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 Volume 14, Issue 7  |  January 25, 2022


A tribute to Wayne Thiebaud: The Laguna Art Museum celebrates the life of one of its treasured artists

By MARRIE STONE

Art is not delivered like the morning paper; it has to be stolen from Mount Olympus. – Wayne Thiebaud (1920-2021)

If artists are lucky, their work gains notoriety within their lifetimes. Other artists attract recognition after they’ve passed on. For Wayne Thiebaud, who died last month at the age of 101, his followers may well come from both camps. Especially if the Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has something to say about it. For an artist whose career spanned eight decades and cut across many mediums in the art world – including drawing, painting, animation, printmaking and more – there are countless ways to appreciate his contributions. Thiebaud’s playful subject matter was only outmatched by the seriousness with which he approached his craft. 

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Courtesy of LAM

Artist and educator Wayne Thiebaud (1920-2021)

“Our Friend Wayne Thiebaud,” an exhibition of Thiebaud’s work in LAM’s permanent collection, will be on display at the Museum through May 1. It includes over a dozen donated pieces, including several rough pencil sketches that give audiences access to Thiebaud’s artistic process. It also contains woodcuts, linocuts, serigraphs and etchings that showcase the broad range of Thiebaud’s printmaking techniques. Whether you’re already familiar with Thiebaud’s work or encountering his art for the first time, this exhibition likely holds something for everyone. It’s both a tribute and a gentle introduction to the might and mind of an artist at work longer than most people’s entire lifespans. 

Happy childhoods beget happy art

Born on November 15, 1920 in Mesa, Arizona, Thiebaud spent the bulk of his life in California. The family moved to Long Beach when he was only 6 months old. His Mormon childhood was a happy time, influenced by memories of traveling circuses and summers spent on his uncle’s Utah ranch. The exhibition conveys that sense of joy and playfulness that permeated Thiebaud’s long career.

Though born into a tumultuous time in American history, Thiebaud described his childhood as essentially ideal. “I was a spoiled child. I had a great life, so about the only thing I can do is to paint happy pictures,” he once said. What some might characterize as misfortune (breaking his back playing high school football), Thiebaud viewed as opportunity (it gave him more time to draw). 

He first found his artistic voice as a cartoonist, spending a high school summer working for Walt Disney Studios where he drew “in-betweens” (a process in animation that involves generating hundreds of intermediate frames to produce a sense of movement) of Goofy, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.

“If we don’t have a sense of humor, we lack a sense of perspective,” Thiebaud once remarked. He was able to retain that youthful sense of humor, and subsequent nostalgia for those childhood memories, throughout his 80-year career. 

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Jolly Cones,” oil on panel, 2002 

A lifelong educator

In addition to his many artistic talents and work across genres, he was, at his core, a teacher. Thiebaud began teaching at Cal State Sacramento, where he obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the early 1950s. He became an assistant professor at UC Davis in 1960, where he remained until 1991. Even after his retirement at age 70, he continued imparting his wisdom on young artists, retaining his Professor Emeritus title until his death.

“I hope one of the takeaways when people see this exhibition is what can be learned from his sketches and drawings,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of LAM. “Wayne was a teacher. When people look at this work, I hope they see his teaching through these drawings. He was always working out his thoughts, as artists do. The sketches are raw and direct. That’s what he imparted to so many people – his process. It feels very personal.”

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Photo by Marrie Stone

An untitled sketch shows Thiebaud’s artistic process while creating a cover for “The New Yorker” magazine in 2002

At the opening of Thiebaud’s exhibition sits a book that invites viewers to leave their impressions and remembrances. To prove Lee’s point, one unsigned entry reads: “Since I was a kid, I could always spend tons of time staring at his cakes, pies, cityscapes, trying my hardest to track his moves, his brushstrokes, his color choices. I heard an interview with him a few years ago on the Modern Art Notes podcast and hearing him talk about his work rushed me back to my years before art school when his paintings were the magic that got me excited about painting in the first place.”

“Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept,” Thiebaud once said. “And you have to be thankful for that.” The half-dozen sketches on display demonstrate this point. With each pencil stroke, the viewer can watch Thiebaud’s mind at work.

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Photo by Marrie Stone

Graphite and ink sketch showing the stages of Thiebaud’s process

Michael Tompkins, a former student and assistant to Thiebaud in the 1980s, said of his teaching style, “He preferred teaching undergraduates and ‘raw beginners’…He wanted people who were wide open, without any irony. He told us his work was about scrambling around with the basic issues, like a baseball player who still goes to spring training each year to brush up on the basics.” Thiebaud believed that in teaching, “you have to constantly rethink things.”

Pop artist? Maybe not…

Despite his association with the 1950s pop art movement, Thiebaud rejected the label. He didn’t want to be lumped in with Andy Warhol, whose work he regarded as “flat” and “mechanical.”

One reviewer at the time interpreted Thiebaud’s colorful desserts, gumball machines and childhood toys as a commentary on the vacuousness of American culture. Editor and critic Thomas Hess admired Thiebaud’s work for offering a scathing critique on American consumerism. Thiebaud rejected that interpretation as well. In contrast to Warhol’s cynicism, Thiebaud’s joy was genuine. 

When asked why he painted gumball machines, Thiebaud relayed a conversation he once had with Barnett Newman, who pointed out: “The gumball machine is the most surreal object in the world. It promises things inside. It’s like gift-wrapped elegance. All it supplies is something to chew on but look at it with its brightest kind of colors plus the fact that you put in the dirtiest, grimiest kind of copper money and out comes a beautiful magenta or yellow ball full of sweet promise.”

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Toy Counter,” serigraph proof, 1970

An extraordinary career in print

Fans of Thiebaud’s paintings and drawings may be interested in exploring his versatile talents as a printmaker. The exhibition includes roughly half a dozen examples of his woodcuts, linocuts, serigraphs and etchings.

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Candy Counter,” linocut, artist proof, 1970

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“River Turns,” etching and aquatint, hard worked with charcoal and white chalk, 2012

A strong supporter of LAM

Thiebaud was a longtime friend and ally of the Laguna Art Museum. He staged three exhibitions at the LAM over the years: 70 Years of Painting (2007), American Memories (2004) and Clowns (2021). He even funded the wood floors in the museum’s galleries. In 2013, LAM presented Thiebaud with the Wendt Award for his outstanding contributions to the study and public awareness of California art. 

I had the opportunity to write about Thiebaud’s Clowns last September. (To access the article, click here.) What struck me then was the sense of melancholy that slipped into Thiebaud’s work in his later years. Clowns came late in the artist’s life, after the death of his son Paul (2010) and his wife, Betty Jean (2015). The pieces contained Thiebaud’s classic playfulness and cheer, but also a ribbon of sadness and a recognition of his own mortality. He must have known that, in all likelihood, he was painting his final act. 

“This retrospective exhibition reminds us that the museum is an important hub,” said Lee. “Over the years, people came to see three full exhibitions, attended programming and had the opportunity to meet him, learn from him and experience that direct connection to his work. Many of those people are students of Wayne’s. They’ve increased their own art practicing success because of the things they learned from him over time. It’s a huge loss felt deeply by so many people in town. We’re honored the museum can pay tribute to that legacy.”

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“Our Friend Wayne Thiebaud” exhibition will be on display through May 1

“I think art is probably our saving grace,” Thiebaud wrote last year. “It can almost ignore our animal premise and spirits. It’s worth investing in as many deeply involved people as we can muster because I think that’s where our hopes lie: in giving us a life of pleasure, challenge, comfort, joyousness – all of the things that make us human and able to relate kindly to each other.” 

The day after Thiebaud’s Christmas Day death his daughter, Twinka Thiebaud, made the following statement on Facebook: “Master painter, art professor, tennis player, joke teller extraordinaire, beloved husband, father, uncle and friend, Wayne Thiebaud has packed up his brushes in search of new scenery to paint, new canvasses to conquer. He will always be our favorite Father Christmas. Rest in sweet peace, Papa. One hundred one extraordinary years on planet earth!”

For more information on the exhibition and Wayne Thiebaud’s contributions to the Laguna Art Museum, visit their website at www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR - JANUARY

DECEMBER 2, 2021 - JANUARY 3, 2022

2nd Annual LPAPA Squared All Member Show

Marshall

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

www.lpapa.org

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

LPAPA Gallery 414 North Coast Hwy Laguna Beach

Thurs - Mondays 11 am - 5 pm

FREE

949.376.3635

JANUARY 24 - APRIL 23, 2022

PIECEFUL PROTEST, by Allyson Allen, 2020 LBAA Seven-Degrees of Inspiration Grant Winner

TAKEAKNEE

Noted Textile Artist Allyson Allen's moving handmade quilts and journals covering timely topics from Climate Change, War, Animal Cruelty, Indigienous Rights, Prison Reform, to Racism, LGBTQ Communities, Human Trafficking, and more.

www.caplaguna.org

Community Art Project (CAP)

The CAP Gallery, 260 Ocean Avenue, 2nd Floor Rotunda @ Wells Fargo Bank

M-F 9-4, Sat 9-11

FREE

949-533-7507

JANUARY 29

LBCAC's Bare Bones Theatre Presents: Shakespeare's Fool

TAKEAKNEE

Bare Bones’ first event in its new home will be a time-honored Laguna favorite, Shakespeare’s Fool: Songs and Speeches from The Plays. A rambunctious and unpretentious romp through lyrics and lines of William Shakespeare featuring singer/songwriter Jason Feddy with actor Ava Burton and friends on Saturday, January 29, 2022. Doors open at 7pm, Performance at 8pm.

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

door open at 7pm Starts at Performance at 7:30pm

Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)

NOW - FEBRUARY 7

2022 Cultural Arts Funding Grants

Deadline to apply: February 7, 2022

The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with experience and primary focus of presenting arts programming. Funded arts program must be presented in Laguna Beach. Grants will support programming presented July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This grant program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Application link HERE.

949-497-0722

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR by the Week CLICK HERE


Rolling with the pandemic’s punches: The Pageant of the Masters’ casting call looked a little different this year, but nearly 550 turned out

Story by MARRIE STONE

Photos by Jeff Rovner

Despite the latest surge of the Omicron variant, a surprise tsunami warning and a splash of unexpected rain, the 2022 Pageant of the Masters casting call went off as planned this past weekend. As they say in the industry, “The show must go on!” Mindful of pandemic protocols, safety procedures looked a little different this year. Sign-ups took place entirely outside, conducted with a fully masked staff and crew. 

Director Diane Challis Davy oversaw the process. “It’s very different for us this year,” she said. “Normally we’d conduct the casting call indoors and backstage. But we’ve created these areas under the canopies and brought in plenty of heaters. It’s the same process, but everyone’s wearing masks and we’re being conscious of people keeping their distance. We’re just hoping for a good turn out and anticipating a wonderful summer show.”

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Diane Challis Davy will serve her 26th year as the Pageant’s director and celebrate 42 years with the show

Wonderful World, the Pageant’s 89th show, is scheduled to open on Thursday, July 7 and will run through September 3. The organization seeks 500 volunteers each summer to act in two rotating casts, as well as workers for their makeup, wardrobe and headdress departments. Attendees could also opt to be substitutes. A typical season usually sees a 40% return rate from previous year volunteers, although everyone acknowledged the past years have been anything but typical. 

Curious how the process worked, Stu News accompanied a first-time hopeful from start to finish. Five-year-old Layla Hartwell-Lewis tried out alongside her father, Orlando Lewis, who has been cast in the show the past two years. If chosen, she’ll be one of the youngest members to join the annual summer cast. 

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Orlando Lewis and daughter Layla Hartwell-Lewis arrive to try out for the 2022 show, “Wonderful World”

“I’m bringing her along for the ride,” said Lewis, a native Londoner who lived in Laguna Beach before recently moving to a new home in Costa Mesa. Last year, Lewis was cast as a sculpture in Hiawatha’s Marriage. He was also one of John Nieto’s Buffalo Dancers. 

We walked alongside the father-daughter duo and learned something new at each stop. 

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Before beginning the process, Lewis completed their paperwork including whether they wished to be part of the cast or crew (which includes the wardrobe, makeup, headdress departments or onstage set design)

First stop: Meet the casting director

Casting Director Nancy Martin, a 39-year veteran of the show, highlighted the unusual nature of the last two years. “Last summer was crazy,” she said. “We’re hoping for a normal season. But we’re still following strict procedures for the casting call.”

Martin said the annual casting call usually yields between 700 and 1,000 applicants, depending on the year and the weather. “We’re hoping for the best this year, but we never know for sure,” she said. “We use approximately 500 people every year for both casts and all the various departments. So, 700 applicants really isn’t enough. We hope for at least 1,000 to begin with, but we allow people to come during the week if they give us a call.”

When asked the deadline to apply, Martin laughed and said, “The drop-dead deadline is at the end of the show. We take people all the way through.”

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Layla and Orlando meet with Casting Director Nancy Martin and Joy Monson

Second stop: headdress measurements 

Headpiece designer Rome Fiore was on hand to take Layla’s first measurements. Fiore joined the Pageant last year and is overseen by Costume Director Reagan Foy. 

While Layla was being measured, we chatted with Foy about the complicated costuming that goes into the show. 

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Fiore takes Layla’s head measurements

“Once I get the cast members’ sizes, I cut the patterns, stitch the fabric and call the cast in for fittings,” she said. “When we get them in the set, we sometimes have to manipulate the fabric. Onstage garments aren’t worn the way they typically would be.” 

Much of the fabric Foy uses is muslin. “We use some cotton Lycra knit and a lot of Landau foam to create bulkiness. We also use the foam for the sculptures. For instance, the warriors and guardians this year will involve a lot of foam.” 

Multiply this process by at least 150 costumes for the show. “Sometimes one person wears three or four pieces,” said Foy. “Maybe a vest, jacket, shirt and pants.” 

We couldn’t help but remark on Foy’s incredible outfit. “I’m known for fashion around here,” she said. “I literally wear a different outfit every night throughout the summer. The volunteers love it. They always want to see what I’m wearing. I have quite a collection.” 

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Costume Director Reagan Foy assumed her role in 2018, but worked in the headpiece department since 2008. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal State Long Beach in costume design.

Third stop: body measurements

While Layla was measured from head to toe (and side to side), we spoke with volunteers about how the Pageant has become a family tradition. While the commitment is significant – volunteering for nightly shows every-other-week for eight weeks – the payoff motivates generations of families to return year after year. 

“My daughter, Michelle Pohl, is now the Makeup Director. She started in the Pageant when she was 5 years old. Now she’s 42,” said Linda Kerr, whose entire family has participated in the Pageant for generations. “Our son also started when he was 5. My husband has been in the show, I’ve been in the show through the years, and now our grandchildren are in the show.”

“It’s a complete, wonderful, full circle, well-oiled machine,” said another volunteer, who likened the Pageant to summer camp for adults. “Everybody works together. Chemistry is the one fabulous thing that everyone here has. You work with the people you love. We’re all an extension of each other.”

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Layla holds still for a long series of measurements, convincing us she’ll make it through the 90-second requirement on stage

Fourth stop: photos

Once Layla’s measurements were completed, she hopped over to the mirrored photo booth with her dad. The booth captures volunteers from every angle and accurately gauges their height (a critical component of casting). 

“That photo booth is probably circa 1960 or even a little earlier,” said Challis Davy. “They’ve been using that mirrored photo booth ever since I’ve been here [1980] and probably long before. So, the same process has been used for decades. Things may look a little different this year, but it’s a traditional casting call.”

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Layla cheers her dad on while he stands for his angled photo

While waiting for Layla, we chatted with others in line about what inspired them to apply. “I’ve been looking for ways to get more involved in the community and searching for volunteer opportunities,” said first-time hopeful Nandita Batra. “Until now, I had no idea they run the Pageant with an all-volunteer staff. When I saw the notice for the casting call, I thought this would be a fun and cool opportunity. I’m really impressed by how well organized it is. Everybody is so friendly.”

Final stop: treats!

After about 30 minutes, Layla successfully completed the process. We watched as she and her dad selected their rewards from a table full of past Pageant souvenirs. Layla picked a few pencils while Orlando found a T-shirt. Other volunteer benefits for those chosen will include complimentary Pageant tickets, a cast party and lifetime bragging rights about being part of a near 90-year tradition in Laguna Beach. 

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The long-awaited treat table gives Layla pause. She and Orlando finally settle on a few new pencils and a T-shirt.

Prospective volunteers met their match

Layla and Orlando made their way over to a giant corkboard that showcased the pieces planned for this summer’s show. 

“The images on the corkboard will be the actual artwork featured in the 2022 show,” said Marketing and PR Director for the Pageant, Sharbie Higuchi. “However, we are still in the process of obtaining rights and permissions. Our final selections are subject to change.”

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Layla and Orlando examine the board, speculating on what roles they might play in the 2022 production of “Wonderful World”

What happens next?

“We cast everything gradually,” said Challis Davy. “And we cast as we build, as we make the costumes and build the sets. You really have to be patient.” 

Challis Davy said of the people who sign up – typically about 900 or 1,000 – roughly 50% will get a phone call. Those not called will get a postcard asking them to try again next year. “It’s nothing personal,” said Challis Davy. “It’s mostly your height that determines casting.” 

Higuchi echoed the process. “The Pageant rehearses one to three set pieces each Thursday night beginning in February,” she said. “Rehearsals run through June. There’s a chance someone won’t find out if they’re cast until the last set is created for the show in June. The earliest a person could be notified is the end of this month (January) or the beginning of February.” 

Higuchi shared a little more behind-the-scenes information. “Technical Director Richard (Butch) Hill sizes up the artwork and determines what size person or persons are needed for any given set,” she said. “He then gives that information to the Casting Department, who must find two people of like size to play a particular role. We double cast the show – one for the Green cast and one for Blue. The casts alternate from week to week.” 

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Layla proves she’s been practicing her 90-second hold

The Pageant encourages anyone who would still like to sign up to contact the casting department at 949.494.3663 to schedule a private appointment for measurements. “We do need more volunteers,” said Higuchi. In the meantime, we wish Layla and her father the best of luck.

For more information, visit the Pageant’s website at www.foapom.com.

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR - FEBRUARY

NOW - FEBRUARY 7

2022 Cultural Arts Funding Grants

Deadline to apply: February 7, 2022

The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with experience and primary focus of presenting arts programming. Funded arts program must be presented in Laguna Beach. Grants will support programming presented July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This grant program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Application link HERE.

949-497-0722

FEBRUARY 1 - APRIL 15

Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction

TAKEAKNEE

Starting February 1 through April 15, 2022, experience the one woman show of Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction, a collection of acrylic paintings on display at the foaSOUTH gallery. Born in Berlin and having lived around the world, Dagmar Chaplin has developed an inventive and creative form of art that is truly unique in the world of painting. Taking portraiture to a highly surrealistic means to an end, Dagmar has carved her own little niche in the world of art. She has been influenced by the many diverse countries that she has both visited and lived within. Her life experiences in these diverse cultures are easily seen in the “world fusion” that she calls her art form. Taking her views of people, from the world famous to the virtual unknowns, Dagmar has produced art that is easily recognizable as hers and hers alone

www.foapom.com

Festival of Arts

foaSOUTH, 1006 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Daily 9am to 8pm

Free

949-497-0722

FEBRUARY 1

Beth's Tuesdays

TAKEAKNEE

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

$15

949.652-ARTS (2787)

FEBRUARY 3

ArtWalk Jorg, Tom and Carrie

TAKEAKNEE

2020 Three artists respond to an historic year In the pantheon of recorded history, how will those who write about the year 2020 view the impact it had on humanity, societal change and the environment? Creatives have always played a significant role in recording those changes. In an unprecedented year the world was impacted by a worldwide pandemic, political upheaval and social injustice. Working in the solitary confines of their individual studios and without knowledge of each other’s efforts, Jorg Dubin, Carrie Zeller and Tom Lamb set about to document through various mediums and methods a record of this unprecedented year. Dubin’s work is often driven by the immediacy of current events. Social injustice and political division are often depicted in sometimes brutal realism that commands the attention of the viewer to respond driving complacency into the rearview mirror. Carrie Zeller’s work takes on more global and universal themes. Dealing again with current events, Zeller’s photographic collages bring to the forefront compelling images of basic human rights that often motivate people to take a closer look at their personal existence and how they treat those around them keeping a sense of optimism just beneath the surface. Tom Lamb approached the turmoil of 2020 by considering the impact of Black Life matters as seen In Minneapolis, climate change as seen from above and the global pandemic had on parts of the world that lacked resources to survive Covid-19 either from a health standpoint but also economically. He set about to transform his aerial photographs into functional artworks by collaborating with Tibetan and Nepalese artisans in Nepal to carry on their traditional weaving skills to create visually beautiful carpets of his aerial views. In the greatest tradition of helping those less fortunate, Lamb helped these craftspeople survive the terrible onslaught of the global pandemic. These three artists created bodies of work that for future generations will be a small part of the documented history of a once in a multi-generational and unprecedented year.

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

8-10pm

949.652-ARTS (2787)

FEBRUARY 4

Friday Flicks at the Forum

TAKEAKNEE

Friday Flicks is an annual film series presented by the Arts Commission. The series provides free screenings of films relating to arts, artists, and culture for the public to enjoy and reflect on. This program is funded through a generous donation by Laguna Beach residents Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Forum Theater at Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road

Doors open 6:30 p.m.; Screening starts 7:00 p.m.

Free

949-497-0743

FEBRUARY 5

LBCAC Presents: James Clay Garrison Band and Multi Instrumentalists Jerry Segura

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

8-10PM doorsa open at 7:30PM

$30 GA/$50 VIP

949.652-ARTS (2787)

FEBRUARY 12

LBCAC Presents: Opera Reimagined Valentine's Day w/Laguna Tenor Rick Weber

TAKEAKNEE

Please join us Valentine's Day Weekend at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center for another special "Opera Reimagined" evening, celebrating the wonder of love, including all of its trials and tribulations.

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

8-10pm

Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)

FEBRUARY 22

LBCAC Presents: Bare Bones Theatre' L'Dor V'Dor

TAKEAKNEE

The premiere of Lojo Simon’s newest play, L’Dor v’Dor (from Generation to Generation). This play explores assimilation, identity and what we inherit from the generations who have gone before us though the story of one ordinary American family on the morning of their daughter’s bat mitzvah. The reading will be followed by a curated community conversation.

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

door open at 7pm Starts at Performance at 7:30pm

Purchase tickets HERE.

949.652-ARTS (2787)

NOW - MARCH 7

Banner Competition

TAKEAKNEE

Deadline to apply: March 7, 2022

The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with experience and primary focus of presenting arts programming. Funded arts program must be presented in Laguna Beach. Grants will support programming presented July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This grant program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Application link HERE.

949-497-0722

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR by the Week CLICK HERE


“Art in Public Places” – Sound and Sight by Raymond Persinger

By DIANNE RUSSELL

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. 

Sound and Sight was created by Raymond Persinger and installed in 2002 at 551 S. Coast Highway. It was funded by the City of Laguna Beach Art in Public Places. 

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The architectural installation incorporates poetry 

Persinger’s two sculptural panels of bronze and colored glass serve as fencing at the popular scenic locale at the end of Brown’s Park. The architectural installation incorporates his poetry that begins with “This fleeting moment....”

“There is often a gap between looking, seeing and understanding,” explained Persinger. Written by the artist, these site-specific poems remind us of the fragile and fleeting quality of that experience.

Persinger is described as being one of the most skilled sculptors alive today, with an accurate understanding of the human form that is so often missing in contemporary figurative work, combined with his poetic nature and dynamic sense of design. His work shows the influences of great masters such as Michelangelo, St. Gaudins, Rodin and Camile Claudel.

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“Sound and Sight” is located at the end of Brown’s Park 

As the eighth of 10 children, Persinger was born in South Sioux City, Nebraska and his family moved to Southern California while he was a child. Even as a youngster growing up in Santa Ana, he always enjoyed working with his hands and making things. He would use his father’s tools or the shop at the neighborhood boys club. His high school art teacher was the first to point him in the direction of being a fine artist and Persinger’s passion for creating art continued and grew from that point in his life. He attended California State University, Long Beach, which at that time, offered one of the best figurative art programs in the nation.

At age 25, he received his first large public art commission Mustangs, three life-sized running horses in bronze for the City of Brea, California’s famed public art program. This was the first of many public art commissions that Persinger continued to create. 

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Persinger used glass as a medium for creating sculpture; a new approach to glasswork 

“Powerful” is the word most commonly used to describe Persinger’s public art. Whether a large installation or a small intimate piece, his work has a power to it that draws in and completely captures the attention of the viewer and the power of the moment. 

Persinger was the sculpture program chair at the Laguna College of Art + Design from 1995 through 2013. During this period, the sculpture program was considered one of the best figurative sculpture programs in the country. 

He first began to incorporate glass into his public art with the artwork he created for the City of Laguna. Shortly after the completion of this work, he was invited to participate in a symposium with several prominent glass artists including Ruth King and Hank Murta Adams where he began to learn how he could further use glass as a medium for creating sculpture. 

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“Sound and Sight” beckons the viewer to stop and reflect on the moment 

With his training as a classical sculptor, combined with his newly discovered love for glass, a new body of work developed, one unlike anything being created by other artists. It is a new approach to glasswork, and a new medium for sculpture.

This is the 45th 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.

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR - MARCH

NOW - MARCH 7

Banner Competition

TAKEAKNEE

Deadline to apply: March 7, 2022

The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations with experience and primary focus of presenting arts programming. Funded arts program must be presented in Laguna Beach. Grants will support programming presented July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This grant program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Application link HERE.

949-497-0722

NOW - APRIL 15

Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction

TAKEAKNEE

Starting February 1 through April 15, 2022, experience the one woman show of Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction, a collection of acrylic paintings on display at the foaSOUTH gallery. Born in Berlin and having lived around the world, Dagmar Chaplin has developed an inventive and creative form of art that is truly unique in the world of painting. Taking portraiture to a highly surrealistic means to an end, Dagmar has carved her own little niche in the world of art. She has been influenced by the many diverse countries that she has both visited and lived within. Her life experiences in these diverse cultures are easily seen in the “world fusion” that she calls her art form. Taking her views of people, from the world famous to the virtual unknowns, Dagmar has produced art that is easily recognizable as hers and hers alone

www.foapom.com

Festival of Arts

foaSOUTH, 1006 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Daily 9am to 8pm

Free

949-497-0722

MARCH 1

Beth's Tuesdays

TAKEAKNEE

March is Women's History Month. (Possibly something to consider as a theme for Beth's Tuesdays?)

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

LBCAC

235 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach

$15

949.652-ARTS (2787)

MARCH 4

Friday Flicks at the Forum

TAKEAKNEE

Friday Flicks is an annual film series presented by the Arts Commission. The series provides free screenings of films relating to arts, artists, and culture for the public to enjoy and reflect on. This program is funded through a generous donation by Laguna Beach residents Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

Forum Theater at Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road

Doors open 6:30 p.m.; Screening starts 7:00 p.m.

Free

949-497-0743

MARCH 5

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artwork Drop-off

TAKEAKNEE

Pre-register through March 3, 2022

Honorarium: 1st $600, 2nd $300, 3rd $150

Open to artists residing in Orange County who are 18 and older. This month-long juried exhibition features two-dimensional artworks that are 12x12 inches or smaller. All appropriate work fitting the criteria will be accepted and displayed (one per artist). Artwork may include oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, drawing, mixed media and relief.

Lagunabeachcity.net

City of Laguna Beach

City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

949-497-0743

ART & EVENTS CALENDAR by the Week CLICK HERE


Paint together with Gil Dellinger, Mark Fehlman

LOCA Arts Education is collaborating with Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) in presenting Virtual Paint Togethers. This is a special opportunity to learn online from notable LPAPA artists as they demonstrate their drawing and painting techniques in easy-to-follow step-by-step processes. Demos will take place online so everyone can participate. Subjects include “The Laguna Coast” with Gil Dellinger on Tuesday, Feb. 1 from 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. and “Sierra Majesty” with Mark Fehlman on Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Paint together Dellinger

Photos by Mike Tauber

Courtesy of LOCA

Paint “The Laguna Coast” with Gil Dellinger

Working from a photo, Dellinger will paint shoreline rocks and surf starting with a gray background to control dramatic light, shadow and value patterns. Fehlman, also working from a photo, will paint Sierra water reflections, atmosphere and reflected light. He will answer questions, and offer a prize gift of his Design Strategies DVD to one winning attendee.

Paint together Fehlman

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Paint “Sierra Majesty” with Mark Fehlman

Everyone who registers will get a supply list and photo reference in advance, enjoy the live-stream event and receive a recording for future reference. Advanced registration for each demo is required. Cost is $40 for guests and $20 for LOCA or LPAPA members.

Visit the education pages at www.LPAPA.org, or calendar pages at www.LOCAarts.org. https://lpapa.org/member-workshops/.

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 Museum to hold virtual panel conversation on William Mortensen

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) is holding “William Mortensen at 125: A Virtual Panel Conversation” on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 12 p.m.

Join expert panelists as they debate and discuss the legacy of the revered and hated William Mortensen on the occasion of his 125th birthday. Stephen Romano moderates the conversation among panelists Deborah Irmas, Matthew Rolston, Michael Moynihan and Brian Chidester.

Laguna Art Museum Mortensen

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LAM

Photographer William Mortensen

Mortensen (1897-1965), an American photographer, is remembered as being in contention with the popularly accepted photographic techniques of his time. Rather than presenting a pure or unadulterated image, he altered his photographs by whatever means necessary to achieve his desired effect. Mortensen was at odds with Group f64 whose members included such influential American photographers as Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston. It is said that Mortensen was written out of the history of photography by his peers. Adams notably labeled Mortensen as the Anti-Christ. His most well-known works speak to themes relating to the grotesque; however, Mortensen focused on various subjects throughout his career.

Mortensen established his home and the Mortensen School of Photography on October 2, 1931. The school was originally located at 1731 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. He moved the school to different locations through Laguna Beach until his death in 1965.

Note: This is a pre-recorded program. Ticketholders will receive a link to view the program at approximately 12 p.m. on January 27. The link will be valid for 24 hours. Tickets are $5 for Museum members and $10 for Non-members.

For more information and to register, go here.

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.

LBArtsAllianceLogo

Pageant of the Masters releases new edition of “Pun-derful” e-cards in time for Valentine’s Day

Let Cupid’s arrow strike your heART this Valentine’s Day! Pageant of the Masters®, the nation’s most iconic presentation of living pictures, is spreading the love this February with new releases of its witty, art themed, virtual e-cards. Offering eight different options of iconic artworks and “punny” notes to choose from, the experts of all thing’s art have once again made it easy to celebrate love digitally (and artistically) this year. To send a Pageant of the Masters Valentine’s Day e-card today, visit www.jotform.com/festivalpageant/valentines.

Hoping to pair your e-card with a unique and romantic gift idea? Pageant of the Masters is also offering a sweet deal ahead of Valentine’s Day. Save 20% on tickets to this summer’s production of Wonderful World, July 7-September 2, with promotional code VDAY22 now through February 14. This offer cannot be combined with other deals and excludes loge center seats, premium tickets and the special event on August 27. To take advantage of this offer, call 800.487.3378 or visit www.PageantTickets.com. A Pageant ticket is also a season pass ticket to the Festival of Arts, so patrons can enjoy the art show all summer long.

Pageant of the Masters e card

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Courtesy of FOA

“American Gothic” by Grant Wood is among the “Pun-derful” e-card selections

“Crisp, summer nights under the Laguna Beach starry night sky, snuggled-up with your loved one watching the Pageant of the Masters – what could be more romantic?” shared Sharbie Higuchi, director of marketing/PR at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach®. “The Pageant of the Masters is a SoCal jewel right next to the ocean, and we are excited to offer patrons a chance to celebrate love with our e-cards and limited deal ticket pricing.” 

Lovers of puns, art enthusiast and hopeless romantics alike will adore the creative and witty sayings paired with past Pageant re-creations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Edgar Degas’ Two Dancers on the Stage as well as classic works of art including the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and American Gothic by Grant Wood.

To send a Pageant of the Masters’ Valentine’s Day e-card simply include the email address of the recipient, select the preferred e-card and hit send. Each e-card allows the sender to include a customized message as well as a customizable subject line. Those looking for even more customizations even have the option to schedule the e-card for Valentine’s Day or any time sooner by selecting a specific date the card should send. 

To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show visit www.foapom.com or follow @FestivalPageant on social media. To support the Festival of Arts, visit www.foapom.com/supportnow.


Laguna Craft Guild returns January 30

Laguna Craft Guild shoppers

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Courtesy of Laguna Craft Guild

The Laguna Craft Guild will return to the Main Beach Cobblestones this Sunday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to dusk. Come by and meet the local artists offering jewelry, ceramics, glass blown art, paintings and more. For more information and the schedule of future shows, visit www.lagunacraftguild.com. Shop small...Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.


Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center is expanding program to include new acts for 2022

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) announced that it is collaborating with Lyric Opera of Orange County, Bare Bones Theater Group and the Incredible Women Film Festival to launch its 2022 season.

“We look to be an accessible and affordable epicenter for art by offering exhibition and event space to showcase leading-edge, experiential and thought-provoking art that drives positive change,” said Rick Conkey, founder of the LBCAC. “Positive change begins with creating a dialogue that spurs a deeper understanding of things that we may not understand, or even fear. If we address our ignorance with increased knowledge, these fears just disappear and we’re left with a higher consciousness that was brought to us through art.”

The LBCAC is uniquely positioned to help extend Conkey’s vision and supporters of the arts are encouraged to engage with some of the Center’s upcoming programming. 

Laguna Beach Cultural Shakespeare s Fool.jpg 1.21

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

“Shakespeare’s Fool: An Evening of Song and Speeches” takes place on January 29

Bare Bones Theatre features “Shakespeare’s Fool: An Evening of Song and Speeches” on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. Founded by Laguna Beach writer and Literary Laureate Emeritus Lojo Simon, ART WOW has been producing Bare Bones Theatre since 2015. Tagged “theatre you can chew on,” Bare Bones Theatre is a script-in-hand playreading series for discerning theatregoers that pairs a curated series of performances with thought-provoking community conversation about contemporary topics. Guest facilitators have included clergy from three different denominations, psychologists, community leaders and experts in a variety of topic areas.

Bare Bones’ first event in its new home will be a time-honored Laguna favorite, Shakespeare’s Fool, a rambunctious and unpretentious romp through lyrics and lines of William Shakespeare featuring singer/songwriter Jason Feddy and actor Ava Burton. Cost: General Admission, $30; VIP, $50. For tickets, go here.

Laguna Beach Cultural James Clay Garrison.jpg 1.21

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“James Clay Garrison and Friends” takes place February 5

James Clay Garrison and Friends on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. For more than 30 years, James Clay Garrison has been a source of delight and inspiration to fans and aspiring players from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Now, he collaborates with his favorite musicians and friends to help make this evening exciting and unforgettable. Pal Matt Rohde of Jane’s Addiction and associate music director for American Idol join Garrison on stage as they go through some of his favorite numbers and call up very special guests to add to the evening.

Laguna Beach Cultural Segura.jpg 1.21

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Geraldo “Jerry” Segura

Geraldo “Jerry” Segura will be opening the night with his universal sound, to get the audience hopping out of their seats to dance. Cost: General Admission, $30; VIP, $50. For tickets, go here.

LBCAC Opera Re imgine's.jpg 2.22

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“Opera Re-Imagined: Songs in the Key of Love” takes place February 12

LBCAC presents “Opera Re-Imagined: Songs in the Key of Love” on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. Visit the LBCAC on Valentine’s Day weekend for another special “Opera Re-Imagined” evening, celebrating the wonder of love, including all of its highs and lows.

In collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Orange County, this recital will feature founder and soprano, Diana Farrell, along with former Michigan Opera, Detroit Opera mezzo-soprano, Molly Noori. As always, you’ll hear from your host, “Laguna Tenor” Rick Weber and some of Southern California’s most promising up-and-coming voices. Cost: General Admission, $30; VIP, $50. For tickets, go here.

Laguna Beach Cultural Opera L Dor V Dor.jpeg 1.21

Lojo Simon’s newest play, “L’Dor V’Dor” takes place on February 22

Bare Bones Theatre features L’Dor V’Dor on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The premiere of Lojo Simon’s newest play, L’Dor V’Dor (from Generation to Generation), explores assimilation, identity and what we inherit from the generations who have gone before us, through the story of one ordinary American family on the morning of their daughter’s bat mitzvah. The reading will be followed by a curated community conversation. Cost: General Admission, $30; VIP, $50. For tickets, go here.

Take action. Use these links to support the arts and drive change:

–Donate to the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC): https://lbculturalartscenter.org/donations/.

–Reserve the LBCAC for your private event, volunteer your time and/or skills: https://lbculturalartscenter.org/contact-us/.

–View “Anything Goes Happy Hour” episodes:
https://lbculturalartscenter.org/tv/.

Throughout the ages, civilizations have been judged by their artistic and creative expressions. The LBCAC is harnessing the power of the arts for the benefit of the community, creating artivists and growing the hearts and minds of our youth. This epicenter of art is located along the Forest Avenue Promenade in Laguna Beach, the heart of Southern California’s premier art colony. Follow the LBCAC on Social Media – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lbculturalartscenter and Twitter: https://twitter.com/lbcac235.

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center – Arthouse Theatre is located at 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. www.lbculturalartscenter.org.


Festival of Arts satellite gallery foaSOUTH presents new Dagmar Chaplin exhibition

Art fans, get excited! Starting February 1 through April 15, experience the newest exhibition at the foaSOUTH Gallery, Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction. Located at the Festival of Arts satellite gallery inside Active Culture, the exhibition will feature a distinguished collection of striking acrylic paintings by Dagmar Chaplin. The foaSOUTH gallery is part of an ongoing series of shows that the Festival of Arts presents at the location year around. 

“With her unique palette and style, Dagmar brings to her canvases a soulful energy,” shared Festival of Arts Marketing and PR Director Sharbie Higuchi. “We believe the public will truly appreciate her collection and are thrilled to display it for Laguna Beach residents and visitors to experience with our partners at Active Culture.”

Festival of Arts Chaplin

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of FOA

“Cosmic Bocci” by Dagmar Chaplin is on display at foaSOUTH, February 1-April 15

Born in Berlin and having lived around the world, Chaplin has developed an inventive and creative form of art that is truly unique in the world of painting. Taking portraiture to a highly surrealistic means to an end, she has carved her own little niche in the world of art. She has been influenced by the many diverse countries that she has both visited and lived within. Her life experiences in these diverse cultures are easily seen in the “world fusion” that Chaplin calls her art form. Taking her views of people, from the world famous to the virtual unknowns, she has produced art that is easily recognizable as hers and hers alone.

Chaplin moved to Laguna Beach from Vancouver, Canada in 1974. The very next year, she exhibited in the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show. In 2000, her work, “Madame Butterfly” was featured on the Festival of Arts poster. That original acrylic painting is now part of the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection. Her work can also be admired all over the world and is featured in many collections, including in Chicago’s “Standard Oils Permanent Collection of American Artists”; Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy, purchased three paintings and producer, Mike Nichols, even used her art in a movie.

The foaSOUTH gallery featuring Dagmar Chaplin: Artifacts and Fiction is inside Active Culture located at 1006 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. The gallery is open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization whose proceeds support the arts in and about Laguna Beach. Admission is free. For more information call 949.494.1145. Visit www.FestivalofArts.org.


LBCAC presents “2020 Three Artists Response To An Historic Year”

In the pantheon of recorded history, how will those who write about the year 2020 view the impact it had on humanity, societal change and the environment? Creatives have always played a significant role in recording those changes. In an unprecedented year, the world was impacted by a worldwide pandemic, political upheaval and social injustice.

Working in the solitary confines of their individual studios and without knowledge of each other’s efforts, Jorg Dubin, Carrie Zeller and Tom Lamb set about to document through various mediums and methods a record of this unprecedented year.

On Friday, Jan. 28 from 7-10 p.m., Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) presents, “2020 Three Artists Response To An Historic Year.”

LBCAC presents 2020 Three Dubin

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

“The Orange Stand” by Jorg Dubin

Dubin’s work is often driven by the immediacy of current events. Social injustice and political division are often depicted in sometimes brutal realism that commands the attention of the viewer to respond driving complacency into the rearview mirror.

LBCAC presents 2020 Three Zeller

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“Triple Threat” by Carrie Zeller

Zeller’s work takes on more global and universal themes. Dealing again with current events, Zeller’s photographic collages bring to the forefront compelling images of basic human rights that often motivate people to take a closer look at their personal existence and how they treat those around them keeping a sense of optimism just beneath the surface. 

LBCAC presents 2020 Three Lamb

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“Bolsa,” a handwoven Tibetan 100 knot wool and silk carpet by Tom Lamb

Lamb approached the turmoil of 2020 by considering the impact of Black Life Matters as seen In Minneapolis, climate change as seen from above and the global pandemic had on parts of the world that lacked resources to survive Covid-19 either from a health standpoint but also economically. He set about to transform his aerial photographs into functional artworks by collaborating with Tibetan and Nepalese artisans in Nepal to carry on their traditional weaving skills to create visually beautiful carpets of his aerial views. In the greatest tradition of helping those less fortunate, Lamb helped these craftspeople survive the terrible onslaught of the global pandemic. 

These three artists created bodies of work that for future generations will be a small part of the documented history in a multi-generational and unprecedented year.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with the performance taking place from 7-10 p.m. This is a seated event for all ages. Admission is free. Metered parking is available until 7 p.m. For more information, go here.

The LBCAC Arthouse Theatre is located at 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. www.lbculturalartscenter.org.


LBCAC presents Shakespeare’s Fool on January 29

On Saturday, Jan. 29, the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) presents Shakespeare’s Fool, an evening of song and speeches from the plays.

Synopsis: Shakespeare’s Fool, produced by Bare Bones Theatre, is a rambunctious and unpretentious romp through lines and lyrics from Shakespeare with LBAA “Artist of the Year” Jason Feddy and actors Ava Burton & friends.

LBCAC presents Shakespeare's Fool

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBCAC

“Shakespeare’s Fool” is an evening of song and speeches from the bard’s plays

Doors open at 7 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Proof of vaccination, negative test or mask is required. General admission is $30; VIP is $50. To purchase tickets, click here.

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

The LBCAC Arthouse Theatre is located at 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. www.lbculturalartscenter.org.

Lana Johnson, Editor - [email protected]

Tom Johnson, Publisher - [email protected]

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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