Volume 14, Issue 78  |  September 30, 2022

Locally composed: Laguna Beach’s Artist in Resident premieres site-specific piece


Summer may be over, but the premiere of Laguna Beach Suite: From the Canyons to the Sea brought the Festival of the Arts facility to life on September 24. In fact, the music seemed to resonate off the canyon walls which inspired part of the suite by composer Pamela Madsen.

“I love site-specific work,” she said, and as the Laguna Beach 2020 Artist in Residence, she was thrilled to bring her nationally recognized talent to fruition in her own hometown, albeit two years later than originally planned.

“I go into a place and listen carefully. I listen to all the sounds in the environment and bring them into my music.” And during 2020, as COVID changed everything, the sounds of Laguna Beach were no exception. 

locally composed show

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

Composer Pamela Madsen introduced her work during its world premiere at the Festival of Arts on September 24. As the Laguna Beach Artist in Resident, she composed “Laguna Beach Suite: From the Canyons to the Sea” in 2020.

Finding the sounds in silence 

Madsen wandered about a town that was largely vacant and, to an untrained ear, seemingly quiet. There were no throngs of tourists laughing, shouting or talking. Crashing ocean waves were not offset by car engines racing past.

“The quiet of the town was really amazing for me as a composer,” she said. “That just washed over me. The streets were empty. I could wander through the streets – I didn’t have to worry about cars – and I thought of the significance of the years and what it was like 100 years ago, with poets and artists and the origins of our town as an artists’ colony.”

locally composed mug

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Courtesy of Pamela Madsen

Composer Pamela Madsen is also a professor of music composition and theory at Cal State Fullerton and specializes in site-specific compositions 

Reflecting Laguna Beach’s history

While some felt alienated by the orange construction fencing keeping them from the beach, Madsen experienced a welcoming feeling.

“I went every day to the ocean to be inspired and to listen,” she said.

She realized that, despite all the changes, there were fundamental scenarios taking place that also took place a century earlier when the country was emerging from the Spanish Flu pandemic, the scars of the Civil War were still fresh and economic and social divisions were creating havoc. 

In addition to being a composer, Madsen is also a historian and theorist. 

“I’m allowed to shine a light on things that are beautiful or need listening to,” she explained of her music. “It is not just what I’m hearing – they’re not just songs – but they’re songs that have a social impact as well – social issues and concerns are highlighted.”

In addition to her landscape-inspired creations (she also produces an annual piece for Crystal Cove and has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts), Madsen is a professor at Cal State Fullerton and her opera Why Women Went West just premiered to rave reviews. Excerpts from the opera were presented by Brightwork newmusic, featuring soprano Stacey Fraser, at the Festival show before the suite was performed.

locally composed concert trio

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

The Eric Dries Trio, including Eric Dries, Trevor Ware, Peter Buck and vocalist Meloney Collins are joined on stage with composer Pamela Madsen following their performance of Laguna Beach Suite

While composing Laguna Beach Suite, Madsen delved into the past with vigor, including discovering poetry that reflected the three composition areas: Main Beach, Heisler Park and Village Entrance – from the Canyon to the Sea. Initially, there was to be one piece for each area and it would be performed on site. But when COVID restrictions made three unique gatherings a thing of the past, Madsen shifted gears, decided on one performance and added another sequence to each piece. The Laguna Beach Suite, which is now about a 30-minute performance, is enhanced with the lengthier compositions. 

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SEPTEMBER 9, 16, 23, AND 30

Sunset Serenades

Laguna Dance Festival

The public is invited to attend the free Sunset Serenades concert series at the Heisler Park Amphitheater on Fridays, from 5:30 p.m. to sunset.

9/9 - Ryan Heflin (Singer/Songwriter)

9/16 - ACE Trio (Chamber music)

9/23 - Pacific Opera Project (Opera)

9/30 - Jason Feddy (Beatles Sing-A-Long)

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

City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue

Fridays, 5:30




LagunaTunes rehearsals resume

Laguna Dance Festival

Rehearsals for the fall term will start, in preparation for our “ABBA Rocks the 80s” concert, which was postponed because of Covid. The concert will be in November.

LagunaTunes Community Chorus

Thurston Middle School

7-9 PM



Artist in Residence Concert


The public is invited to attend a presentation of musical composositions "Laguna Beach Suite: from the Canyons to the Sea" by Laguna Beach Artist in Residence Dr. Pamela Madsen. These works, created for and inspired by Laguna Beach, will be performed by the Eric Dries Trio. The concert will also feature selections from "Why Women Went West" performed by Brightwork newmusic. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

City of Laguna Beach

Festival of Art, 650 Laguna Canyon Rd

5:00 p.m.




Youth Art Advisory Board

Laguna Dance Festival

Deadline to apply: September 19, 2022.

Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 24 and be a resident or enrolled full-time in a school or college in Laguna Beach. The Youth Art Advisory Board serves as youth ambassadors to the City’s Arts Commission in an advisory capacity. The Board gives ambitious youth leadership the opportunity to participate in local advocacy and participate as agents of change in the Arts. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

City of Laguna Beach

Apply HERE.



LPAPA: From Dusk to Dawn

The first-floor hallways of City Hall serve as a gallery space featuring local artists and arts organizations. The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association returns for their annual exhibition of landscapes this August - September. City Hall exhibits are free to view and open to the public during business hours.

City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue

Mon – Thurs – 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Every other Fri. – 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.




Gallery Q’s far-reaching approach welcomes a variety of artists with themes ranging from cultural fusion to celebrating nature 


Leave it to Laguna Beach to not only have a community and senior center, but to also have a gallery within this civic-minded structure. 

“We’re very pleased we can show artwork in this setting,” said Bill Atkins, art director for Gallery Q, which is located within the Susi Q Center. He explained the gallery is a labor of love and is essential to the community because of the diverse artists who can be represented. 

In a town that has juried shows and exclusive galleries, Gallery Q is a welcome beacon for artists who may be intimidated to try elsewhere.

“We are open to artists of all levels and all ages,” said Judy Baker, who wears the dual hat of finance manager and Gallery Q arts coordinator. “It’s a nice opportunity for them to exhibit here, especially if they haven’t had the courage to try for a festival or if they’re new in the area. “

Gallery Q Library

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Photo by Bill Atkins 

The mantle in the elegant and inviting library room at the Susi Q doubles as part of the Gallery Q display area

The gallery is a great leveling ground, with new artists mingling with established artists who are veterans at the Sawdust Festival or Festival of the Arts. 

Atkins says the planning for Gallery Q’s five annual shows starts in January when he and Baker meet to decide the exhibition titles. Although they mix it up throughout the year in the fall, for the past five years, they’ve been thrilled to dovetail with the Laguna Art Museum’s popular Art & Nature Festival. 

“This is always a popular show,” said Atkins. “Everyone loves nature, especially artists.” According to Baker, the synergy by having artists at the Gallery Q pursue a topic at the same time as the Laguna Art Museum is energizing. “It just gets the whole community involved. We really like to collaborate with other organizations.” 

Pieces for the show will be accepted on October 13 at the Susi Q and the exhibition will run from October 19-December 14. As with all Gallery Q shows, there will be an elaborate public reception, with wine, music and food, this year on October 21 starting at 5 p.m.

“We often have over 120 people at receptions,” Baker said of the 90-minute indoor and outdoor event. “People love meeting the artists and talking with them, and the artists love showing off their work.” 

Gallery Q organizers

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Courtesy of Susi Q 

Organizers gathered during last year’s opening reception of the Gallery Q Nature exhibit including, (L-R): Judy Baker, Gallery Q arts coordinator; Carole Zavala, Gallery Q founder; Julie Perlin Lee, Laguna Art Museum executive director; Bill Atkins, Gallery Q art director and Nadia Babayi, Laguna Beach Seniors executive director

In addition to the people who come specifically to see the work at Gallery Q, hundreds of others see the art as they pass through the center’s hallways and in the five rooms where classes and meetings are held. 

In fact, it was the organic, constant foot traffic, as well as the lovely lighting, that inspired artist Carole Zavala, more than a decade ago, to establish a gallery in the community building said Atkins. 

Gallery Q opening

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Courtesy of Susi Q   

The opening receptions for the Gallery Q shows attract a variety of people from throughout the community and offer artists a chance to meet with the public 

Although it took a few years, grants and a lot of determination to get Gallery Q established, it is now on steady footing explained Baker, and it operates with a budget under $10,000 annually. It is all museum-quality hanging and lighting options – a feature few community galleries could ever imagine. As a nonprofit, the gallery does not handle sales of artists’ work, but Baker is able to connect potential buyers with artists who have expressed a willingness to sell. Each show always has a few pieces that sell and Baker said she is probably the most ardent consumer, as she walks past the displays daily on her way to the office. 

GalleryQ hangings

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Photo by Bill Atkins 

The fully functioning museum-quality display system throughout the building allows all the art shown in Gallery Q to hang without ever having to hammer a nail in a wall   

 “There’s always a piece or two that just really speaks to me,” Baker laughed. 

In addition to the Nature Show, this year Gallery Q hosted a popular show entitled Animals: Wild and Not so Wild

“Many artists approached me concerned because they didn’t paint animals,” recalled Atkins.

 “I told them to just have fun with it; I even suggested maybe it could be a picture of their ex. Don’t just say, ‘I don’t do animals so I’m not going to participate.’ If you can make the title work, it’s great. We just want artists to enjoy themselves.”

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LOCA Brunch with Glass Artist John Barber

Laguna Dance Festival

Enjoy champagne brunch buffet, and presentation by John Barber, about his fascinating pyrographic drawing and painting process.

LOCA Arts Education

Sawdust Festival Grounds


$30 / Free to LOCA Members

Purchase tickets HERE.


OCTOBER 12, 19, 26, NOVEMBER 2

Paint Like Manet


Four-part workshop: Learn to paint a still-life floral in the style of Edouard Manet as taught by Lani Emanuel.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Beach Community Center

1:00-4:00pm each class

$200 / $100 for LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.



“Art in Public Places” – Support by Louis Longi


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

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.

Overlooking Main Beach, Support was created by local artist Louis Longi in 1999. The 4-foot-high by 12-foot-long cast bronze and wood sculptural bench is located at Heisler Park, 375 S. Cliff Drive. Support was funded through a donation by the Inn of Laguna. It pays tribute to the City of Laguna Beach and how they support our local artists through commissioned projects and annual art festivals.

art in three sculptures

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The installation gives visitors a respite at one of the most panoramic views in town

An artist whose career spans more than 35 years, Longi’s sculptures use “lost-wax” foundry, a technique using wax to create a mold into which metal is later poured. Longi then welds together the bronze pieces extracted from the mold. 

In 1987, Longi earned his degree in the Fine Arts Program with emphasis in sculpture and painting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. From 1988-1990, he was in an apprenticeship in bronze sculptures and lost wax foundation at the Ed Dwight Studio, Denver, Colo. and from 1990-1991, he was in an apprenticeship at Fedde Bronze Works, Denver, Colo.

art in front view

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The bench is in front of “Seabreeze” created by Sukhdev Dail

According to Longi, “My objective as an artist is to sculpt forms that evoke emotion. The genesis of the sculpture is mine. The completion…is limited only by the imagination of the viewer.”

Longi settled in Laguna in 2008. In collaboration with artist John Barber, Longi also created Beacon and Usher as part of Art in Public Places. It’s located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.

This is the 78th 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.

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.



Paint Like Manet


Four-part workshop: Learn to paint a still-life floral in the style of Edouard Manet as taught by Lani Emanuel.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Beach Community Center

1:00-4:00pm each class

$200 / $100 for LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.



Make Kirigami Holiday Cards

Laguna Dance Festival

Two-part workshop: Carolyn Machado and Mia Moore will teach how to make cards using Kirigami paper folding and collage techniques.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Beach Community Center

1:00-4:00pm each class

$100 / $50 LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.



ABBA Rocks the 80s!

Laguna Dance Festival

An upbeat program of tunes from the 1980s, featuring the popular group ABBA!

LagunaTunes Chorus

Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theater

4:00 PM




Laguna Art Museum celebrates new Philanthropic Giving Group with inaugural dinner and awards night

Expanding support efforts and enhancing its mission to take the museum to greater heights, Laguna Art Museum (LAM) recently created the Directors Circle, a new high-level patron group of museum members whose philanthropic support will allow the museum’s mission to flourish. 

The Directors Circle giving directly supports the museum’s major initiatives, education programs, exhibitions and community engagement. Members of this special group have access to unique opportunities and connect with other patrons to learn about museum initiatives and help the organization continue to grow as a sustainable and dynamic institution. 

Laguna Art group

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Courtesy of Laguna Art Museum

(L-R) LAM Board Chair Joe Hanauer, Anna Hills Award Recipient Ranney Draper, LAM Trustee Rick Balzer and LAM Executive Director Julie Perlin Lee

“While we have a strong staff and Board of Trustees at the museum to guide us, it will take individual members of our community to achieve our goals and vision of being a locally loved and nationally recognized organization,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum. “In the past year, we have developed several programs, public and private, and among the most important is the establishment of the Directors Circle.”

On September 15, the museum celebrated the newest giving group with an inaugural dinner and awards night held at the beautiful Montage Laguna Beach, a major sponsor of the evening. The event was filled with energy and excitement, as Haddy Music provided entertainment, with florals from Cargo Creative, and delicious food and cocktails. Guests were also treated to limited-edition Electro Florals created by the 2022 Directors Circle featured artist Baldemar Fierro, and joined by artist John Sonsini, whose work is currently on display at the museum, and the forthcoming 2022 featured Art & Nature artist Rebeca Méndez.

Laguna Art building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Art Museum 

The evening also toasted California Art Historian Nancy Dustin Wall Moure for receiving the Wendt Award for her contribution to the arts and honored Ranney and Priscilla Draper with the Anna Hills Award for their generous support of the Laguna Art Museum and establishing a $1 million museum endowment fund, as well as their dedication to supporting the arts, environmental and educational causes that strengthen the local community.

“One of the highlights of the night was the presentation of the Anna Hills Award to Ranney and Priscilla Draper for their generous gift of $1 million to the museum’s endowment,” said Perlin Lee. “After the event, the museum received word that the Draper family’s generosity inspired not one, but two, individuals to pledge $100,000 gifts to ensure the longevity of Laguna Art Museum in our beautiful city.”

The museum offers a variety of support groups and membership levels that help keep art access alive and thriving. To stay connected and learn about upcoming events, follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. It collects, cares for, and exhibits works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Through its permanent collection, its special loan exhibitions, its educational programs, and its library and archive, the museum enhances the public’s knowledge and appreciation of California art of all periods and styles and encourages art-historical scholarship in this field. 

For more information, visit

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

New hours as of September 12 are Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Mondays, except Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth and Labor Day. Closed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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.


Laguna College of Art + Design presents Parallel Disasters

Laguna College of Art + Design’s BFA program in Drawing and Painting is presenting Parallel Disasters, an exhibition of paintings at LCAD Gallery. The opening reception takes place Saturday, Oct. 6 from 6-9 p.m. The exhibition is on display through November 13.

Tornados engulfing the skies above familiar suburban landscapes, specters of the Confederacy hovering over shells of spacious single-family homes; such fantastic and haunting scenes characterize Parallel Disasters, a two-artist exhibition of paintings by John Brosio and Perin Mahler.

Laguna College of Art After School

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Courtesy of LCAD

“After School,” oil on canvas, 2002, 36 X 48 by artist John Brosio

Rooted in crisis and speculation, both personal and social, Brosio and Mahler’s paintings peer into uncharted territories rife with new systems of logic, possibility and risk. Mahler and Brosio’s works ring urgently in a climate – social, political, environmental and otherwise – that increasingly demands new resolve to address looming catastrophes, but also possibilities. Answering the call to interrogate the past and present, and prepare for an uncharted beyond, Mahler’s mise en scénes set a framework with which to make sense of contemporary chaos and crisis, while Brosio thrusts us into worlds that demand new language. Both challenge us to reconsider what it means to be in control.

LCAD Gallery admission is free. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach. For more information, visit


City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

Community Art Project (CAP)

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

First Thursdays Art Walk

Friends of the Laguna Beach Library


Gallery Q at THE SUSI Q

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


The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts

Third Street Writers

Visit Laguna Beach

Cultural Arts happenings

The Arts Commission invites the public to attend the (free) final concert of the 2022 Sunset Serenades season tonight – Friday, Sept. 30 – from 5:30 p.m. until sunset, at the Heisler Park Amphitheater on Cliff Drive. The concert features a sing-a-long to the Beatles with local musician Jason Feddy. The event is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

cultural arts feddy

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Jason Feddy at Heisler Park Amphitheater tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Low-seating beach chairs are encouraged. Alcohol is permitted for guests 21 or older, but must be accompanied by a full meal. Solicitation of any kind is not permitted at city events.

The Holiday Palette Competition is open to artists (18 years of age and over) who live, work, or exhibit in Laguna Beach. There is no entry fee. The honorarium is $700. Artists may submit one (1) palette design each via physical drop-off to the Cultural Arts Department at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave., or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline is Monday, Oct. 3. 

cultural arts palette

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

2021 palette by Noel Lashley

Selected artists will be provided with a 4’ x 3’ wooden palette on which to paint their proposed design. Completed palettes are displayed from lampposts throughout the city during the holidays. This competition is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For more information on Cultural Arts events, go to

Glass artist John Barber demonstrates his pyrographic technique at the annual LOCA brunch on October 2


Glassblowing is a physically demanding art form. Sawdust Festival exhibitor John Barber estimates he produces roughly 12 tons of glass each year and burns 4,000 calories a day doing it. It’s not a practice anyone can sustain into old age. So, after a 50-year career as a successful glass artist, Barber began searching for something new. 

The pandemic gave him time and space to explore ways he could apply his artistic skills to a new medium. It took several months of trial, error and experimentation, but Barber perfected a pyrographic technique that combines glass and specially formulated watercolor paints to create unique (and extremely long-lasting) two-dimensional designs. 

“As far as I know, no one is doing this,” Barber said. “To introduce something brand new into my career at this stage of life is really cool. I’m smiling ear to ear. It’s really been wonderful.” 

Barber will present this technique at LOCA’s annual meeting and brunch event held at the Healy House and entertainment deck on the Sawdust Festival grounds on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m. In addition to describing the process, Barber will show the audience his shop tools, materials, drawing samples and finished fine art. Attendees will also enjoy a buffet-style Champagne brunch and learn about LOCA’s upcoming fall and winter programming. 

glass artist 1

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Courtesy of LOCA

Glass artist and 45-year Sawdust Festival exhibitor John Barber showcases one of his pyrographic watercolor paintings

The pyrographic technique

Motivated by the growing concern about “beating up his body by standing in front of a belching furnace all day,” Barber began thinking about how he could transform a three-dimensional heavy object into a two-dimensional graphic design. In less than a year, he had the answer.

“I put a heavy sheet of watercolor paper on a piece of plywood in front of my furnace. I gather glass from the furnace and drip it over the page, burning black lines into the paper. I can create an image this way. Hence the term ‘pyrographic.’ This is done with extreme heat. Then I paint it with watercolor,” Barber said.

Barber isn’t a traditional watercolorist, and his paints aren’t traditional watercolors. “I’ve found this niche that I fit into as a glassblower/painter,” he said. “I bring a new vision to the work.”

Forty years ago, Barber was researching ancient Chinese and Japanese watercolor techniques. What he read back then, and remembered today, changed everything. “There was a small paragraph that mentioned they often mixed powdered colored glass with red and purple pigments, because those colors were the first to fade,” said Barber. “I filed that in the back of my brain. When I sat down to do these watercolors, I remembered this and realized I had these glass powders. I went on the Internet and figured out how to mix my own watercolor. It’s very simple. It’s just gum arabic, water and glycerin. I mix it with the pigment to create a water-based watercolor. The colors are just incredible. They’re vivid and bold, and they’ll never fade.”

glass artist 2

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Courtesy of LOCA

Barber with a plywood burn panel, which holds the watercolor paper during the burn phase

A new twist on an ancient art

Although Barber’s approach is uniquely his own, pyrographics has a long and storied history. A New Zealand native visited Barber’s booth at the Sawdust recently and remarked on his paintings. She told Barber about the ancient Aborigines in Australia who used a similar technique on tree bark. “They peeled the bark off trees and burned images into the bark,” Barber said. “Pyrographic artwork was one of their earliest artforms. I love hearing things like that. It’s one of the reasons I love blowing glass. It has this long history.”

Because Barber uses glass powder pigments in his watercolors, the images will last indefinitely with the same vibrancy as the day they were made. That’s not true of most watercolors, which notoriously fade in the sun. “These glass pieces made 3,000 years ago are just as beautiful today as the day they were made,” Barber said.

While the technique may be ancient, Barber’s application of it to watercolor is wholly original. “I’ve never heard of watercolor painters using glass pigments,” he said. “With this approach, the painting will never be affected by sunlight. It will have the longevity of blown glass. That is unique.”

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Festival of Arts accepting applications for the 2023 Fine Art Show

Calling all Orange County artists! One of the nation’s most prestigious and highly competitive art exhibitions, the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is now accepting artist applications for the 2023 juried fine art show. Heading into its 91st season, the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show showcases original artwork from more than 100 of Orange County’s finest artists, attracting worldwide audiences of more than 200,000 during the two-month summer season.

 Artists interested in applying for the 2023 Fine Art Show are required to submit three digital images per media and complete an online application on the Festival’s website by clicking here – by Monday, Oct. 31. 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 October 31 by 4 p.m. Jurying fees are $50 per medium submitted. 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. 

Festival of Arts aerial shot

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Photo by Robert Hansen

Applications for the 2023 FOA Fine Art Show must be in by October 31

The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) will host a free seminar to share all the necessary information on the Festival’s application and jurying process on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event will include a presentation by Festival of Arts Exhibits Director Christine Georgantas and also offer the opportunity for attendees to meet current and past Festival of Arts exhibitors. 

The seminar will be hosted at OCCCA, located at 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana. Click here to reserve a spot by Wednesday, Oct. 5. Refreshments will be served. 

For questions on the seminar, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call 949.464.4205, or visit the FOA artist event page by clicking here.

The Festival of Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3), has always been a local leader that has helped with the growth and development of the community and the arts in Laguna Beach. Established in 1932, the Festival of Arts’ mission is to promote, produce and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts. For more than 90 years, the Festival of Arts has produced two world-class events: The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and the Pageant of the Masters. Together both shows attract more than 200,000 visitors into Laguna Beach. For general information, visit, or call 949.494.1145.

To stay up to date on all things Festival of Arts, follow the Festival on social media at @FestivalPageant and visit

Beth’s Tuesdays returns to the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center on October 11

Same Beth, different Tuesday. Historically, Laguna Live!’s singer songwriter showcase, Beth’s Tuesdays, hosted by Beth Fitchet Wood, would take place on the first Tuesday of every month. After a two-month sabbatical, Beth will be back in the saddle on October 11, the second Tuesday of the month. Going forward, the second Tuesday will be the usual date for Beth and her guests. Guests for October are Tracy Ann Newman and CEJ.

beth's tuesdays tracy

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Photo by James F. Dean

Tracy Ann Newman

Tracy Ann Newman is an American television producer, writer, comedian and musician. Newman is a founding member of the improvisational theater troupe The Groundlings (as is her sister, Laraine Newman). She was co-creator and executive producer of the sitcom According to Jim (2001-2009). She is also a singer and songwriter, as well as an early member of The New Christy Minstrels and lead singer of Tracy Newman and The Reinforcements. She is the mother of artist/writer Charlotte Dean, with whom she co-directs the live comedy show Charlotte’s Shorts.

beth's tuesdays beard

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Courtesy of LagunaLive!


CEJ’s first CD, Sleepwalker In Paradise, landed on the Folk-DJ Top Albums list 2014. His next two CDs, Clovis Man (2017) and Adobe Road (2019) have expanded his radio presence. Friend Of The Sky, was released in the fall of 2020 and shows promise of outrunning the previous releases.

“CEJ is one of our favorite soulful, storyteller song writers,” said Fitchet Wood. “He travels the world as a therapist working with military veterans suffering from PTSD. If that isn’t grist for the songwriting mill, I don’t know what is. But his sensitive and insightful take on the world makes for wonderful music.”

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door and available at, or by calling 949.715.9713.

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

No Square Theatre brings Access Excellence program to young vocalists in preparation for auditions

Get cast with Access Excellence! No Square Theatre is bringing expert advice to young people who plan to audition for any kind of singing role. Children and teens ages 11-18 now have affordable access to instruction and the “inside knowledge” of successful professionals in theater entertainment thanks to a new program, Access Excellence. The program consists of two opportunities – Square One and Square Two.

Learning how to audition well is the secret to success in musical theater. Casting decisions are sometimes based on factors you can’t control (age, height, vocal range), but consistently good auditions and call-backs are the key to long-term success.

No Square rehearsal

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Courtesy of No Square Theatre

Student rehearsals

SQUARE ONE: The vocal audition

Who’s teaching? Respected professional entertainers and educators with decades of experience in the industry from L.A. to Broadway and around the world: Bree Burgess Rosen, Roxanna Ward, Ella Wyatt, Sabrina Harper and Susan Geiser.

How long is it? Twelve hours of instruction (six two-hour classes), beginning November 1, plus two performances on December 10. The performances will simulate actual audition experience and entertain friends and family.

What does it cost? $50 (scholarships available).

How do I prepare? Sign up at and attend classes. They’ll provide the rest. 

What will I learn? 

–A great song for you to use at auditions. At the first class, they’ll help you figure out your range and match you up with an audition piece. You’ll be provided with the sheet music and a rehearsal recording of that song so you can come to the next lesson prepared to work on it. 

–Confidence that comes from knowing the procedures, vocabulary and what happens in an audition, as well as the tools to present your best self. 

–How to choose audition pieces in the future, for any show role. What vocal material shows off your skills? Age-appropriate lyrics, ballad or upbeat, character or specialty songs, standard, or less well known? Learn how to select the right range and style for each show and role. 

–What to know about your material’s source, composer, lyricist and performance history. 

–Audition etiquette. How to dress, stand, slate, enter, exit, take applause and direction, prepare and present material to an accompanist (or secure an edited audio track). 

–Some basics of singing, dance, acting as applied to the musical audition. How to interpret lyrics and correctly use phrasing and dynamics to present the most important element of a vocal audition: Telling the story. 

–How to use character voices to cover range challenges, protect the instrument and support strong acting choices. 

–How to warm up, improve memorization skills, and care for the vocal instrument and body.

–How to talk the talk with accompanists and musical directors. Sight reading at your call-back, music fundamentals. 

–What to expect and how to plan for call-backs. 

–What’s expected in a résumé. 

–How to do homework and research for auditions: Breakdown, find sheet music and accompaniment tracks, edit charts or tracks to requested length (32 bars, 16 bars, for example). Basic audio editing for audition purposes (with Audacity software, provided). 

–How best to add to your repertoire of audition and performance material.

To register, visit

no square vocalist

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Courtesy of No Square Theatre

Vocalist rehearsal

SQUARE TWO: The remote audition

Additional help with self-recordings for remote university and scholarship submissions. 

–How to present a quality video, appropriate for university and scholarship applications when requested. 

–Students with performance experience or who have completed Square One. 

–You rehearse your selected song, scene, or dance over time, and schedule a date and time to return to the theater with a deep understanding and polished interpretation of your material. Their directors will then help you polish and record your submission. 

–This support is available to any student seeking higher education in any musical theater discipline: Dance, acting, or voice. 

How long is it? 

Approximately two hours, as needed to create your best video.

What does it cost? This is a free support service provided by No Square Theatre to the community. 

To register visit

No Square Theatre is located at 384 Legion Street, Laguna Beach. No Square Theatre is sponsored by lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach, Patrick Quilter, Dorene & Lee Butler Family Foundation, Yvonne & John Browning, Chris Quilter, Rotary Club of Laguna Beach, FOA Foundation and Laguna Real Estate Charitable Assistance Fund. 

Access Excellence is made possible by a grant from the City of Laguna Beach.

Local musician Zach Churchill leads Live! Music Matters series beginning on October 4

Local musician Churchill

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Live! presents a new series of music classes Live! Music Matters at the Laguna Beach Library at 363 Glenneyre Street. The classes will be held on Tuesday Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 11:30 a.m. This new weekly music class hosts children up to 4 years of age, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill will lead the sessions while attendees sing, dance and play child-friendly percussion instruments. Attendance is free. To sign up call the library on 949.497.1733, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Live! to present a special night with Opera Laguna 

Laguna Live! is presenting Opera Laguna in keeping with their mission which promises to increase the awareness of, and participation in, diverse musical experiences and to present high quality musical performances that are affordable, intimate and in the community. Education for kids in the community continues to be a high priority for Laguna Live! and with thanks to support from the Festival of Arts Foundation they are pleased to invite children (12 and under) to attend the concert for free.

The concert will feature Oriana Falla and Arnold Livingston Geis on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 6:30-8 p.m. in The Sanctuary at Neighborhood Congregational Church.

The audience will delight in the discovery of the power of the human voice and the joy of opera in a fun and intimate setting while enjoying works by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Britten and Schumann. 

Laguna Live Falla and Geis

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Courtesy of Laguna Live!

Soprano Oriana Falla with tenor Arnold Livingston Geis

Soprano Oriana Falla is praised by Opera News for her “palpable purity” and by LA Opus for her “large, lovely and vibrant [voice].” Falla, a Colombian-American, began her 2021-2022 season with a Concert for Peace for the Washington Concert Society. Most recently, she recorded for the new Disney film Encanto. In December 2020, she sang Mimi in Pacific Opera Project’s drive-in performance of La Bohѐme. Opera News hailed the performance as sung with “rare clarity” and referred to her performance as having “plumbed the character’s emotional depths…the most heart wrenching moment of the performance.”

Tenor Arnold Livingston Geis is praised by Opera Today for his “sizable lyric instrument” and “honeyed tone on all registers.” Geis is a recent graduate of Washington National Opera’s prestigious Cafritz Young Artist Program. In the 2021-2022 season he made his Lincoln Center debut creating the role of Mr. Marks in Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel. He also sang Agamemnon in a workshop of Wayne Shorter & Esperanza Spalding’s Iphigenia at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Obadiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with St. George’s Choral Society in New York.

Tickets for adults are $35 or VIP $55 (Reserved front row seating and “Meet and Greet” session with performing artists) and available at, or by calling 949.715.9713. The reception takes place at 6 p.m.

Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach.

Laguna Art Museum presents Her Great Gift: The Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection

The exhibition, Her Great Gift: The Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection, opened August 28 at Laguna Art Museum (LAM) and is on display through February 12, 2003.

Presented together for the first time, this eclectic collection of California art is full of gems. The picture of Mission San Gabriel created in the 1830s is believed to be the first oil painting made in Southern California. From there the collection departs on a journey that parallels California’s boom in population, matched by an immense output of artistic diversity. The Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection spans across time and demonstrates how early preferences for painting dark, formal and interior spaces were replaced by scenes of the outdoors, explorations of light and imagery that captures the quintessential California lifestyle.

Each year LAM presents the Wendt Award to an individual who has made a significant contribution to understanding or promoting California art. This year the museum acknowledged Nancy Dustin Wall Moure for her great gift.

Laguna Art Museum Landscape

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Courtesy of Chris Bliss

“Landscape” by William Wendt, 1912

According to the LAM website, “Her Great Gift is the first presentation of the Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection. The exhibition focuses on 40 artworks made from the 1830s through the 1970s that traces how artists documented the California experience. Discover the earliest known oil painting made in Southern California, California plein air paintings, watercolors from the WPA period, mid-century abstractions and explorations into Light and Space. Artists include Mabel Alvarez, Karl Benjamin, Norton Bush, D.J. Hall, Roger Kuntz, Fernand Lungren, James McCray, Arnold Mesches, Charles Rollo Peters, F. Grayson Sayre, Stanislav Szukalski, John Law Walker, Julian Bracken Wendt, William Wendt and many others.

“Art historian Nancy Moure assembled and gifted her collection of nearly 100 paintings, works on paper and sculptures to the Laguna Art Museum permanent collection in the 1990s. This year, Laguna Art Museum is honoring Moure with the Wendt Award for her contribution of more than 50 publications and exhibitions documenting the artistic history of California art history.”

 For more information, visit

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

Save the Date: LAM’s 10th Annual Art & Nature is scheduled for November 3

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will present its 10th Annual Art & Nature, a multidisciplinary exploration and celebration of art’s various engagements with the natural world, beginning Thursday, Nov. 3. The multi-faceted event is the museum’s largest public program of the year, bringing together thousands of participants to foster a love of nature, raise environmental awareness, and discover cross-sections between science and the arts.

“This year’s 10th Annual Art & Nature Festival will once again bring the community together to appreciate the intimate connection between art and nature,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of LAM. “The festival celebrates the museum’s long-standing history as a cultural center, offering in-depth programming and impactful exhibitions that honor the rich history of California art.”

Save the Date LAMs 10th Annual Mendez

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Courtesy of LAM

“The Sea Around Us” by Rebeca Méndez which will make its debut in LAM’s historic Steele Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 5

Rebeca Méndez returns to Art & Nature as the featured artist with her newest project The Sea Around Us, which will make its debut in the museum’s historic Steele Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 5. Creating an immersive 360-degree video art installation, The Sea Around Us will transport viewers to an area of the Pacific Ocean located 30 miles from the Laguna Beach coast, portraying the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interconnectedness for all living things. Using scientific footage, the video shifts to thousands of oozing barrels of DDT on the seafloor being sampled by robotic arms. This hidden ecological calamity is revealed in conjunction with imagery that inspires awe and strengthens the bond between sea and viewer, inspiring the courage to face environmental wrongdoing, to take restorative action and to avoid repeating transgressions against our natural resources.

Presenting the first outdoor exhibition since 2020, LAM will bring Kelly Berg’s Pyramidion to the City of Laguna Beach on November 3-6. Pyramidion is an interactive sculptural experience inviting contemplation of the layered history and unique geology of Laguna Beach. Beginning at the museum, participants will journey to several sites through the local park and beaches, encountering pyramids of various sizes and colors that reflect the ever-shifting nature of the landscape. The temporality of the installation parallels much of the earth’s landscapes that shift and change due to weather, geology and the effects of climate change.

On display in the California Gallery starting Thursday, Nov. 3 will be Robert Young’s The Big One, which is thought to still hold the record as the largest painting ever created in Laguna Beach. As a resident of Laguna Beach, Young began his 9-by-15-foot painting in 1971 and continued to work on the piece throughout his life.

Additional Art & Nature festival programming includes the First Thursdays Art Walk, a keynote lecture from National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earl and the annual free Family Festival.

Continuing Laguna Beach’s legacy as a center for the arts, Art & Nature provides a unique opportunity for the Southern California community to come together for a festival of art and ideas, to inspire artists, and enhance the appreciation of nature as a place that inspires awareness about the environment we share.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. For more information, visit

Festival of Arts adds four new pieces to Permanent Art Collection

The Festival of Arts (FOA) of Laguna Beach announced the recent acquisition of four new pieces from talented, longtime Festival exhibiting artists to its Permanent Art Collection. Artwork from Molly Hutchings, Chris Bliss, Ray Brown and Carolyn Machado will join the more than 1,000 two-dimensional and three-dimensional works featured within the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection, some dating back to the early 1900s.

“Congratulations to Molly, Chris, Ray, and Carolyn on this remarkable achievement,” said Festival of Arts Exhibits Director Christine Georgantas. “We are honored to add their unique perspectives and exceptional talents to the Festival’s collection.”

The Festival of Arts, celebrating its 90th anniversary, is an art institution dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting artwork significant to the Festival’s and Laguna Beach’s rich cultural history. 

Housing more than 1,000 diverse and eclectic pieces, the Permanent Art Collection is valued by the organization for its cultural and historical significance in relation to the art, culture and ability to tell the story of the birth of the Festival and local art scene. The Permanent Art Collection showcases how the Festival became a major influence in the art world of Southern California, and many deem the collection a time capsule of art from the last century.

The new additions include a watercolor painting titled Raven by Molly Hutchings, a photograph titled Times Square Saturday Night by Chris Bliss, a charcoal drawing titled Great Gray Day by Ray Brown, and a mixed media assemblage titled Passing Time by Carolyn Machado.

Molly Hutchings is a long-time Festival artist who has consistently created extremely colorful paintings inspired by the history of quilting. As a local high school student, one of Hutching’s paintings was selected for the Festival’s Junior Art Exhibit. 

Festival of Arts adds four woman holding raven

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Courtesy of FOA

Molly Hutchins displaying her watercolor “Raven”

Today, she has been exhibiting and selling her paintings for the last 29 years at the Festival of Arts. “Molly has developed a style that has become a signature; complicated, yet delicate, and with each facet clearly rendered,” shared Pat Sparkuhl, Permanent Art Collection Curator.

Like Hutchings, Chris Bliss has been an exhibitor at the Festival for more than 25 years. His work is in high demand both for his fine art and as a commercial photographer serving clients throughout the United States. He finds inspiration in urban skylines and in the challenging and invigorating lifestyles of cities – a focus that he has directed to an ongoing New York City photography project for more than 30 years. 

Festival of Arts adds man with Times Square

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Courtesy of FOA

Chris Bliss with “Times Square Saturday Night”

His photograph Times Square Saturday Night is a strong example of Bliss’s ability to capture the vitality and color, while also capsulating a moment in time through the show titles on the marquees. 

Ray Brown’s Great Gray Day is a reflection of his experiences in the field. Brown shared, “Each time I go into the wilderness I am amazed. I use only my own experiences to procure reference for my work. Being out in the field is as important as any other facet of my creative process. It is what drives me.”

Festival of Arts adds four man with owl

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Courtesy of FOA

Ray Brown’s charcoal presentation of “Great Gray Day”

Another longtime exhibitor, Brown’s preferred medium is the simple charcoal. His Great Gray Day combines the innocence of an owl enduring the extreme elements that surround it, illustrating an atmosphere that expresses strength and determination. 

Also acquired into the Permanent Art Collection is a mixed media assemblage titled Passing Time by Carolyn Machado. Machado has exhibited at the Festival of Arts for more than 25 years. She creates her assemblage pieces with recycled materials, collected and carefully curated over the years.

Festival of Arts adds four woman in gold jacket

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Courtesy of FOA

The mixed media assemblage of “Passing Time” by Carolyn Machado

Sparkuhl noted that, “This particular work shows Carolyn’s abilities to take a narrow vertical structure and create a complex totemic-like composition. The use of materials in this compact structure was very effective.” Machado added, “As I continue to explore and create from a world of recycled materials, I remain excited about and challenged with each new piece.”

These four artworks will join the historic pieces included in the Permanent Art Collection, adding their own influence on the art world of Southern California and the Festival of Arts. The Festival’s Collection is presented in themed exhibits at foaSOUTH and loaned out to museums and institutions for specific exhibitions. The earliest piece is a painting by Thomas Nash from 1913. One of the most significant pieces of art in the Collection is one of the first paintings sold at the opening of the First Festival on August 13, 1932, called Flower Stalls by Virginia Wooley. 

To learn more about the Festival of Arts and the Permanent Art Collection visit

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