the area’s first conservationists. “They captured the beauty of open rolling hills and wide-open seascapes,” she said. In that way, their paintings are not only works of art, but historic records. 

“As a little girl, I crossed the midwestern plains in a covered wagon. Last year, watching a thing called television, I witnessed man’s first step on the surface of the moon,” Moulton wrote in her memoirs, two years before her death in 1972. “I have seen so many firsts. The first telephone, the first gaslight, the first use of electricity, the first typewriter, the first bicycle, the first car, the first plane, one of the first women to work in an office.”

the nellie Cadillac

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Courtesy of the Moulton Museum

Nellie Gail with Charlotte Moulton and Louise Moulton in front of their new Cadillac dressed up to go to the Ebell Club (circa 1920)

Just imagine how Moulton might have reacted to the next 50 years. 

“It’s almost 50 years since she passed,” said Mathis. “It’s amazing to continue discovering her.”

The Moulton Museum plans to exhibit the Moulton family history in an exhibition set to open in July 2022. An additional exhibition of Nellie Gail Moulton’s work is slated to open at Soka University in May 2022 and run through the summer. 

The retrospective of Nellie Gail Moulton’s work at the LCAD Gallery runs through November 21. LCAD gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach. The exhibition is free to attendees. Join the LCAD Gallery for a reception for the Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk on November 4 from 6-9 p.m.



October 1, 2021 - January 30, 2022

Kate Cohen: Explanation of the Doodle Exhibition

This one woman show features Festival of Arts exhibitor Kate Cohen’s Explanation of the Doodle series, which was born out of a need to find and live in joy while she was fighting stage IV head and neck cancer. Now six years cancer free, the artist maintains her practice as an avid doodler and has realized that the doodle IS the art.

Festival of Arts at foaSOUTH (located in Active Culture)

1006 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Daily: 9am - 8pm

Meet the Artist on October 7th, 6pm - 9pm



Live! at the Museum

Concert with soprano and guitar in partnership with Laguna Beach Live!


At the Laguna Art Museum

307 Cliff Drive

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

7 pm

$7 members/$13 non-members



Live! at the Museum

Chamber Music Concert with Artists TBA

Laguna Live!

At the Laguna Art Museum

7 pm – 8 pm

Free for museum members and included with museum admission for non-members. Admission $5/$7



Rick Weber

LBCAC Presents: Opera Reimagined with The Laguna Tenor Rick Weber

Music Lovers,

Thanks to so many of you who were able to attend our very first "LBCAC Presents: Opera ReImagined" event on July 3, I'm pleased to announce that the show is back on the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center Stage in a few weeks. This time, I'll be joined by even more up-and-coming and seasoned vocalists! Should be a real treat. Seating will be limited, so please...


Note: Proof of vaccination, or mask required.


235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

8-10 pm

$30 GA/$50 VIP

Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)



LBCAC Arthouse Theatre Presents: Intouchables

After a paragliding accident, Philippe, a rich aristocrat, is confined to his home. He employs Driss as home help. Driss is a young guy from the projects recently out of prison. In short, the person the least adapted for the job. Vivaldi and Earth, Wind and Fire, fine language and slang, suits and jogging outfits come together and a clash is inevitable. Two worlds collide and win each other over to give birth to a friendship as crazy, funny, and fierce as it is unexpected. A unique relationship that will make sparks fly and render Philippe and Driss untouchable.


235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

7-9 pm


Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)


LBCAC Arthouse Theatre Presents: The Rocky Horror Show

Rocky Horror(RAW)

In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."


235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

7-9 pm


Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)


Cal Info LOCA

Journaling Heisler Park

Hedy Buzan will teach quick pencil sketch techniques for creating beautiful renderings of plants, landmarks, and vistas at this spectacular park. Materials will include a journal, watercolor pencils, brush, and water. Try one, or all classes, as locations and subjects will vary. Beginners invited!

LOCA Arts Education

Heisler Park



Purchase tickets HERE.



One Hour/One Painting

Author and critic Peter Clothier invites participants to spend a full hour in front of a single painting


At the Laguna Art Museum

307 Cliff Drive

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

6 pm

$7 members/$13 non-members



LBCAC Presents a "Mask-a-Raid" Halloween-Themed Fundraiser


Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center Hosts Outdoor Fundraiser at Seaside Moss Point Estate with Sunset Views, Live Music, Tasting Menu, Silent Auction, Costume and Mask Contests


Moss Point Estate

5-8 pm

949.652-ARTS (2787)


When teachers become students: LOCA instructors learn from their students at Glennwood House

Story and Photos by MARRIE STONE

While many local businesses and restaurants struggled under the burdens of COVID restrictions this past year, few were as severely impacted as Laguna’s Glennwood House. Glennwood, a residential living complex near Woods Cove, serves roughly 50 adults with special needs. The community remained particularly vulnerable throughout the pandemic. Outside access to Glennwood ground to a halt, preventing all the face-to-face events which residents relied upon and enjoyed. Fortunately, a few months back, LOCA-led art classes resumed in person. LOCA offers weekly on-site art workshops and classes, as well as various art-related fieldtrips and opportunities to showcase residents’ work.

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Pastel artist Lesli Bonanni (left) with a resident from Glennwood House, showcasing their creations

Last week, pastel artist Lesli Bonanni taught a PanPastel painting project to nearly two dozen residents. While the students delighted in the experience, something more profound was happening behind the scenes. As often occurs in interactive classrooms, the teacher sometimes learns more than her students. That proved true last week. 

We followed Bonanni before, during and after class, watching both an artistic and emotional process unfold and hearing her reactions. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

Stu News: This was a pastels project, but not traditional pastels. Can you describe this unique medium and what makes it so fun? 

Lesli Bonanni: PanPastels were created in 2007. They are simply pans of color meant to be scooped, spread and smoothed using custom-made painting knives and sponges. They are highly pigmented, extremely blendable, velvety smooth and offer a range of 60 different colors. The amount of dust from the process is negligible, so they are a good choice for any artist concerned about toxic pigments getting into the environment. Interestingly, no one I know has heard of them, let alone used them. 

SN: What made this the right project for Glennwood residents? 

LB: Vinita Voogd [a renowned local printmaker, fellow LOCA instructor and mother of Glennwood resident Lauren Voogd] witnessed the PanPastel painting process when I recently taught a class in her home. Once she saw the enthusiasm, curiosity and results from the students, she asked if I would share the technique with the Glennwood residents. She felt they would love experiencing this fresh new way of working with pastels. Of course, I was eager to share.

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A group of students share their work

SN: This was your first time teaching at Glennwood House. Tell us about that experience. 

LB: I have taught many classes and workshops. I teach process, not product-oriented painting. But there’s usually one person, if not more, that truly fears approaching a blank canvas. That’s why I teach. My purpose is to empower others through art. I encourage students to face the unknown, keep an open mind and let go of expectations. In this case, though, it was me who needed to let go of expectations.

As usual, I packed my bags and easel. I talked to myself the whole drive there, visualizing and vocalizing how I would lead this group, knowing the class would be different. Vinita advised me that a step-by-step approach would work best. I told myself to slow down and lead in a controlled and easy-to-follow manner (although slowing down is hard for me). I assumed these students might need extra guidance. But those were my expectations, soon to be proven wrong. 

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Bonanni circulated among the group, offering assistance and encouragement

Upon arriving, I was immediately greeted by Spencer, a resident there. He introduced me to his friend. What a warm welcome!

My expectations started to shift. The grounds are lovely, with flourishing gardens, art projects and welcoming surroundings. The individual apartments made me wonder how each room was decorated. I was fascinated with this enclave. The environment felt so safe, nurturing, loving and inspiring.

Every resident acknowledged me. Some greeted me with hugs, others with thanks for being there, all with smiles. I was touched by their genuine kindness. This class was ready! 

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The class immediately engaged with questions and comments

When the supplies started filling the tables, unbridled enthusiasm took over. The creative energy was so damn pure. The space felt free of all societal and perfectionist problems that arise outside the gates of Glennwood. Artistic comparison was gone. 

None of the students had used the pastel medium in this fashion, and they took off on their own paths. One assistant described them as “going rogue” and that felt refreshingly right. They all leaned into the project with passionate play. Some struggled, but they didn’t care. They loved the effort and experience and thanked me for being there even before I began. And they knew with confidence when they were done. They proudly signed their names on the back of each piece and moved on. 

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Two residents with their artwork

SN: What were the most gratifying parts of the experience? 

LB: The comments I received – during and after – and the hugs, and the thanks were certainly gratifying.

Many people told me how much they love art and how it relaxes them. One woman planned to give her painting to her dad, telling me how much he’d love it. She was so excited. 

Students willingly shared their supplies. They helped each other. They encouraged each other and complimented each other’s work. Afterward, again, there was gratitude and hugs and questions about whether I would be coming back.

When it was time to take my art supplies to the car, I received another generous offer from a resident to help. As I walked away, the feeling that something very special had happened overwhelmed me. 

SN: It sounds like you learned as much from them as they learned from you. What did you take away from the night?

LB: Art invites us to see the world differently. That’s the job of art, and the joy of the viewer and/or artist. I had expectations that I would teach these students new things with my fun technique. But, in the end, they taught me to see the world differently. I learned where acceptance, pure thoughts, honesty, graciousness, hospitality, thoughtfulness, courtesy, kindness and creativity can coexist and flourish. They all taught me these things with an open mind and heart. They brought everything to the table, literally. I learned expectations can dissolve and manifest anew in beautiful ways. 

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Students eagerly await instruction after receiving their supplies

SN: Spoken like a true artist. 

LB: I reached the conclusion that the residents at Glennwood House are a collective masterpiece. Each person is like a colorful thread of a tapestry, or a beautiful piece of paper in a collage. They all worked together to create this perfect harmony. Every individual came together to create a thriving collaboration. 

As I view them, with their hearts and minds already open, their beautiful souls exposed, they taught me to see the world differently. 

SN: Were there other surprises? 

LB: I need to repeat that the level of enthusiasm was surprising. These people genuinely love art and appreciate it so honestly. Vinita’s intention to expose them to fine art – instead of craft shows – is also refreshing.

SN: Is there anything you’ll do differently next time, or absolutely repeat, in light of this experience?

LB: I considered the idea of pre-priming the surface to start, as the pastel itself takes a few layers before the medium starts to glide over the base layers, offering a more effortless experience. Then students could spend more time on blending instead of pushing the medium in. Offering different paper is another option I might consider. I also will share all the tools, and how to use them, during the opening demonstration (specifically, the palette knife tool and the eraser). 

SN: Any final takeaways from the event?

LB: May we all be as free, uninhibited, curious and loving as these people. They were supposed to be the students. But when it was all over, I was the student. They taught me. That’s the essence of what art does to a soul – it ignites it. In the best possible way. 

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Glennwood House’s PanPastel artists presenting their work at the end of class



Annual Art & Nature Juried Art Show

Li Jason

LPAPA artists exhibiting paintings inspired by nature, featuring the best of nature.

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

LPAPA Gallery 414 North Coast Hwy Laguna Beach

Thurs - Mondays 11 am - 5 pm





LBCAC Arthouse Theatre Presents: Sordid Lives

Three generations of a colorful family from a small Texas town must come to grips with the accidental death of the elderly family matriarch during a clandestine meeting in a seedy motel room with her much-younger married neighbor. The woman's family must deal with their own demons while preparing for what could be an embarrassing funeral.


235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

7-9 pm


Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)


Journaling Heisler Park

Cal Info LOCA

Hedy Buzan will teach quick pencil sketch techniques for creating beautiful renderings of plants, landmarks, and vistas at this spectacular park. Materials will include a journal, watercolor pencils, brush, and water. Try one, or all classes, as locations and subjects will vary. Beginners invited!

LOCA Arts Education

Heisler Park



Purchase tickets HERE.



Art & Nature Keynote Address: “John James Audubon: Art, Nature and Science in the Nineteenth Century”

John James Audubon and his beautiful bird illustrations continue to fascinate and resonate with a wide public interested in the natural world, art, and science. Curator and historian Dan Lewis will discuss the role of Audubon in art and science, tracing the history of American ornithological illustration from its earliest days up to Audubon’s work, including material about his predecessors and successors in the bird illustration world, and including a discussion of the tensions inherent in our current understandings of the racially troubling corners of Audubon’s legacy.


7:00 p.m.



Broadway Comes to Laguna Beach

Concert Band Katie

Courtesy of Katie Baker, photography by Jennifer Baker

Take-in the best of Broadway — from its Golden Age — to contemporary smash hits. The Laguna Community Concert Band serenades you with songs from “Porgy and Bess,” “Music Man,” “Sound of Music,” “Les Miz,” “Frozen,” and many more! Vocalists Katie Baker and Lisa Morrice lend their pipes to the production. As always, our concerts are FREE.

Concert Band Lisa

Courtesy of Lisa Morrice, photography by Greg Carter

Laguna Community Concert Band

Laguna Playhouse

2:00 p.m.




LBCAC Arthouse Theatre Presents: Like Water For Chocolate

LikeWaterForChocolate (RAW)

The youngest daughter in her family, the beautiful Tita (Lumi Cavazos) is forbidden to marry her true love, Pedro (Marco Leonardi). Since tradition dictates that Tita must care for her mother, Pedro weds her older sister, Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi), though he still loves Tita. The situation creates much tension in the family, and Tita's powerful emotions begin to surface in fantastical ways through her cooking. As the years pass, unusual circumstances test the enduring love of Pedro and Tita.


235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

7-9 pm


Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)


LAM exterior (2)

Art & Nature Family Festival

STEAM activities presented by Laguna Art Museum and Community Partners





LAM exterior (2)

Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibition

Deadline to apply: November 15, 2021. All submitted designs will be made available to view on the City of Laguna Beach website. Selected designs will be displayed at Santa’s Cottage on Forest Avenue throughout December.

City of Laguna Beach

Purchase tickets HERE



“Art in Public Places” – Chambered Nautilus by Carolyn Reynolds


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

This is the 31st article in our weekly series featuring Art in Public Places. Since there are more than 100 pieces of public art scattered throughout Laguna, it will take a while to cover them all.

Some of the art you see around Laguna Beach is the result of two city programs: “Public Art and Murals” and “Art in Public Places.” The goals of the Public Art and Murals and Art in Public Places (adopted in 1986) initiatives are to create diverse art installations of the highest quality that will, over decades, reflect the city itself and its citizens, and improve the quality of life; and to be a source of pride to all Laguna Beach residents. 

The Chambered Nautilus Bench by Carolyn Reynolds, was installed in 2001 and funded with a donation of $10,000 by Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield. Located on the first block of Forest Avenue, the concrete bench measures 75” x 57” x 18” (seating height) and is decorated with glass tile. 

art in top of shell

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Touch the center and your travel wish will come true 

The legend associated with this piece says, “Triton rode this shell to the surface of the ocean to enchant the sea nymph. Her love inspired Triton to make the Nautilus the most beautiful shell in the ocean; ever since the Nautilus has been honored as the pearly ocean chauffeur. Touch the pearl in the center of the shell and your travel wish will come true.”

“The interactive element of this installation is whimsical, creating an additional depth and story, about something very few of us have been able to do these past two years – travel,” said Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl. “Legend says that if you rub the center glass sphere all your travel wishes will come true. These type of good luck rituals create character to a piece, just as turning on the bull anticlockwise three times is a tradition in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, we have our own tradition downtown. Try it out and see if it works!”

art in sideways nautilus

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“Chambered Nautilus” was created by Laguna artist Carolyn Reynolds

“Obsessed by nature’s mysterious movement and light, I focus on those ineffable moments in nature that silence me,” said Reynolds.

With degrees in Art History and Fine Art from University of California, Irvine, Reynolds advanced her professional life as an artist 31 years ago when she moved from Northern California to Laguna Beach. World renowned for her luminous landscapes on gold and silver leaf, Reynolds claimed her corner of the art market as master and creator of a technique known only to her.

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This bench was restored in 2017

In 2017, after years in this heavily traveled area, the bench exhibited signs of wear. It had not been restored since its installation and was showing significant fading on the seating portion. Reynolds recommended the following restoration be undertaken: The bench would be covered by a canopy and anchored with weights, existing coating would be removed and cleaned, and missing glass tile replaced. The process also involved re-staining the surface in its original turquoise green hues and replacing its protective coating. 

At the time, Reynolds remarked, “The bench has been in bad shape for far too long. But, plans to repair it and other pieces of public art are a good sign.”

Reynolds’ work can be seen in high-end resorts such as the Four Seasons and Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas, or in the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point and San Francisco. Comerica Bank in San Francisco displays their collection of Reynolds’ art prominently in the lobby while Bank of America proudly hangs her work in their Los Angeles office. 

For a map of Art in Public Places (not every piece is listed), click here

To apply for the Arts in Public Places program, click here.


DECEMBER 2, 2021 - JANUARY 3, 2022

2nd Annual LPAPA Squared All Member Show


A celebration of artwork created by LPAPA Members in an 8″ x 8″ square format!

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

LPAPA Gallery 414 North Coast Hwy Laguna Beach

Thurs - Mondays 11 am - 5 pm




Beth’s Tuesdays

Laguna Live!

At the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center. Streamed live on Laguna Live! Facebook page & YouTube channel

7 pm

Check website for ticket price.


Laguna Dance


2021 LDF Winter Workshop

A three-day training and mentoring workshop taught by Jodie Gates, Jermaine Spivey and Bret Easterling.

Laguna Dance Festival

Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio 625 Park Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Friday 5:00-8:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00-4:00 pm




David Zinn’s quirky chalk characters return to downtown Laguna Beach

Street artist David Zinn will be brightening the streets of Laguna Beach with temporary installations throughout downtown from Monday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 6.  Zinn’s work is inspired by objects, street fixtures and cracks in the sidewalk to create his creatures and monsters into trompe I’oeil illustrations.

David Zinns at work

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Photos courtesy of City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts

David Zinn at work creating his chalk characters

Zinn’s temporary street drawings are composed entirely of chalk and charcoal and are always improvised on location. Some favored characters are Sluggo (a bright green monster) and Philomena (a flying pig), but the menagerie of characters is only limited by the size of the sidewalk. So where will you be able to see them? You will have to seek them out!

David Zinns green creature

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An endearing green creature

On Saturday, Nov. 6, Zinn will be at the Promenade on Forest, and he welcomes all to watch the process unfold and maybe lend a helping hand. He will be providing materials and directions.

David Zinns lizard

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A very literate lizard

Adam Schwerner, chair of the City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission explains, “We need David’s whimsical creatures now more than ever. As the Arts Commission continues to explore every genre of temporary art, you can’t get more temporary and fleeting than chalk art. It’s a thrill to invite David back to Laguna Beach after the huge success of his installations in 2019.” 

When you go seeking out Zinn’s chalk art installations take a photograph and post them on Instagram with the hashtag #zinnlagunabeach. The first four people to post will win David Zinn merchandise. 

David Zinns Sluggo

Sluggo and Filomena (but, where’s her wings?)

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

For more information, visit and


City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

Community Art Project (CAP)

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

First Thursdays Art Walk

KX 93.5 Radio

Laguna Art-A-Fair

Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC)

Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

Laguna College of Art + Design

Laguna Concert Band

Laguna Craft Guild

Laguna Dance Festival

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association


No Square Theatre

Sawdust Art Festival


Third Street Writers

Visit Laguna Beach

Eighth Annual Gala celebrated the magic of Glennwood House and its residents


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Sunday evening, Oct. 17, magic was in the air at the Festival of the Arts during the 8th Annual Glennwood Gala – and not just due to the performance of Le PeTiT CiRqUe. 

As Glennwood Housing Foundation, residents and their families and friends gathered where “enchanting” was the best word to describe the atmosphere. It was an occasion to celebrate the creativity, individuality and passion of the incredible residents. 

8 annual circus

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Le PeTiT CiRqUe 

“The residents arrived in style on the iconic Laguna Trolleys,” said Faith Manners, CEO of Glennwood House. “I think that kicked off the excitement and success of Glennwood’s most successful gala ever!”

All in attendance lined up to cheer and applaud the residents as they walked from the trolleys to the Festival of Arts entrance.

8 annual trolley

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Residents arrive at FOA

The last gala, held in 2019, raised more than $300,000, all of which benefitted the Glennwood Housing Foundation program.

Glennwood House of Laguna Beach provides adults with special needs an opportunity to live independently in a safe, diverse, dynamic and loving community, offering special programs, social involvement and supported living.

It all began when the Larson and Voogd families saw the need for their children to experience independent living in a safe and supportive environment. Once children reach the age of 18, many transitional support services through school systems end and new chapters in their lives begin. Many young adults with disabilities often find themselves feeling isolated and Glennwood provides the opportunity for not only continued personal growth but for inclusive participation in an expansive world. 

8 annual lauren and vinita

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Vinita Voogd and her daughter Lauren

Opening in 2013, the 30,000-square-foot former residential care facility houses 50 adults. One of their goals is for the residents to be able to live-work-play and function as a diverse community within the greater community. 

Presenting sponsor of the gala was the Thompson Family Foundation.

Monica and Rick Thompson, whose son Troy has been at Glennwood for seven years, had the utmost praise for the residence. “It’s amazing,” said Monica. “So genuine and pure. We love to go see Troy on campus at Glennwood, it’s very warm.”

8 annual Thompsons

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Rick and Monica Thompson and their son Troy

A challenging year

After a challenging year, it was a time to party and everyone took full advantage of the opportunity to be together.

Examples of the residents’ creativity was evident throughout the festival grounds; hand-painted scarves, hats and artwork to name just a few. At each place setting at the dinner tables, one-of-a-kind napkins created by Glennwood residents were gifted to the attendees. 

 Glennwood Director of Development Janet Parsons said, “It was so touching to see our 300 guests cheering the residents as they arrived at Festival of the Arts and walked the red carpet. The Glennwood residents and staff joined our guests at the welcome reception and we so enjoyed visiting with each other as we began the evening.”

8 annual red carpet

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Walking the red carpet 

Marmalade provided tantalizing appetizers as attendees mingled, drank Champagne and greeted friends.

As is it the tradition, everyone started the evening together, and then the Glennwood residents and their friends entered the stage and lawn area for their prom, which included their own caterer, casino game and DJ. 

As resident Danielle Agam bet at one of the casino tables – and from all indications won – her father Shraga Agam explained her history at Glennwood. “Danielle has been there from the beginning. We feel very blessed to be part of all this, it is a unique place. We were looking for someplace like this in Los Angeles, since we live in Encino. We looked at places that housed only five to six people, but Glennwood with its 50 residents is like a community. When we were shown around the property, they were in the process of building it. We talked to people and the staff is amazing. It takes a lot of patience and understanding. Parents don’t always know how to react, but we do the best we can. They have so many activities – locally – walking on the beach, volleyball, and they go to the mountains. Chabad is just a short distance away, which is convenient. She also attends a vocational center.” 

8 annual trio

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Celebrating in style

Danielle’s father attested to her social personality. “During the pandemic, Danielle came home a few times, but she missed the activities and her friends at Glennwood.”

As the evening progressed, the rest of the gala guests moved to the seating area for dinner, presentations and the live auction. Marmalade provided a feast befitting a gala.

Dancing and music from the prom area continued as residents used the special headsets provided by Silent Disco as Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer Henry DiCarlo – an Emmy award-winning AMS meteorologist and sportscaster for KTLA Morning News – continued on with the evening’s program.

Dr. J. Thomas Megerian, a board-certified pediatrician and child neurologist specializing in Autistic spectrum, presented the program.

Results of the Live Auction:

–Two trips at $5,500 each to Kaanapali Shores, Maui (at the last minute, the donator added another trip).

–Four days, three nights in Napa Valley - $5,900.

–Toby’s Wine Wheelbarrow - $4,600.

–Two-night stay at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica - $3,200.

–Photograph from FOA exhibitor Jeffrey Rovner - $1,200.

–Ski week in Utah - $5,300.

–VIP package at Dodger Stadium - $4,400.

There was no shortage of fun and frivolity at the gala. A good time was had by all and a most worthy foundation program benefitted.

For more information on Glennwood Housing Foundation, go to

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, go to the slideshow below:

How to get there

Visit Laguna Beach City Map Visit Laguna Beach Coast Map

Funds for this calendar are provided by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.


Time to Mask Up, this time for fun at the LBCAC Halloween Bash fundraiser

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) will be hosting its inaugural “Mask-A-Rad” Halloween Bash fundraiser. The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 5-8 p.m. on a scenic, seaside Moss Point Estate in South Laguna Beach. 

Ryan Heflin & Band and “Laguna Tenor,” Rick Weber and Gerardo “Jerry” Segura will perform, while the Tasting Menu includes plant-based and traditional protein options, prepared by Chef Stephen Orlick. 

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the costume and mask contests, as well as an art-inspired silent auction. Proceeds will benefit the LBCAC to realize its vision of creating an accessible and affordable epicenter for entertaining and thought-provoking art in the heart of Laguna Beach.

The “Mask-A-Rad” event is the first major fundraiser that the LBCAC has held since the world went on COVID-19 lockdown in March of 2020. 

Time to Mask Up masked woman

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Courtesy of LBCAC

According to the Recovery Support Function Leadership Group (RSFLG), “The experiential and in-person nature of the arts – whether visual arts, music, dance, or numerous other mediums – has made it especially difficult to sustain, as many venues have remained closed, or on limited operations. In the face of those challenges, arts organizations and artists have adapted and innovated in an effort to survive.” 

The LBCAC has taken advantage of this “downtime” to make improvements to their venue along the Forest Avenue Promenade, in downtown Laguna Beach. Beginning with improved air circulation, to reconfigured seating and hand sanitizer stations, the LBCAC is committed to offering unique events that are comfortable and safe for all who attend. 

“It’s been too long! We are so pleased to be hosting our first major fundraiser, with three premier music acts, a chef-prepared Tasting Menu, fabulous art in our silent auction, and great prizes for the best costume and the best mask. Our guests will enjoy all of this fun and entertainment outdoors, at scenic, seaside Moss Point, during sunset, the Saturday night before Halloween,” said Rick Conkey, founder of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center. “Let’s face it, the arts took a beating over the past 18 months and we truly need our supporters, both local and global, to help us keep up the unique program we offer.” 

There are several ways to get involved, purchase tickets for $125 each or a table of 10 for $1,000; donate to the LBCAC via their GoFundMe page; or reserve the LBCAC for your private event, and volunteer your time and/or skills. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For tickets, go here.

Bidding is now open for LCAD’s Spookeasy Silent Auction – Bids + Boos in the Canyon

Join Orange County’s most beloved art enthusiasts, fellow philanthropists and the extended community of Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) supporters, and bid on dozens of unique, exceptional works of art from renowned professional artists, as well as LCAD faculty and alumni. Proceeds from this event will benefit the LCAD Annual Fund.

All bidding for the Online Silent Auction will be done on the GiveSmart website through your smartphone. You don’t need to download an app. Click here to view the GiveSmart event page on your phone, which will allow you to view the artwork, place your bids, and receive real-time updates and alerts regarding the auction.

 Online bidding is open now and runs through Friday, Oct. 29 at 8:30 p.m. Note: The Handbid is no longer being used as the bidding app. Instead, they are utilizing GiveSmart, a web-based browser platform that doesn’t require the event participants to download an app. 

So, grab your smartphone, register for the online auction and start bidding on your favorites.

If you have questions, contact Tracy Hartman, director of development at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 949.376.6000, ext. 241.

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center presents Sordid Lives film screening on November 3

On Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center will host a film screening of Sordid Lives at the Arthouse Theatre. 

When Peggy, a good Christian woman, hits her head on the sink and bleeds to death after tripping over her lover’s wooden legs in a motel room, chaos erupts in Winters, TX.

When three generations of her family gather for the funeral, we learn the hilarious, sad, trashy truth of their “Sordid Lives.”

Laguna Beach Cultural Sordid Lives

Courtesy of LBCAC

“Sordid Lives” is a “A Black Comedy about White Trash”

The Chicago Tribune refers to the film as, “A train wreck you can’t help but watch.”

Grant funding was made possible by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Proof of vaccination, negative test or mask is required.

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center is located at 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.

Art & Nature featuring Rebeca Méndez opens at LAM on November 4

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) announces Art & Nature featuring Rebeca Méndez to open on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. 

Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. 

Art & Nature Rebeca

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Courtesy of LAM

Rebeca Méndez exhibition to open November 4

In addition to her many great permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. 

Among them are Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the “Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.”

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. Visit

LAM presents One Hour/One painting on October 28 

On Thursday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum (LAM) and author and critic Peter Clothier invite participants to spend a full hour in front of a single work of art.

LAM presents One Hour Clothier

Courtesy of LAM

Peter Clothier

Clothier is an internationally known writer, speaker and creative consultant who specializes in writing about contemporary art and artists, including the popular “Slow Looking: The Art of Looking at Art.” He has given talks for TEDx Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum and many other venues.

Advance tickets are recommended. Cost: $7 for members; $14 for non-Members.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. Visit

LagunaTunes singing through COVID

The LagunaTunes Community Chorus is live again! After months of Zoom meetings, recorded rehearsal tracks and recorded online “mini-concerts,” the chorus is cautiously reconvening in person. All participants must show proof of vaccination and rehearsals are held outdoors. It is not too late to join for the Fall 2021 season. Love to sing? No auditions are required and all skill levels are welcome. Preparations will soon be underway for a holiday performance in December, so keep your eyes out for more details.

LagunaTunes singing chorus

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Courtesy of LagunaTunes

Rehearsals are held Saturdays at 10 a.m. on the outdoor patio behind St. Mary’s Church at 428 Park Ave., Laguna Beach. The group’s motto is “creating community through the joy of singing.” Membership requirements: Proof of COVID vaccination, $50 membership fee, and a desire to add your voice and share the joy.

The chorus is led by Bob Gunn, popular director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone (no auditions). Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation, lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For more information, visit or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Art Museum exhibition showcases the works of Jessie Arms Botke

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will be exhibiting, “A Fanciful World: Jessie Arms Botke” from November 4 through January 16, 2022.

Bold, decorative studies of exotic birds and flowers are the subject of Botke’s most notable paintings. After settling in California, she reached her stylistic peak in the 1930s with eye-dazzling artworks adorned with gold and silver leaf, inspired by Japanese design and European landscape aesthetics.

Laguna Art Museum Botke

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Courtesy of LAM

Botke’s Cockatoos and Easter Lily Vine (Beaumontia), oil on panel, 1961, The Rowe Collection

Despite her prolific output and successful career, few exhibitions have focused solely on Botke’s work. This exhibition examines work from different periods of Botke’s career and travels including a magnificent 29-foot-long mural that once adorned the Oaks Hotel in Ojai, Calif.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

Artists applications now available for FOA summer 2022 Fine Art Show

The nation’s most prestigious, highly competitive, regional juried Fine Art Show at the Festival of Arts (FOA) in Laguna Beach is now accepting artist applications for the 2022 Fine Art Show. 

Featuring original artwork from Orange County’s finest artists and juried by some of the most recognized names in West Coast’s art community, the 2022 art show is slated to run July 5-September 2, 2022. 

Artists applications paintings

Submitted photo

FOA Fine Art Show accepting applications for 2022 Fine Art Show

Artists interested in applying for the 2022 Fine Art Show are required to submit three digital images per media, as well as complete an application form and send it to the Festival of Arts by Monday, November 1. 

Artists applying to the Festival of Arts must be able to show that they have resided in Orange County for at least one year prior to November 1, 2021. Jurying fees are $50 per medium submitted. Applicants must apply online through the festival’s website at

The festival jurors score the submitted artwork based on excellence of craftsmanship; facility with media; excellence in the use of design elements; and professional presentation. 

The panel of art experts jurying for the 2022 Fine Arts Show include:

–Selma Holo, executive director of USC Museum

–Kim Kanatani, museum director of the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art

–Juri Koll, founder and director of the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art

–Gerard Stripling, sculpture artist, Laguna Beach

When asked what he will look for while jurying, Juri Koll shared, “I look for something unique and different, authentic, meaning does it speak of its own mind? How does the work stand in the contemporary/art historical perspective? I most look forward to new discoveries.”

Koll has been an artist and curator since the 1970s. As founder and director of the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art (ViCA) since 2011, Koll curates and presents exhibits at museums, galleries, and fairs in the U.S. and abroad, such as the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Wilhelm-Morgner-Haus Museum in Germany, the Long Beach Museum of Art Annex, the Torrance Art Museum, the Museum of Art and History, OCCCA, Photo LA, Art Palm Springs, the LA Art Show, Gallery 825, TAG, and MuzeuMM Gallery. ViCA’s gallery is located in downtown Los Angeles. 

Joining Koll is the reputable Selma Holo who is the current executive director of USC Museums. Holo received her doctorate at UC Santa Barbara in Spanish Art, MA at Hunter College, CUNY, NY and BA at Northwestern University in Spanish language and literature. She taught art history at Art Center College of Design for three years before assuming the post of curator of acquisitions at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. After her stint there, she became director of the USC Fisher Museum of Art and then executive director of USC Museums.

Internationally renowned museum educator, scholar and collaborative arts producer Kim Kanatani is also looking forward to reviewing the submitted artwork for the Festival of Arts upcoming season. “I’m honored to be invited as a juror for the festival and committed to contributing to the cultural ecosystem of Orange County and beyond,” said Kanatani. She continued, “I always look forward to seeing and discovering the varied perspectives, materials, and approaches that an artist is interrogating and exploring.”

Kanatani joined the University of California, Irvine as the inaugural museum director of the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art (IMCA) in September 2019. She spearheads the development of this new university and community asset that exhibits and collects an inclusive historic arc of modern and contemporary California art. Kanatani comes to IMCA from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where she served as deputy director and the Gail Engelberg director of education since 2001.

Rounding out the selected jurors is Gerard Stripling, who is a self-taught artist that grew up in Los Angeles. A sculpture artist, Stripling has exhibited his work at FOA and has had great success in forming a clientele that recognizes the beauty and strength in his work. His sculptures are featured in many significant collections, both public and private. He lives in Laguna Beach and works full-time as an artist.

The Festival of Arts grounds is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road.

For more information on the jurors and how to apply, visit For more information on artist applications, contact the Exhibits Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LOCA arts challenge celebrates fall

LOCA Arts Education invites everyone to engage in seasonal arts challenges on Instagram. Creative types can get inspired by sharing their photos, and photos of their artwork, that follow fun and easy themes. 

“We want everyone to be involved,” said artist and LOCA board member Lisa Mansour. “This is a fun, easy way to express one’s creativity!”

LOCA arts women

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LOCA

“Fall Tapestry” is the theme of LOCA’s current Instagram challenge – Art by Sandra Jones Campbell

The newest challenge is “Fall Tapestry,” featuring images of colors such as golds, oranges, and browns throughout September and October, and patterns and textures in November.

All mediums are invited including collage, drawing, printmaking, painting, photography, and sculpture. To participate now, post photos or images of artworks, with fall colors, to Instagram and be sure to tag @locaarts and use the hashtag #locaartschallenge. 

For more information, visit @locaarts on Instagram or

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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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