Children’s palette design contest winners to be honored tonight


Mayor Bob Whalen will award certificates at tonight’s council meeting to the winners of the 2019 Children’s Palette Contest.

The contest has been an Arts Commission program since 2004. Budding artists, five to 17 years old, are invited to submit a design for a palette like the ones now hanging from lampposts throughout the city. Entries are accepted from fledgling artists residing or participating in Laguna Beach arts programs. The goal is to encourage young talent to become involved in community events. 

This year 115 designs were submitted. Twelve were selected to be exhibited in City Hall throughout December.

Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner will introduce the winners and invite them to go to the City Council dais where the mayor will present certificates to each of the young artists.

Children's palette 2018 winners

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Children’s Palette Design Contest Winners in 2018

The program is a spin-off from the Palette Contest for adults. Originally, the palettes were replicated silkscreens created by a sign painter. At one point, the palettes were destined for destruction.

However, then-Arts Commissioner Michelle Purcell, wife of Police Chief Neil Purcell, dragged her husband and City Manager Ken Frank to scramble through the dump in Laguna Canyon and salvage the discarded palettes. She refurbished them and the program was saved. 

Since then artists, some of them renowned, have submitted designs for palettes – each as individual as it creator. Those selected are given a 2-by-3-foot palette on which to paint the designs. 

Palettes traditionally are hung by city crews just before or just after Thanksgiving.