Laguna’s art Horizon

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Future of Laguna Scene

Two local gallery owners talk about the future of Laguna’s art scene.- Section by Jason Sanford | Photos by Jody Tiongco

Ariane MacDonald, owner of Dawson Cole Fine Art:

Historically, what remains constant here are a few signature galleries with top dealers bringing world-class art to Laguna Beach along with new contemporary galleries representing emerging artists or mid-career artists. Galleries come and go—sometimes within a few short years. Where is the scene headed? My hope for the Laguna Beach art scene is that the city attracts high-end dealers to the area. I would like to see additional dealers here that are building solid collections for clients that have lasting value. Art fairs will continue to have an increasing impact and I believe galleries who participate in fairs will be more successful. This year, Dawson Cole Fine Art exhibited in Hong Kong at the Arts Asia 2011 Fair at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. It was a successful venture that will allow us the opportunity to offer an international perspective for our Laguna Beach clientele.

Kathleen Updyke Barrett, owner of De Ru’s Fine Art:

With the incoming new director at the Laguna Art Museum, Malcolm Warner, and new president, Jonathan Burke, at the Laguna College of Art & Design, the art scene in Laguna is getting revitalized with new energy and perspectives. The art entities in Laguna are increasingly finding ways to work together and enhance the arts in Laguna. This will make for a stronger art community and expanded awareness locally, nationally and internationally.

The  partnership of member galleries of First Thursday’s Art Walk and LCAD in the professional mentoring program is a great example of enhancing the arts in Laguna. The graduating fine art students … are teamed with art walk member galleries to experience the business aspect of presenting their work. The proceeds … go to the student and to a First Thursdays Art Walk scholarship fund at LCAD, making the benefits come around full circle. With the economy slowly recovering, we see even more opportunities to partner together.

Museum Loungin’

Laguna Art Museum will hold an elegant, lounge-style auction as an innovative fundraiser.- By Jason Sanford

Laguna Art Museum will transform into a glamorous, exciting art lounge for its annual art auction on Feb. 4 from 6 – 9 p.m. to raise support for its art education and exhibition programs. Art Auction 2012: California Art Lounge will showcase dozens of original works from more than 100 premier California artists, all of which will be available for purchase during a fast-paced live auction as well as a silent auction. A lively evening will continue late into the night with a wide array of food, specialty drinks and lots of music.

The bidding will be directed by auctioneer Jim Nye, as well as new executive director of the museum, Malcolm Warner, and Grace Kook-Anderson, curator of exhibitions. Attendees will have the opportunity to support the museum’s education and exhibition programs by adding beautiful works of art by California artists to their collections.

“A lively and fun live auction will tempt patrons to bid for the artwork while helping the museum reach its goal for education and exhibit funding,” auction co-chair Michele Monda explains. “After the auction is over, live painting and performances plus a lively and cool DJ party will begin. The lights will be turned down and the lounge lizards will come out!”

As part of the evening, food from a handful of standout local places will be served, including French 75, Nirvana Grille, Tamarind of London, Romeo Cucina and The Resort at Pelican Hill. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and prosecco will be flowing freely throughout the evening, setting the tone for a memorable night of elegant and whimsical fun for a good local cause. Live entertainment for the evening will be provided by BlueCanvas, as an after party kicks off post-auction at 9 p.m., letting art enthusiasts hit the dance floor and groove to the beats provided by a DJ from The Observatory.

“Look forward to a rare chance to bid on the work of California’s finest established and emerging artists,” co-chair Sara Heeschen says. “Lots of great art, a delicious sampling of cuisine from local restaurants and a chance to chat with the new executive director of Laguna Art Museum, Malcolm Warner too.” (307 Cliff Dr.; 949-494-8971;


Like Music to Our Ears

Laguna Beach Music Festival brings fine talent to the local stage.

Laguna Beach is celebrating its 10th year with its very own music fest, and this year the schedule is filled with classical talents and instrumental virtuosos that will surely make it a year to remember.

The Laguna Beach Music Festival runs from Feb. 6 – 12 and delivers some of the best local classical and chamber music performances anywhere in Southern California. Included in the upcoming lineup are Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, the Calder Quartet, in addition to other up-and-coming local classical artists.

Shows will be held at the Hotel Laguna, Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Playhouse and the Laguna Beach Artists Theatre. The festival is a collaborative effort of Laguna Beach Live (, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Laguna Chamber Music Society, which have historically worked to preserve classical and chamber music in Orange County.

Laguna Beach Live recently received a prestigious $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant for the annual music festival, affirming the growing success of the acclaimed local performances and encouraging its future continuity and growth.

Founding board member Sam Goldstein says, “We are thrilled to receive this significant financial support and the recognition of excellence that an NEA grant brings to our outstanding musical organization.”

Local grants available

The Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts has a $5,000 grant up for grabs as the grand prize for the local Art Star Awards on April 1. The grant is a way of rewarding one standout artist from Laguna, and is open to both creative and interpretive artists. Disciplines eligible for the grant include dance, literature, music, theater, media arts, visual arts, or a combination of any of the above. The individual winner of the $5,000 grant will have 11 months to complete their project, and the finished project will premiere at the 2013 Art Star Awards. The deadline to apply for the LBAA grant is Feb. 3. (

Festival of Arts Foundation Funding Grants are also available for nonprofit organizations that promote the arts in Laguna, and applications are now being accepted through Feb. 17.

Local nonprofit organizations that help fund local fine arts programs are eligible to apply for the grant money, which is distributed by the foundation (

“As the giving arm of the Festival of Arts, the Foundation continues to provide funding that promotes art education and appreciation for all ages,” says Festival of Arts Foundation President Scott Moore.

Gallery Events

Joanne Artman

“Exuberance: New Works by Colombian-American Artist America Martin” will be on display starting Feb. 2, demonstrating the unique medium and meshing of genres that her art reflects. Her work will be visible at Joanne Artman Gallery through the end of March. (326 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-510-5481;

LCAD exhibit at Laguna Beach City Hall

“Visual Tales from Éire and England” is an original student art series inspired by a trip to England and Ireland by participants in the LCAD Summer 2011 travel program. The student creations bridge the gap between art in the UK and locally, and are available for free viewing through March 9. (505 Forest Ave.; 949-376-6000;

S Cube

The unique sculpting work of Paco Esnayra will be featured in the provocative exhibit “Paco Esnayra: Introspection” beginning Feb. 2 and running through March 18. This is the Mexican artist’s first exhibit to be featured in the U.S. and one that will likely leave quite an impression with visitors to the new gallery. (346 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-715-4593;


“¡Cuba!” is an exhibit that taps into the collective consciousness of the isolated island nation, demonstrating the works of prominent artists and common people alike. This is a rare opportunity to see a slice of life and the creativity that flows from the country. The exhibit runs at Saltfineart through Feb. 29. (1492 S. Coast Hwy. 949-715-5554;

Signature Gallery

Jenny Simon will be demonstrating her artwork and entertaining visitors to the Signature Gallery on Feb. 2 with her layered abstract oil paintings from 6 – 9 p.m. Also accompanying her that evening will be live music from Half Blonde as cocktails are served that evening. (220 Forest Ave.; 949-376-4244;

Steven Lucas Fine Arts

Juan Cervantes will be visiting the gallery at Steven Lucas on March 1 to demonstrate and discuss the inspiration for his unique, abstract artwork, which will be featured at the gallery thereafter. Juan’s work features an assortment of bright colors and has been described as “uplifting and transformative.” (1945 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-376-7611; LBM

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