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 Volume 13, Issue 62  |  August 3, 2021


A cultural cornucopia: Laguna’s local festivals attract a broad spectrum of international artists

By MARRIE STONE

Photos by Jeffrey Rovner

Although art speaks a universal language, it reflects personal experiences. Art exposes cultural customs, political norms, and religious practices. It can communicate private passions and individual fears. Often, and ironically, the more intimate the artistic expression, the more unifying it can feel. Even if artists’ backgrounds appear wholly different from our own, we might still find ourselves reflected in their imagery. Art knits us together through our shared human experience, evoking collective emotions – humor and whimsy, pleasure and beauty, sadness and despair. The more diverse the artistic voices, the richer the emotional encounters.

While the Festival of Arts requires its exhibitors to live in Orange County, many of them come from countries across the world. Almost 25 percent of the artists were born (and often raised) outside the United States. Twenty-nine of the 120 artists represent 21 countries located on six continents. There’s a South African glass artist and a South Korean oil painter. Photographers from Chile and Australia. Printmakers from Japan and India, and sculptors from Bulgaria and Germany. Two Taiwanese oil painters and jewelers from five different countries. 

The Sawdust Festival, which restricts exhibitor residency to Laguna Beach itself, includes artists from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Italy, and Sweden. The Laguna Art-A-Fair, not having any residency requirements, draws roughly 15 artists born and raised in countries like Nigeria, Turkey, Iran, Russia, Georgia, Belarus, Korea, France, and Cambodia. 

What these artists offer stretches beyond their talents. They bring cultural traditions, but they also bring unique upbringings, diverse perspectives, and rich educational backgrounds. Some grew up in nations that demanded conformity. Many received a rigorous and competitive education. Others enjoyed an uncommonly open childhood. A few endured wars and oppressive regimes. Several were saturated in European art, architecture, and literature. Some were isolated and oppressed while many were given free rein to explore the distant boundaries of their passions. They all contribute to the grand mixture of art on display at this year’s festivals. 

Here are a mere three of those many diverse stories.

India’s academic rigor allowed Vinita Voogd’s artistry to thrive

Born and raised in New Delhi to progressive parents who supported her artistic obsessions, Vinita Voogd studied in India’s finest institutions. By the age of three, she was enrolled in a competitive private school intended to educate the nation’s future leaders. Modeled after Britain’s prestigious Eton College and Harrow School, instruction took place ten hours a day, six days a week to students who were studying calculus and trigonometry by middle school. 

A cultural Vinita

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Vinita Voogd’s prints are on display at the Festival of Arts, Booth #72, through September 3

But rigorous study also meant monumental freedoms to follow individual passions. The school supported and indulged every whim. “From 2 to 5 p.m. every afternoon, students could study whatever they wanted,” Voogd says. “If you wanted to build remote control cars or make a plane, the school would hire an engineer to teach you. You could spend the afternoon in the sculpture studio. We had students doing drama, music, singing, anything you can think of.” 

It prepared Voogd well for her education at the University of Delhi, India’s equivalent of Harvard, where she received her BFA. Of the thousands of applicants to the College of Art, they accepted only 24 students. “You can imagine the education we got,” Voogd says. “The professors were all the highest in their fields. The best in India. Many of them had studios in Europe, so we were getting all the information and techniques from Paris, Berlin, and London.”

Though neither of Voogd’s parents were artists – her mother was an attorney and her father a businessman who came from a long lineage of bankers – they embraced her passions. At the age of 6, she announced her intent to become an artist. At the age of 20, she fell in love with an American man. “Some Indian men married European or American girls, but I was one of the first Indian girls to marry an American man.” 

Voogd followed her new husband back to Orange County, where she discovered her passion for printmaking. Though all her printmaking education was done in the United States, under the initial instruction of John Paul Jones at UCI – one of America’s foremost printmakers in the 1950s and 60s – Voogd brought a body of both discipline and deep knowledge of art with her from India. 

Today Voogd incorporates pieces of India into her prints. The vivid colors and saturated tones call out to India’s rich and vibrant culture. “Sometimes I’ll finish a piece, not knowing why I was putting those colors together. I’ll hang it in my studio and realize my mom had a sari in those colors, or my grandmother had something like that. The women wear really colorful clothes and a lot of my colors definitely come from that imagery.” 

Likewise, many of the papers she uses for printmaking reflect a diversity of cultures, particularly Korea, Thailand, Tibet and Nepal, as well as India. Some papers are embossed and other embroidered, a traditional Indian technique that goes back centuries. The papers are then mounted on a western rag paper. “In a subtle way, it’s a combination of eastern and western traditions in the print,” Voogd says. 

A cultural Voogd print

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Voogd’s prints reflect her cultural heritage through color choices, handmade papers, and her eye for composition and design

The prints contain flora and fauna, hints of nature that Voogd didn’t experience growing up in the crowded city of Delhi. “I started doing landscapes when I came to the U.S. because the landscape was so different here. The plants, the mustard growing on the hills in the summer. I’d never seen a Joshua tree. All that was so different.” But there are also elephants, camels, and other Indian iconography, reminiscent of home and reflecting a true melding of Voogd’s childhood traditions with her adult life in the United States.

“You have no choice but to draw from your experiences,” Voogd says. When she interrogates some of her young undergrad students about their artistic choices, they often confide they don’t know where their inspirations originate. “That’s fine,” she tells them. “But 20 years from now, you’ll know where it came from. Every decision comes from somewhere. It’s something subconscious. Even if you can’t articulate or understand it, hopefully one day you’ll know.” 

Yuri Kuznetsov’s charmed Russian childhood led to a life of artistic whimsy

“My childhood was a big time,” says mixed media artist Yuri Kuznetsov. “I feel like I was a child for 20 years. Thirty years. Maybe still. Now, every day, I’m playing, playing, playing.” 

Born and raised in Almet’evsk – the center of Russia’s oil industry where his father worked as an engineer – Kuznetsov’s childhood was fueled by folktales and physical and artistic freedoms. At age 9, after expressing an interest in art, his mother whitewashed his bedroom walls, armed him with colorful cans of paint, and allowed her son to spend his days expressing his imagination. He painted bright animals, animated people, cars, and creative creatures. When he ran out of room, she whitewashed over the old and Kuznetsov started anew.

Bedtime stories fed his creativity. Russian folklore and Egyptian iconography remain recurring themes in his work. “When mother said time for bed, I told her I like it so much, read me more,” he remembers.

A cultural Yuri

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Yuri Kuznetsov showcases one of his favorite acrylic oil paintings entitled “Funny Company”

Alongside the childhood tales, his mother read Pushkin and Dostoevsky. There were only two television channels that played an hour each day, so screen time was limited to 30 minutes. Kuznetsov spent his free time painting his walls, reading, or wandering the outdoors. “I could walk the streets without parents,” he says. “It was very safe, with big blocks of buildings that had playgrounds, parks, and yards. We knew everyone. We’d stay out until our parents called us home through the window.”

Although Kuznetsov was inspired by the work of Pieter Bruegel, Mikhail Vrubel, Magritte, Van Gogh, and Chagall, an academy teacher gave him some important artistic advice early in his career. “He told me, ‘You can study all these famous artists. But if you want to learn, you must go outside the building, lay face-down in the grass, and watch everything going on there. Look at all the creatures, listen to all the sounds. When you start to love nature and learn by experience, you can become great. Once you can imagine it, you can translate it into art.” 

Despite these whimsical freedoms, Kuznetsov’s education and artistic instruction were strict. In addition to the rigors of Russia’s traditional coursework in literature, history, mathematics, and science, training in the arts was regimented and controlled. By 14, Kuznetsov was sent to the bigger city of Kazan for his studies, and then to St. Petersburg where he attended the highly acclaimed Mukhina Art Academy. 

There, his training was methodical and disciplined. Students weren’t allowed to study certain artists – or even borrow books from the library – until they demonstrated certain proficiencies. “We were practicing all the time, all day long, making sketches, paintings, drawings,” says Kuznetsov. “We drew animals in a realistic way, practicing and gaining a lot of experience. Because once you know how to draw it realistically from experience, then your imagination can create something new.”

While working in Sochi from 1990 to 1998 with a group of artists and poets who called themselves the “Guild of the Beautiful,” his talents were spotted. He was recruited to the United States through the “People to People International Art Ambassador Program.” 

The rest, as they say, is history. Kuznetsov has been creating mixed media acrylic oil paintings ever since, showing his work in galleries, museums, and art shows across the United States, Germany, and Russia. His 24-foot public mural entitled Adventure – which depicts various fantastical creatures riding in a white limousine – has been on display at the corner of Ocean and Forest Avenue since 2002.

A cultural Yuri wall

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Yuri Kuznetsov’s work is on display at the Festival of Arts, Booth #17, and the Laguna Art-A-Fair, Booth B8 through September

“Of all the evils in the world, I choose none,” says Kuznetsov. “I prefer not to show dark sides. My only goal is to make people happy and smile.”

Pegah Samaie’s work responds to Iran’s cultural misogyny and oppression 

In contrast to her colleagues, Pegah Samaie’s upbringing in Tehran neither cultivated her creativity nor fostered her ambitions. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the country embraced a patriarchal system, severely restricting the rights of women. In 2017, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report ranked the nation 140th out of 144 countries for gender parity. From voting restrictions to mandatory dress codes, women also have no legal protections against domestic violence or sexual harassment. Men dictate their movements, their careers, their clothing, and other personal decisions. 

A cultural Samaie

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Pegah Samaie’s oil paintings are on display at the Festival of Arts, Booth #28, through September 3

“I felt that in my family,” Samaie says. “Household and society are together. When society wants something, that’s how families behave. My father had two girls and we lived in an apartment, so he wanted to be more in control of the family.” 

Beyond her personal freedoms and the onerous rules and restrictions during childhood, her father also wanted Samaie to study engineering. “Because I wanted to study art, I had a lot of difficulties in my family,” she says. “My father controlled me and didn’t want me to be an artist. He pushed me to study engineering. I studied two years and then got married. My husband pushed me to do whatever I wanted to do.”

Samaie lived in Tehran for thirty years. When she immigrated to the United States with her Iranian husband ten years ago, a psychological window opened for her. Free from her father’s career expectations, Samaie pursued an education in the arts, receiving both her BFA and MFA at the Laguna College of Art and Design. 

Now her work explores the contrast between her upbringing and her new life – and freedom – in the United States. The paintings represent the oppressions she experienced in Iran and the opportunities she’s enjoyed since leaving. “I eventually learned to use my past experiences consciously and subconsciously to express the reconciliation I am making with all the storms of my life,” she says. “In rising from the wreckage and painting politics and issues related to women’s rights, I am recovering, reclaiming, and redesigning what it means to be a woman.” 

Her paintings depict a lot of lace, which is worn during wedding ceremonies and represents marriage. In one of the more disturbing pieces entitled Am I Homemaker?, Samaie paints a five-year-old naked girl holding a doll. She’s surrounded by her childhood drawings but draped in the traditional red lace wedding attire. Child marriage in Iran remains a common phenomenon. Girls as young as nine can be married against their will, with over 40,000 girls under the age of 14 married in the past five years. The image explores the tension between a little girl’s childhood fantasy to playact motherhood with her doll, and an Iranian patriarchal culture that strips her of innocence at an early age. 

A cultural Samaie Wall

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“Am I Homemaker?” lays bare Iran’s cultural tolerance for child brides and the oppression of girls from a young age

“Women behind lace reflect my observation and experience as a woman in Iran,” Samaie says. “Lace is like a wall that separates women from the outside world. It shows them being pushed into darkness and into being second class.” 

Influenced by Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat, Samaie’s paintings are filled with iconography and symbolism. Birds represent freedom. Cups are the symbol of women, representing their inner strength and ability to bloom. Mars, a planet we’re only beginning to understand and explore, represents the aspiration of a new frontier for women. Fire signifies Iranian wars, protests, and revolution, while the sky holds hope for freedom and limitless possibility. Samaie’s women exist inside both spaces. 

Although Farsi is Samaie’s primary language, art is her voice. Her paintings provide the purest expression of her experiences and aspirations. They allow her to directly communicate both her past pain and the joy she’s now found in motherhood. Leaving Iran lifted Samaie’s veil, but art gave her the language to talk about it.

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR - AUGUST

Beth's Tuesdays Banner

AUGUST 2

Beth’s Tuesdays

Beth Wood’s monthly songwriter’s showcase on the first Tuesday of every month.

www.lagunalive.org

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.

949-715-9713

Rolston Hottorff Neptune webAUGUST 5

First Thursdays Art Walk

The museum offers free admission from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Now on view: Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns, Hymns to the Silence, and Matthew Rolston, Art People: The Pageant Portraits.

Purchase tickets HERE.

Laguna Art Museum

5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

FREE

949-494-8971

AUGUST 9 - SEPTEMBER 30

Laguna Beach City Hall “Dusk to Dawn’ Juried Exhibition

Annual “From Dusk to Dawn” Juried Nocturne Art Show at City Hall

Nocturne Paintings created by LPAPA artists

A celebration of artwork created between dusk and dawn!

www.lpapa.org

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

At the Laguna Beach City Hall

City hall hours Reception to be announced

FREE

949-376-3635

AUGUST 12

Live! at the Museum

Duo Gliss

Chamber Music Concert with Harp duo, Duo Gliss

www.lagunalive.org

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

Purchase tickets HERE.

949-715-9713

AUGUST 12

Live! at the Museum

Duo Gliss, founded by professional harpists Hee Jin Yoon and Ko Ni Choi, perform a concert inside the museum. Live! at the Museum is presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live!

Purchase tickets HERE.

LAM exterior (2)

Laguna Art Museum

7:00 p.m.

$5 - $7

949-494-8971

LAM exterior evening

AUG 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

The Show We Can’t Tell You The Name Of Until August 3

Fun for the whole family but we can’t tell you the name yet due to licensing restrictions. Mirth. Music. Mystery. How can you resist?

Purchase tickets HERE.

NO SQUARE THEATRE

7:30 p.m.

$25

949-310-6955

LAM exterior evening

AUG 18

“SWAY,” A Night of Big Band, Torch Songs, and Swinging Jazz

The Laguna Community Jazz Band, featuring vocalists Lisa Morrice and Rick Evans brings its exciting blend of big band, show tunes, and jazz standards to the FOA Summer Series.

Laguna Community Jazz Band

lagunaconcertband.com

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

949-294-2714

AUGUST 25

On The Green

Laguna Live! is Celebrating our community with two free concerts from past popular groups: on August 25th Hot Club of LA performs the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt and beyond.

Hot Club of LA

www.lagunalive.org

Laguna Live!

At the Festival of Arts

5.30 – 7 pm

Free with Festival admission

949-715-9713

AUGUST 26

In Conversation: Matthew Rolston

Cultural critic and journalist Christina Binkley interviews acclaimed photographer Matthew Rolston, whose solo exhibition Art People: The Pageant Portraits is currently on view, as well as the exhibition’s curator and former director of Laguna Art Museum, Dr. Malcolm Warner.

Purchase tickets HERE.

Laguna Art Museum

6:00 p.m.

$5 - $7

949-494-8971

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR by the Week CLICK HERE


Artist Joan Gladstone celebrates her first year at the Sawdust Festival

By DIANNE RUSSELL

In an April 2018 Stu News article, Lagunan Joan Gladstone admitted she loved to visit the Sawdust Festival – yes, because one day she might like to exhibit her paintings there – but also because of the creative energy pulsing within its Canyon setting. However, most importantly because the smell of sawdust reminded her of moments with her father when she was a little girl.

“He loved interior design, and to build furniture,” she says. “He’d say, ‘hold this piece of wood,’ and I’d breathe in the scent. Sometimes he’d take me from our home in Brooklyn to MOMA, and then we’d go eat somewhere in Little Italy, in Manhattan. Those are wonderful memories. My mom was creative too. An aunt was a sculptor.”

Now, after retiring from a 40-year award-winning career, Joan has achieved her goal by exhibiting at the Sawdust for the first time – and as it has been said – it’s never too late to reset your clock and realize your dreams.

Artist Joan closeup

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Joan has lived in Laguna for 30 years

Art journey

Joan’s artistic side came out early – she started drawing when she was five or six years old. She remembers that every time she brought her grandfather a drawing, it would strangely disappear. Then after spotting a large mound under the oilcloth on the kitchen table, she discovered he’d been sticking them under the cloth to save them.

Later she decided to study art. “I was a Fine Arts student at Boston University. I was sketching in charcoal. It was a very rigorous program and gave me a tremendous classical foundation. However, as a freshman, I decided it might be difficult to make a living as an artist.”

After coming to California in 1980, Joan switched gears and became a high-powered public relations/marketing executive and agency owner in Orange County in 1989. 

She quickly earned a reputation for her calm demeanor and smart strategic thinking, especially when her clients were undergoing crises – the unexpected death of a top executive in a plane crash; product recalls; toxic spills.

Before moving to Laguna in 1992, Joan lived in Irvine, but always had it in her mind to live here, feeling that to be in a community of artists would restart her love for painting. She says that while she always loved painting, it was challenging to find time to take art lessons, given her demanding career.

Artist Joan booth

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Joan loves vibrant colors! 

Then from 2007 to 2017, she took workshops with a local well-known artist. “I started taking classes (with the City of Laguna Beach) with Mike Hallinan. He was an exhibitor at the Sawdust for many years. He passed away last year. People don’t realize what a profound effect he had on his students. During the first class, I keep thinking ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ Then he gave an assignment to draw a tree. He came around and said to me, ‘That’s a fabulous branch,’ and at that moment, I felt okay. I took classes with him for seven years. His critiques were so insightful. It’s a poignant feeling to be here, not far from his booth.”

Additionally, she took classes at LCAD – an evening class in 1998, a full semester in 2017, and summer classes in 2018 and 2019. 

“There were times I felt resentful that my private time taking art classes was being sabotaged because of client needs, but then I decided to let it go, that it wasn’t meant to be at that time,” Joan says. “After I read Gail Sheehy’s book Passages, I realized that I could do the things I loved in sequence, and I didn’t have to do everything at the same time.

“We all have a dream, but we have no control over the timing,” she adds.

Eventually, however, the time came to retire and pursue her goal.

Artist Joan dusting

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Known as a colorist, her seascapes, landscapes, and portraits are expressive and beautiful 

“That was another lifetime,” she says. “I’m so proud of what I did in my career, but now I’m focused on art.

“I’m so grateful to other artists for their great tips and camaraderie. Painting is a solitary endeavor, so it’s wonderful to talk with fellow artists every day and become more integrated into Laguna’s artist community.” 

Building up to the show sounds like a daunting process. “I dropped off my application in mid-April, and they announced the exhibitors on May 5,” Joan says.

“There were two months to get ready. It was a challenge, but I like to work. Being in the business mindset, I asked, ‘how can I get it done within this time window?’ The other artists have been so generous with their advice. They are happy to welcome newcomers.”

Being a newbie exhibitor at the Sawdust, she says, “I talked to seasoned exhibitors, and everyone has been so helpful. There were a lot of details – from buying the envelopes – to the greeting cards and the clear plastic bags – and labels for them. 

“In addition to designing the booth – which consisted of two walls in a smaller location – with a woodworker, I was here physically learning. I worked with Dennis Shafer, who has built booths here before, on the layout. My husband Ed, who was an electrical engineer, did the lighting and became part of the process.

“He retired two years ago and is following his dream of being an actor.” 

Visitors

Clearly, visitors are glad to be out and about.

“The layout of the grounds this year has produced a more inviting atmosphere,” says Joan. “People are excited and happy to be here.”

“I thought I’d only be here a half an hour, but I stayed much longer,” is a refrain she heard often.

Artist Joan talking with visitors

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Visitors stop by to chat

“The number one comment I get,” Joan says, “is ‘your work is so clean and serene, and I love the colors. 

“I’m driven by color. I love color,” she says. “I take reality and make it stronger with color and intensify it. I usually work with one object or person and also iconic images. Visitors stop and look closely. I want them to be in the scene. Most have no people – like the Laguna Lifeguard Tower. I want viewers to have the sensation of being at the beach, a sense of bliss by projecting themselves into the painting, because no one else is there.”

Her work evolved over time. It began with vacations in Italy and Vietnam. “I started painting with more brushstrokes, and now the style is flatter with more about blocks of color,” she says. 

Joan says that when she’s creating, she’s not overthinking, but considering if there’s balance – and that while one color leads to the next, it almost always leads to something unexpected. “I’m making decisions about everything and always thinking about the imagery.”

Several people have said that her work reminds them of Edward Hopper’s pieces.

Artist Joan goats

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Joan Gladstone

Visitors love Joan’s goats! 

“I’m surprised at how many prints and greeting cards I’ve sold,” says Joan,

“But the biggest surprise is how much people love goats! I painted a whimsical painting, Laguna Goats, partly as a tribute to our hardworking goats and partly because they are so friendly and cute. Since I sold the original last year, I made Laguna Goat prints and cards. They’re big sellers! I’ve met people who grew up on farms, parents of girls who just got goats, people retiring to raise goats, and people from cities throughout California that use goats for weed abatement like we do here in Laguna.

“To have so many strangers compliment my work is the most uplifting experience I’ve had in my life.”

For a year and a half, she’s been a resident artist at Quorum Gallery, which is run by artists. “I’ve learned a lot,” she says.

More good news – “I’ve been asked for the first time to exhibit my work at Hilbert Museum of California Art in Orange on the Chapman College Campus – from August 20-November 18.” 

Sawdust so far…

As of this past Sunday, Joan has sold five small oil paintings of colorful Adirondack chairs, three medium-sized paintings, and one large painting of the Laguna Lifeguard Tower. 

“In addition,” she says, “I’ve sold more than 50 double-matted prints of my oil paintings and more than 300 greeting cards. I’ve gone through more than 1,000 business cards, too, so there’s potential to hear from visitors in the future. I didn’t know what to expect in my first summer at the Sawdust, so I’m thrilled with the response to my work.

“So many friends and family have been in my corner saying you need to be in the Sawdust.”

And now that she’s here, Joan says, “At this point, it’s an abundance of riches. I hope to paint forever.”

Stop by Joan’s booth - number 222.

The Sawdust is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information about Joan’s work, go to www.joangladstone.com

For more information about the Sawdust Festival, go to www.sawdustartfestival.org.

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR - SEPTEMBER

ArtWalkLogo

SEPTEMBER 2

First Thursdays Art Walk

The museum offers free admission from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Now on view: Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns, Hymns to the Silence, and Matthew Rolston, Art People: The Pageant Portraits.

Purchase tickets HERE.

Laguna Art Museum

5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

FREE

949-494-8971

SEPTEMBER 3, 10, 17 AND 24

Sunset Serenades

Enjoy Friday evenings of free live music performances in scenic Heisler Park.

9/3 - Basset Brothers (Guitar duo)

9/10 - West Coast Woodwind Quintet (Classical)

9/17 - Ron Kobayashi Trio (Jazz)

9/24 - Acoustic Asylum (Eclectic strings and accordion)

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

www.lagunabeachcity.net/culturalarts

City of Laguna Beach

Heisler Park Amphitheater, Cliff Dr and Jasmine St

5:30 p.m. – sunset

Free

949-497-0722

SEPTEMBER 6

Beth’s Tuesdays

Beth Wood’s monthly songwriter’s showcase on the first Tuesday of every month.

www.lagunalive.org

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.

949-715-9713

SEPTEMBER 9

Live! at the Museum

Chamber Music Concert with violinist, Parnas Harlin Duo, violin, and cello

www.lagunalive.org

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

Purchase tickets HERE.

949-715-9713

Parnas Herlin Duo

SEPTEMBER 9

Live! at the Museum

The Parnas Herlin Duo, American violinist Madalyn Parnas Möller and French cellist Juliette Herlin, perform a concert inside the museum. Live! at the Museum is presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live!

Purchase tickets HERE.

Laguna Art Museum

7:00 p.m.

$5 - $7

949-494-8971

SEPTEMBER 11

Voices In The Canyon

www.lagunalive.org

Laguna Live!

TBA

7 pm – 8 pm

TBA

949-715-9713

SEPTEMBER 18

Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day

Museum Day is an annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket.

LAM exterior evening

Purchase tickets HERE.

Laguna Art Museum

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

FREE

949-494-8971

SEPTEMBER 23

Jazz at the Woman’s Club

The ever-popular Laguna Live! Jazz returns with the Latin Jazz Syndicate featuring Bijon Watson on trumpet and special guest, Adonis Puentes.

Bijon New 2

www.lagunalive.org

Laguna Live!

At The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach

5:30-7 pm

Check website for ticket price.

949-715-9713

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR by the Week CLICK HERE


“Art in Public Places” – Breaching Whale by Jon Seeman

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

This is the twentieth in our weekly series featuring Art in Public Places. Since there are over 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 sculpture Breaching Whale by Jon Seeman was installed in Heisler Park in July of 2011.

Breaching Whale was commissioned and approved by both the Arts Commission and City Council but left homeless since its placement could not be agreed upon, but eventually it found its home at Heisler Park. 

Art in front whale

Click on photo for a larger image

The main body of the sculpture is made of cor-ten steel 

Originally intended for the Third Street frontage at the Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center, it was ultimately deemed too large and a potential traffic hazard and banished into storage. 

While stashed away, Seeman added the glass and stainless steel ornamentation to its base which suggest a frolic among waves. The main body of the sculpture is made of cor-ten steel, a material designed to rust on the surface without rusting through and stainless steel.

Seeman’s abstract sculptures evoke a sense of motion frozen in time. Heavy steel forms appear to float and align in an unexpected balance. He meticulously cuts, forms, and welds each steel shape in his art studio. Once all the forms are completed, they are chain hoisted into place and welded into a dynamic composition.

Born in Laguna Beach, Seeman attended Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles (1997) and University of California Irvine, Fine Arts (1984-1986). 

Art in glass

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Glass and stainless steel decorations 

As part of an “artistic family” with a mix of inventors, engineers, and artists in his ancestry, Seeman has art in his DNA. He completed his first steel sculpture at the age of fifteen. In his early twenties he moved from Laguna Beach to Manhattan, N.Y., to become immersed in the art world. Seeman apprenticed with several artisans learning the skills he needed before moving back to Laguna to start his own art studio and continue advanced art education. His goal was to become an artist with an unprecedented aesthetic.

Shortly after opening his Laguna art studio in 1979, a gallery sold his 10-foot-high sculpture titled Pierced Arc to a well-known movie maker. Movie stars and movie makers took notice of his large-scale steel sculptures and became his first collectors.

The structural integrity of steel has given Seeman the ability to create interactive compositions with a dynamic sense of suspension. “I design without regard to gravity which in turn provides me with the welcome challenges of fabrication,” Seeman says. Seeman constantly invents innovative construction techniques that allow him to exemplify forms in play with implied motion. 

Art in back whale

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The sculpture should be seen from all angles 

Along with an ever-growing demand by collectors worldwide, many cities and corporations have commissioned Seeman to design, engineer, and construct high visibility public sculptures.

Seeman also has two other pieces of public art in Laguna: High Flying in Bluebird Canyon, installed in 2009, and Rotating at the Festival of the Arts, installed in 2006.

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.

LAGUNA DANCE FESTIVAL SAWDUST M 0629  NOSQUARE H 0701

ORGANIZATION INFO

www.lagunabeacharts.org

City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

www.lagunabeachcity.net

Community Art Project (CAP)

www.caplaguna.org

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

www.foapom.com

First Thursdays Art Walk

www.firstthursdaysartwalk.com

KX 93.5 Radio

www.kx935.com

Laguna Art-A-Fair

www.art-a-fair.com

Laguna Art Museum

www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC)

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

Laguna Beach Live!

www.lagunabeachlive.org

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

www.lagunabeachsistercities.org

Laguna College of Art + Design

www.lcad.edu

Laguna Concert Band

www.lagunaconcertband.com

Laguna Craft Guild

www.lagunacraftguild.org

Laguna Dance Festival

www.lagunadancefestival.org

LOCA Arts Education

www.locaarts.org

Laguna Playhouse

www.lagunaplayhouse.com

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

www.lpapa.org

LagunaTunes

www.lagunatuneschorus.org

No Square Theatre

www.nosquare.org

Sawdust Art Festival

www.sawdustartfestival.org

[seven-degrees]

www.seven-degrees.com

Third Street Writers

www.thirdstreetwriters.org

Visit Laguna Beach

www.visitlagunabeach.com


Laguna Art-A-Fair’s summer Sip & Pour and other daily workshops unlock both the inner-artist and the inner-child

By MARRIE STONE

“If you made it through kindergarten, you can do this,” says acrylic pour instructor Emilee Reed. Laguna Art-A-Fair’s last scheduled Sip & Pour of the season happens this Friday evening, July 30th, at 4:15 p.m. Participants will be given two canvases and a drink voucher for a glass of wine. Aprons are provided and casual clothing is encouraged because things are about to get messy…and fun. 

Laguna Art A Fair workshop group

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Photo by Barbara Palmer Davis

Instructor Emilee Reed guides participants Pennilee Fallow, Kelli Amador, Mark Amador, Geri Medway, Richard Jenkins, and Lorna Jenkins at a July Sip & Pour event

Using metal chains, inflated balloons, egg cartons, ice cube trays, bubble wrap, and anything else Reed can conjure – and her imagination is active! – participants will produce two different acrylic pours. Swipe, smash, pull, or pour the paint, and every creation will look unique. 

“I get most of my tools at the hardware store,” says Reed. “I see something and think, ‘What if I tried that?’” Reed even adds silicone to the paint to create bubbles in the image which burst when the paint is spread. “It almost paints itself,” says Reed. “There’s no limit to the things you can do.” The effects are spectacular.

Laguna Art A Fair workshop pour

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Photo by Emilee Reed

An example of one of the pieces produced in the acrylic pour workshop

Originally a watercolor artist whose work is on display in local galleries and the Art-A-Fair, Reed discovered acrylic pours more recently. “Pour painting allows me to loosen up in a way much different than my watercolor style,” she says. “Paint flow and canvas manipulation combine to create endless unique and exciting design possibilities.” 

Although Friday evening’s event is the last scheduled Sip & Pour this season, additional August dates may be announced depending on participation and interest. 

Laguna Art A Fair workshop Emilee

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Photo by Barbara Palmer David

Instructor Emilee Reed begins her acrylic pour

For those more attracted to pouring paint than sipping wine, acrylic pour workshops are offered every Thursday and Friday afternoon on the Art-A-Fair grounds. Reed teaches the Friday class through August 27, introducing a different pour technique each week, ensuring no two classes will be the same. Barbara Palmer-Davis teaches on Thursday afternoons through September 2. Each class is limited to six participants, so students are guaranteed personal attention. “Look forward to controlling the uncontrollable and celebrating the unexpected,” Palmer-Davis says. 

Laguna Art A Fair workshop Gayle

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Photo by Emilee Reed

Participant Gayle Kerfoot demonstrates one of the techniques used in the acrylic pour

Daily summer workshops

In addition to the Friday night Sip & Pour and weekly acrylic pour classes, the Laguna Art-A-Fair offers daily artist workshops over a wide variety of mediums. Courses cover jewelry making and design, an old masters’ style oil painting class, printmaking, watercolor, basketry, and more.

“These workshops are the best kept secret of the festivals,” says veteran workshop participant Chalyn Newman. “Not enough people know about them. It’s an amazing opportunity to create pieces with people who make art their life’s work.” 

Newman has been taking Art-A-Fair summer workshops for years. Her parents took classes, and now Newman attends several different sessions with her 16-year-old daughter. “They’re good for all ages,” she says. “Three generations of my family have done these workshops.”

Laguna Art A Fair workshop jewelry

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Photo by Marrie Stone

Instructor Patrick Sullivan (shown with participants Pamela George and Julianne Zimmer) teaches a jewelry workshop on Sunday mornings

Class sizes are limited to four or six students to ensure personalized attention. Each session runs for four hours, either mornings or afternoons, and generally sell out fast. 

Here are just a few of their workshop offerings.

Beginning Watercolor with Geri Medway

Geri Medway’s watercolor class is an ideal choice for beginners. The workshop explores different watercolor papers and their qualities, as well as color theory, pigment types, transparency, and glazing.

“This is a total beginner watercolor class,” says Medway. “People need that solid foundation. We’ll cover basic washes and fundamental techniques about how much paint is on the brush versus the paper.”

Although each course is intended to be self-contained, and every week is roughly the same instruction, there are a few students who return. “I tell them not to expect anything new,” Medway laughs. But they enjoy practicing on their own.

“After lunch, students apply what they learn. They use a maple leaf and a philodendron leaf, and they practice the principles.”

A signature member of the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West, Medway’s work has been showcased in several Walter Foster publications, and is included in Art of the American West. Medway is an experienced instructor, having taught workshops in France, Yosemite National Park, and throughout southern California. She’s a longtime exhibitor who has garnered several awards and accolades for her paintings.

Laguna Art A Fair workshop Geri

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Photo by Marrie Stone

Watercolor artist Geri Medway showcasing her pieces in Booth A22 at Laguna’s Art-A-Fair

“When I’m working alongside the students and make a mistake, I’ll talk it out loud so they can learn from my process,” Medway says. “I’ve got no ego involved. We’re all learning.”

Emilee Reed, a watercolor profession in her own right, says, “Even I’m tempted to take Medway’s workshop. I know she can teach me some things.” 

Classes are held every Tuesday morning through August 31. 

Oil & Metal Leaf with Shaney Watters

Every artist can bring home the gold this Olympic season in Shaney Watters’ metal leaf workshop. Another ideal class for beginners, participants will learn how to work with metal leaf, and how to combine different mediums on paper. 

Each workshop is self-contained, meaning students will leave with a painting they could hang on their walls. “So far, one woman has come twice,” Watters says. “The first time she came, she didn’t know what to expect. When she came back, she had a full plan, and I was able to help her execute it. That was a lot of fun!”

Although Watters is a nature lover and gravitates towards wildlife in her art, participants can select their own subject matter. Watters provides a stack of magazines for inspiration. Or students can search their phones or bring their own images if they wish. “I’m teaching a technique,” says Watters. “I don’t have pre-planned images and require we’re absolutely doing these images today.”

Laguna Art A Fair workshop demo booth 1

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Photo by Marrie Stone

Laguna Art-A-Fair’s Demo Booth showcases the various pieces produced in the workshops. The gold leaf flamingo painting in the foreground is an example of Shaney Watters’ work, which is on display at Booth D27 through September.

Of course, the technique has been modified for time. In her own work, Watters takes days to paint the layers and allow the leaf to dry. In a four-hour workshop, participants will lay down the image separate from the gold leaf and paint around the oil. “It’s a very similar effect,” says Watters. And saves a lot of time.

Using solvent-free oil paints and other nontoxic materials, Watters remains conscious of people’s hesitations. “Some people shy away from oil painting because of the mediums and the chemicals,” says Watters. “I use solvent-free mediums. I try to be conscious of that in my own painting practice and pass that on in my workshops.” 

Watters has extensive experience in both fine art and instruction. She also brings a laid back, humorous, and calm demeanor to her courses. “My goal is for people to be engaged in some element of a new process and enjoy their time,” she says. “I see myself as an assistant. It’s not about copying what I do. It’s about me facilitating your process. Nothing beats the environment of creating within such a creative place. It’s just been amazing.”

Classes are held every Saturday morning through August 28 and are limited to four students.

Printmaking with Mo McGee

Not every printmaker requires a press. Discover the basic techniques of printmaking without the cost of expensive and bulky equipment with instructor Mo McGee. Students will learn how to cut linoleum and how to backwards plan their designs by thinking in reverse. 

McGee will teach various inking processes, how to use the tools and inks, and how to create gorgeous prints without a press. Subject matter will include monoprint-making, linoleum, and etching. 

“I enjoy randomness and trying new simple things,” says McGee. “As an instructor, I hope to help students find not only their creative voice but also their artistic confidence.” 

McGee holds both a BFA and an MFA and has worked with formal illustrations as well as printmaking. She can’t wait to share her enthusiasms with her students. 

Classes will take place on Friday, Aug 27 and Friday, Sept 3. 

Laguna Art A Fair workshop demo booth 2

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Photo by Marrie Stone

The art workshop demo booth showcases examples of jewelry, old masters’ style oil paintings, printmaking, watercolor, and collage

Collage with Agnes Copeland

Agnes Copeland’s collage workshops are quick to fill, and it’s easy to see why. The enthusiasm of her students is palpable. Participants learn the different materials and tools used in collage, and work with a wide variety of colorfully patterned papers. 

“I don’t think we can underestimate the value and benefit of the different paper choices Agnes provides,” says one participant. “The interesting textures and colors lead to creativity and wanting to try different things.” 

Using texture techniques and patterns to layer their collages, students also learn how to construct a painting through composition and design.

“Agnes is very creative and makes it all easy,” says workshop participant Fran Greenbaum.

“No experience is required,” says Chalyn Newman. “All the materials are there for you, so it’s a fun and relaxed environment, and a great way to feel like you can be an artist with someone there to guide you.” 

Copeland’s workshop is different each week, so students can sign up for successive weeks and expect to try something new. One week they collaged with koi fish, another with palm trees and buildings. “People keep repeating, so I have to work my brain to think of something new,” Copeland says. “We’re going to do elephants at the circus next time. That’s going to be a real challenge.”

Copeland has been teaching collage classes for eight years, though has done other workshops at Art-A-Fair since 1990. 

“We provide everything from beginning to end,” says Copeland. “Just come with an imagination.”

Classes are held on Wednesday mornings through September 1. 

Laguna Art-A-Fair is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.

More information on these and other artist workshops can be found on the Laguna Art-A-Fair website (www.art-a-fair.com/workshops) or by calling (949) 494-4514.

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.

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Sustainability and creativity are the front seat drivers for the FOA and Volvo Cars partnership

This summer, Volvo Cars is putting environmental sustainability and creativity in the driver’s seat at the popular Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach.

“Ever since our founding in 1927, Volvo Cars has been designing cars that put people first. We believe the Volvo lifestyle is about so much more than your vehicle. We are particularly pleased to help the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters bring back art, design, and a reimagined look at sustainability in 2021 and we proudly support their mission of art education and design,” said Aleck Brownstein, Sales and Marketing Director, Volvo Cars Western Region.

Sustainability vehicle

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Volvo’s first pure electric compact SUV, a 2021 XC40 Recharge, displayed near the front entrance

Festival and Pageant patrons will have the opportunity to discover Volvo’s first pure electric compact SUV, a 2021 XC40 Recharge, displayed near the front entrance of the art show. Not only is it designed for a smooth driving experience, but also to reduce environmental impact, including by sustainable materials.

If Festival goers like what they see, they may enter an opportunity drawing for a chance to win a 2021 XC40 Recharge, valued at $60,690. The winner will be able to design and personalize their Volvo, including choosing the vehicle color. Raffle tickets are $5 each or five tickets for $20. On Saturday, Aug 28, the lucky winning ticket will be pulled during the Pageant of the Masters Celebrity Benefit. Volvo donated the vehicle in support of the nonprofit Festival of Arts’ mission; proceeds will go to art education programming.

Sustainability mural

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A future imagined by artist Yazmany Arboleda

“We are grateful for Volvo’s partnership, especially after the financial challenges we faced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared David Perry, Festival of Arts President. “We applaud Volvo for setting a goal of only producing and selling fully electric vehicles by 2030.” 

Volvo is also providing complimentary EV charging for the ChargePoint chargers installed by the City of Laguna Beach and located in City parking lot #11 across the street from the Festival grounds. “Volvo supports drivers who already embrace an electric vehicle lifestyle for a more carbon neutral future and the City of Laguna Beach for having the foresight to invest in a charging infrastructure for their residents,” added Brownstein.

Also on display at the Festival of Arts is a mural by renowned Brooklyn artist and architect Yazmany Arboleda, who imagines a vision of what a more sustainable Laguna Beach could be in 2030. Commissioned by Volvo, the mural is just a small example of the car company’s commitment to supporting the arts and encouraging creativity and sustainability.

“For generations, the arts have served as catalysts for important conversations, inspiring cultural and social movements. Volvo understands that and believes its focus on environmental sustainability will lead to beneficial and progressive change,” concluded Perry.

For more information on the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and Pageant of the Masters, visit www.foapom.com.

For more information on Volvo Car USA LLC, visit www.volvocars.com/us.


Gallery Q at the Susi Q reopens and calls for artists for Harmonious Diversity exhibit

Gallery Q is excited to announce its first in-person exhibit of 2021, Harmonious Diversity. Orange County artists of all ages are invited to “let their imagination be their inspiration” and submit their artwork to Gallery Q on Wednesday, Aug 18 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5:30- 6:30pm.

“We’re delighted to reopen after months of being closed and eager to celebrate our local artist community,” said Judy Baker, Gallery Q’s Arts Coordinator. “While concerns of COVID do continue, recommended safety precautions and building protocol will be observed.”

Gallery Q Sabra

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Sabra Lande, “Untitled”

Mediums accepted for this exhibition include collage, paintings, drawings, mixed media, digital art, photographs, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, mosaics, relief, or ceramics. There is an entry fee of $25 for the first piece, additional entries are $5 each with a limit of two. Scholarships are available to individuals 65+ on a limited income. Visit the Susi Q front desk (380 Third St) or download the guideline and application form here. 

A free Artist’s Reception with light refreshments will take place on the Susi Q Senior Center’s patio on Friday, Aug 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Susi Q Executive Director Nadia Babayi adds, “This special exhibit has been made possible through the generous underwriting of Carla and Jeff Meberg. We are grateful for their gift.”

Gallery Q Gretchen

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Gretchen Shannon, “Handwoven”

The exhibit will be on display from August 25 through October 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Many of the art pieces in the show will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Laguna Beach Seniors.

Gallery Q, located at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center, is a public exhibition space dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the talent of emerging, semi-professional, and professional artists in Orange County. 

For more information, visit www.thesusiq.org or call (949) 715-8106.


Laguna Live! announces upcoming in-person events

There are just a few seats left for Laguna Live!’s Beth’s Tuesdays today, August 3, with legendary Jack Tempchin and funkster Alfred Johnson. The show begins at 7 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235 Forest Ave. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Laguna Live Jack

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Jack Tempchin to perform tonight for Beth’s Tuesdays

The show can also be viewed virtually, starting at 7 p.m. on the Laguna Beach Live! Facebook page, YouTube channel, CreativeXchange, or at www.lagunalive.org after the concert. 

Laguna Live Alfred

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Alfred Johnson will also perform this evening at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center 

On Wednesday, Aug 11, Laguna Live! is back on Forest Avenue Promenade, with Carol Roman from 5:30-7 p.m. An accomplished pianist, educator, director, and composer, Carol has directed and played for musical theater shows throughout the greater Los Angeles area. She has released four CDs, including her own original music, which she orchestrated and arranged. Her latest single, “Hidden from View,” recently aired on KJAZZ. 

Laguna Live group

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Bijon Watson and the Latin Jazz Syndicate return to the stage September 23 

On Thursday, Sept 23, Laguna Live!’s much missed Jazz returns to the Woman’s Club with Bijon Watson and the Latin Jazz Syndicate featuring Cuban vocalist Adonis Puentes. The concert is from 5:30-7 p.m. with no intermission. There will be a cocktail hour prior to the concert with drinks offered by the Wine Gallery. 

Laguna Live Puentes

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Cuban vocalist Adonis Puentes to join the stage on September 23 

Seating is limited and will be theater style in order to have comfortable social distancing. Tickets are $30 and will go on sale to Laguna Live! members first on August 3 and to the public on August 10. 

For more information on all upcoming events, visit www.lagunalive.org.


Laguna Playhouse announces its 100th season of shows – a century of theatrical artistry

Laguna Playhouse is thrilled to announce its doors will open after a too-long 18 months, so they can (finally!) celebrate their 100th year of creating exceptional theatre in one of Southern California’s most beautiful and vibrant communities. 

Comments Executive Director Ellen Richard and Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, “We cannot wait to welcome you, our subscribers, and audiences back to the Laguna Playhouse after this unprecedented intermission. It may have been delayed, but we are going to celebrate our 100th season in style with shows that are uplifting, hilarious, and life-affirming!” 

The Playhouse’s 100th season begins with Denny and the Dreamers singing all your favorite 1960s songs in the smash-hit, jukebox musical Sh-Boom! Life Could Be A Dream; followed by the heart-warming musical drama, based on the hit film, The Spitfire Grill; then Ella Fitzgerald will take the stage in First Lady of Song: Alexis J. Roston Sings Ella Fitzgerald; next is a play you’ll find almost perfect as you experience the funny and heartwarming, Almost, Maine; the summer will bring the musicals you are going to dance in the aisles to, starting with the infectious songs of the Bee Gees in Saturday Night Fever; and the Playhouse will complete its season with the exhilarating Xanadu! It is a season worth the wait and a spectacular way to welcome you back to the Laguna Playhouse.

Sh-Boom! Life Could Be A Dream October 13-31, 2021

Take a trip to Springfield and meet the Crooning Crabcakes as they prepare to enter the Big Whopper Radio contest and realize their dreams of making it to the big time! The 60s hits say it all: “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on my Pillow,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops,” and “The Glory of Love.” This delightful, award-winning jukebox musical, written and created by Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes), will leave you laughing, singing, and cheering – let’s hear it for the boys!

The Spitfire Grill – January 26-February 13, 2022 

Run away to a small town where they “roll the streets up at night” and find yourself in a café that serves up a soul-stirring story with a strong cup of joe. This joyous musical bubbles over with toe-tapping fun and soaring, heart-felt melodies – and is proof that a new beginning is as close as your own back porch.   

The music and book are by James Valcq, the lyrics and book are by Fred Alley, and it is based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff

Laguna Playhouse Ella

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Courtesy of Artists Lounge Live

Alexis J. Roston stars in “First Lady Of Song: Alexis J. Roston Sings Ella Fitzgerald”  

First Lady Of Song: Alexis J. Roston Sings Ella Fitzgerald – March 2-20, 2022

Presented by Artists Lounge Live, award-winner Alexis J. Roston salutes America’s favorite jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. Roston is known for her mesmerizing star turn as Billie Holiday in multiple productions of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, earning Chicago’s Jeff Award and Black Theatre Alliance Award. In a spellbinding concert performance, Roston effortlessly emits the sultry swing and playful joy that made Ella an American treasure. 

Almost, Maine – April 20-May 8, 2022 

Written by John Cariani. Propelled by the mystical energy of the aurora borealis and populated with characters who are humorous, plain-spoken, thoughtful, and sincere, Almost, Maine is a series of loosely connected tales about love, each with a compelling couple at its center, each with its own touch of sorcery. Strangers become friends, friends become lovers, and lovers turn into strangers. On one cold and magical winter night, the citizens of Almost experience the life-altering power of the human heart.

Another Spectacular Show! TBA – May 25-June 12, 2022 

The Playhouse is working hard to find the perfect show to fit into this special season. 

Saturday Night FeverJune 29-July 17, 2022 

Tony Manero doesn’t have much going for him during the weekdays. On the weekends, however, he is the king of the dance floor at the local disco where he and his friends go to dance the night away. When a big dance competition is announced, he wrangles the beautiful and talented Stephanie to be his partner. As the two train for the big night, they start to fall for each other as well. Packed with disco classics including the Bee Gees’ hits “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “Tragedy” and “More Than A Woman,” the musical is filled with explosive energy and sensational choreography.

The show is based on the Paramount/RSO Picture, based on a story by Nik Cohn, the screenplay is by Norman Wexler, stage adaption is by Nan Knighton, and it features songs by The Bee Gees.

Xanadu August 3-21, 2022 

Xanadu follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., in 1980 on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time – the first Roller Disco. (Hey, it’s 1980!) But, when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation.

The book is by Douglas Carter Beane; music and lyrics are by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar.

Subscriptions to the 100th Anniversary Season are now available. Seven-play season tickets range from $268-$408 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.comor by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787).                                                                                                                   

The box office is open Mondays through Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The box office will open in September and will be open until showtime on performance days).

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Laguna Playhouse COVID-19 protocols: Laguna Playhouse will offer both vaccination-only and open-to-all performances this season. The first two weeks of each run will be for fully vaccinated patrons only, followed by a week of open performances for all audiences. Subscribers who would like to move to a week that better serves their needs can do so. Any additional protocol will depend, of course, on governmental regulations.


Laguna Live! receives FOA Foundation grant

Laguna Live! recently received a $3,500 grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation. Since the start of the pandemic, when indoor concerts and classes were prohibited, Laguna Live! has continued to bring the joy of music in unique ways.

Laguna Live! offered a free Zoom class for seniors with chamber music rising stars; free live streaming of Beth’s Tuesdays, a singer-songwriter showcase; prerecorded musicians at the Laguna Art Museum for free access any time as well as a fun educational segment on the different instruments for students and adults; presented musicians at the Promenade last summer (free); live streamed seven free jazz sessions; and had two ticketed drive-in concerts.

Laguna Live! stage

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

Laguna Live! presented The Miskey Mountain Boys at the Festival of Arts last week

As caution continues in the 2021-22 year, Laguna Live! is presenting two concerts at the Festival of Arts grounds (free with Festival admission) and have agreed to bring musicians back to the Promenade. The organization plans to continue some of its new endeavors and make room for people to enjoy them in person as well as via live streaming and/or Zoom. The plan is to have an indoor concert in September and then resume the indoor cabaret jazz and benefit concerts in January. Laguna Live! continues to reach out to the Boys & Girls Club and the schools.

For more information on Laguna Live!, visit www.lagunalive.org.


Festival of Arts debuts new, free smartphone app

One of the nation’s most iconic art festivals is offering art at your fingertips with a new, state-of-the-art approach. The nonprofit Festival of Arts, producer of the popular Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, debuted the Festival of Arts Laguna Beach smartphone app just as the 2021 summer events returned following a year on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now available on iOS and Google Play app stores, this free and easy-to-use app is a personal guide to all things Fine Art Show and Pageant of the Masters. Designed to help guests get more out of their experience, the app includes all the must-know information about planning your visit.

Festival of phone

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App offers easy access to event schedules, artists, pageant seats, maps, and more

“The Festival of Arts has so much to offer visitors. With more than 100 artists, the Pageant of the Masters production, dozens of live music events, art tours, special exhibits, and more, the experience can seem overwhelming,” shared Jeff Rovner, exhibiting artist and Festival of Arts Board Member. “But with our new mobile app, guests can plan their visits and navigate the grounds with confidence.”

The app project was spearheaded by Rovner and produced in collaboration with the Festival of Arts Marketing and PR team of Sharbie Higuchi and Meghan Perez with the goal of making art more accessible to patrons, collectors, and art lovers through technology. It offers guests an innovative and convenient way to stay informed and connected to the arts all summer long.

Users may browse a custom-made section featuring the 2021 Festival exhibitors, their artwork, and biographies. Plus, they will be able to browse by mediums, make a list of their favorite artists, locate artists’ booths on the interactive grounds map, and get in touch with the Festival artists directly from the app. 

The Festival of Arts app also allows users to learn about the Pageant’s theme and theater etiquette, locate their Pageant seats, discover upcoming events, see who’s performing on the Festival’s concert stage, purchase reserved concert seating, and so much more! 

Click here to download the free official Festival of Arts Laguna Beach App or go to your app store and search Festival of Arts Laguna Beach. 

Rovner adds, “Our new Festival of Arts mobile app is so simple and comprehensive, it’s like having a tour guide in your pocket. Our guests will soon wonder how they ever visited us without it.”

Connect with a click to the Festival’s over 100+ exhibiting artists and the Pageant of the Masters on the Festival’s new app. Another way to stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show is to visit www.foapom.com or follow @FestivalPageant on social media.


LagunaTunes celebrates new optimism as COVID restrictions relax and summer begins

LagunaTunes Community Chorus celebrates downtown businesses – and renewed optimism – as COVID restrictions begin to relax and we ease into summer.

Throughout a long and difficult year, LagunaTunes members have continued to rehearse separately, record separately, and gather online to produce another mini-concert (three songs, only 11 minutes long). So, channel your inner Bee Gees and hum along with this tribute to community, the end of gray and gloom, and an invitation to enjoy downtown Laguna Beach!

Lagunatunes celebrates group

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LagunaTunes members celebrate renewed optimism

Watch “Comin’ Alive” at this link: https://youtu.be/5qNJQyCJr54, or view it on the group’s website at www.lagunatuneschorus.org.

It is with much gratitude that the group acknowledges the Festival of Arts Foundation Grant ($3,000 for 2021) and the City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Grant ($3,000 for 2021-22). Their support has helped to continue the survival of the arts through a dark time in our community.

Although LagunaTunes in-person rehearsals and performances are temporarily suspended, members look forward to safely resuming in the fall. The chorus is led by Bob Gunn, popular director of Orange County’s MenAlive 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 by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

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

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