Volume 14, Issue 95  |  November 29, 2022

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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