Artists and Galleries

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Two gallery owners share how art fairs can benefit the local art scene.- Moderated by Allison Hata

Peter Blake, Owner of Peter Blake Gallery:

You can’t keep running an art gallery in 2012 without art fairs. Where before it might have been a weapon in your arsenal of marketing, it’s now become your nuclear bomb. [At Art LA], this town had three of the best galleries of their kind. For the first time, we’re in a position where we’re now exporting from the county. Now, we can stand up and say, we’re Orange County, we’re doing fairs, and we’re going to be on a national level. One of my goals in the future is to bring an art fair to Laguna—as an addition to what we have, an addition to the people who come in and enjoy artwork at Festival of Arts, at the Sawdust Festival, at Wyland and many other galleries here in this town. For all the years that I’ve been in business, there’s been a ceiling—it’s called Orange County. And we’re going to break that ceiling by doing art fairs and bringing a fair to Laguna.

Sue Greenwood, Owner of Sue Greenwood Fine Art:

Nothing else can compare to the experience of participating in an art fair. You meet art collectors and other art dealers on a global scale. Art fairs have an attendance of 10,000 to 30,000 art aficionados that come through per day, which accelerates the visibility of the gallery and its artists on a very grand scale. The stronger the gallery program and the artists you represent, the farther you can travel with the art fairs. They are vital part of the art world’s global economy. Doing the art fairs is what got us through the tough economy, as it brings new collectors to Laguna Beach who would have never even heard of the thriving art scene we have here. Our goal is to see how far we can take the gallery both nationally and internationally—to go as far as Art London.

Gallery Events


Inspired by the life and scenery of California, “Landscapes” will offer a unique glimpse into the Golden State. The exhibit will feature mixed media work by Siân Poeschl and photography on stainless steel by Suzi Chauvel. The installation runs at Seven-degrees through March 31. (891 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-376-1555;

JoAnne Artman 

“Exuberance: New Works by Colombian-American Artist America Martin” demonstrates a unique medium and meshing of genres distinguished by her command of line and color. Martin’s work will be visible at Joanne Artman Gallery through the end of March. (326 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-510-5481;


On display until April 2, “Ocean Views, California Style” features mixed media work by Mada Leach. Also being shown is the “Imagined Narrative” exhibit featuring abstract landscapes by Lynn Welker, as well as work by Marge Chapman, K.L. Heagen, Howard Hitchcock, Sunny Kim, Marjorie Sanders and Anne Moore. From April 4 – 30, Howard Hitchcock’s “Persons of Interest” sculpture and painting exhibit and K.L. Heagan’s “Atmosphaire” landscapes will be on display. On April 5, meet Hitchcock and Heagan at an opening reception held from 6 – 9 p.m. (384-A N. Coast Hwy.; 949-497-6775;

Townley Gallery

New figurative works from the “Townley 2004” series, as well as the latest eclectic works from Hugo Rivera, will be on display at an artist reception held at Townley Gallery. Meet Shane Townley, artist and gallery owner, and Rivera, a painter known for his post-modern fresco work, on April 14 from 6 – 9 p.m. (570 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-1860;


Mythical and animalistic creations come to life in “Wolfbat Shamans and the Whale of Gratitude,” an original installation of Dennis McNett’s woodcut prints, sculptural forms, papier-mâché and masks. This is McNett’s first exhibit in Orange County, on display until March 24. (210 N. Coast Hwy.; 415-690-6180;

Len Wood’s Indian Territory

A recently discovered collection of 300 1920s to 1950s-era black-on-black pots by Maria Martinez (1887 – 1980) is on display until Nov. 1 at Len Wood’s Indian Territory Gallery. This is a rare opportunity to see the sophisticated, hand-coiled work of Martinez, a world famous Native American Indian potter. (305 N. Coast Hwy #D; 949-497-5747;

Pacific Edge Turns 25

Pacific Edge Gallery celebrates its silver anniversary –By Allison Hata

A “Laguna local” gallery is kicking off its 25th year with a bang—Paul C. Jillson, owner and founder of Pacific Edge, invites the public to join him at an open house party on Sunday, March 25 from 1 – 5 p.m. The party, hosted at the gallery, will entertain guests with live music, wine tasting, food catered by GG’s Bistro and, of course, a selection of work from Pacific Edge artists. All six gallery artists, Maria Bertran, Tom Swimm, Sandra Jones Campbell, Brenda K. Bredvik, Jacobus Baas and Bryan Mark Taylor, will be in attendance to premiere new works, with a portion of sales that day donated to the arts program of the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

When gallery doors opened in 1987, Paul says he set forth to showcase the best Laguna Beach painters—the “stars” of the Festival of the Arts—on a year-round basis. “What has kept it fresh for me has always been looking forward to the new works and the growth of our artists,” he says. “Every exhibition is like Christmas morning for me.”

Being “somewhat stubborn and pretty immune to trendiness” has helped Paul build a successful gallery exhibiting in depth the works of primarily Laguna artists. With 25 years behind him and many more ahead, he plans to continue to show the “best of the best” and keep it local. “As a longtime Laguna Beach resident, I want to showcase what is best about our home to the many visitors who come looking for real Laguna art,” Paul says. (540 Pacific Coast Highway #112; 949-494-0461;

Creativity for the Cure

Artwork depicting journeys with breast cancer will be showcased at Susan G. Komen’s 2012 Pink Tie Ball.-  Allison Hata

In a work of art celebrating breast cancer awareness, each bold stroke paints a picture of survivorship. The mural, created by local survivors and supporters of the cause, will be featured in an auction at this year’s Susan G. Komen Orange County Pink Tie Ball, which will be held at the Festival of Arts grounds on April 21.

“Art offers an opportunity for expression that frees and empowers people, giving them a space to release emotionally,” says Lisa Wolter, Laguna Beach resident and executive director of the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We wanted to allow those affected by breast cancer to put feelings surrounding the disease onto a canvas and to make something beautiful.”

Sol Reyes Roberts, a Laguna Beach breast cancer survivor, participated in the mural creation at the Art and Creativity for the Cure workshop hosted last fall by Komen, Yard House Restaurants President and CEO Harald Herrmann and artist Jerome Gastaldi. “I’m glad that I was able to be part of this wonderful creative experience, to express my personal hope and promise to end breast cancer,” Sol says.

Their effort to create a one-of-a-kind experiential painting yielded a masterpiece made up of 20 individual canvases that will be united at the 2012 Pink Tie Ball, representing the strength of the Orange County breast cancer community. For more information, visit  LBM

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