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Violin virtuoso presents variety of innovative works, established pieces and a world premiere during the annual Laguna Beach Music Festival

By THERESA KEEGAN

All of Laguna, not just the hills, will be alive with the sound of music when the Laguna Beach Music Festival comes to town.

The 22nd annual event will bring music to the classrooms, parks, community rooms and stages of town, all with the focus of celebrating this medium starting February 12 and running through February 18. The three signature concerts will be held at the Laguna Playhouse during the weekend.

“I don’t know how it’s possible, but the festival just keeps getting better,” said Cindy Prewitt, a founder of the event and president of Laguna Beach Live! which collaborates with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County to present the festival. “It’s such an opportunity to hear this great music right in Laguna,” she said. “They (the musicians) are really all first-class artists that you’d usually have to travel elsewhere to hear.”

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Photos courtesy of Philharmonic Society of Orange County

Violinist virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers has an international reputation for her skill and innovation. Born in San Diego, she now lives in Los Angeles.

This year’s artistic director is world-renown violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. It includes New Chaconne, a world-premiere of work by composer Philip Glass, as well as programs that challenge traditional violin playing and even a partnership with Laguna Dance Festival, which comes to town the following week.

“I love cultivating and curating programs and I have a history working with living composers,” said Akiko Meyers. “This is a perfect opportunity to showcase some of the living legends that I’ve collaborated with and also work with loving friends.”

After a career with many international successes, Akiko Meyers was thrilled to return back to California about seven years ago and now lives in Los Angeles. “I invited a lot of friends to work with me (on the festival concerts) and they’re all based here in L.A., even though they’re world-renown artists. It’s a testament to California and what California brings to artists.”

The music performed will include pieces both established and innovative, the latter of which Akiko Meyers truly embraces. “I like to shake it up,” she said of the musical selections. She was part of a 2024 Grammy nomination for a piece she commissioned from Arturo Marquez, because she wanted to bring mariachi music into the concert hall.

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The artistic director of this year’s Laguna Beach Music Festival is violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

“I always had a curiosity for undiscovered works,” she said, while always being drawn to the melody that happens when musicians are in perpetual motion.

Her enthusiasm about the Friday opening night concert Metamorphoses is evident. It not only includes the world premiere of Glass’ work, but also his established “Metamorphosis II.” Other work includes Michio Miyagi’s “The Sea in Spring.” Dancers Megan Goldstein and Davon Rashawn will perform during “The Swan,” by Saint-Saens. In addition to the traditional violin, other instruments include the harp, played by Emmanuel Ceysson and electronic violin.

“They (the composers) all come from different places and they’re cultivating this musical language within themselves that speaks to me,” said Akiko Meyers, “and they’re telling a story that resonates with people and emotions and memories that we all carry.”

Saturday night’s concert, Doubles features Akiko Meyers with violinist Aubree Oliverson. The two will interplay their violins in work ranging from Bach to Mendelssohn.

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LAM collaborates with California artists for 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) announces the highly anticipated 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash is starting today (February 16) through March 4 with both online and in-person auction events. The auction will feature works of prominent California artists, on view to preview in person at Laguna Art Museum with paid admission, now through March 2, or via Artsy beginning today. Bidding for the annual auction will open online today at 9 a.m. via Artsy.

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Courtesy of LAM

Sarah Genn, “My Heart is a Thousand Colors” (Light Punk) and (Hickey), 2024

On Saturday, March 2, the museum will host the annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash, promising an unforgettable evening from 6:30-10 p.m. Join more than 100 California artists in support of raising money for Laguna Art Museum during a night that brings the vibrant spirit of California to life. The proceeds generated will play a pivotal role in fueling the museum’s exciting phase of growth. Exclusive artworks will be available for purchase on Artsy both before and during the event.

“The 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash stands as a testament to the boundless creativity and generosity within our community. We are eager to welcome guests to the museum on March 2 for this extraordinary event in support of our exhibitions and education programs,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum. “With an impressive array of artworks and an esteemed guest list, the evening promises to be unforgettable.”

The impressive line-up of prominent California artists includes Laddie John Dill, Shepard Fairey, Ed Ruscha, Astrid Preston, Elizabeth Orleans, Cristopher Cichocki, Blue McRight, Ed Moses and many more. To keep the night lively and extra entertaining, friend to Laguna Art Museum, and the best in the business, auctioneer Zack Krone has been recruited for the event.

Registration for the online auction will open today via Artsy. For more information, registration and to purchase tickets to the exclusive event on March 2, click here. Presale tickets to the event on March 2 are available for $215 through March 1. Pending availability, tickets for the event will be available at the door on March 2 for $225. To participate in the online auction starting today via Artsy, register by clicking here.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash supports Laguna Art Museum’s mission through the generosity of the participating artists and attendees. Through artwork donations, these artists have shown their love and support of Laguna Art Museum as a leading arts organization in Southern California.

Laguna Art Museum is seeking additional sponsors for the 42nd Annual Art Auction + Benefit + Bash. Gain exclusive access, preview the art and receive an invite to a VIP event – all while supporting the museum’s mission. For more information, contact Crystal Tosello, development manager, at ctosello@lagunaartmuseum.org.

For more information about the 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction and Laguna Art Museum, visit https://lagunaartmuseum.org/.

Event Sponsors: Artsy, Barbara and Tad Danz, Elliott Kornhauser and Joe Baker, Katrina Foley, Ken and Jan Kaplan, Lori and Harley Bassman, Nolet’s Gin and Kettle One Vodka, Wendy Aird, WGB Insurance and William Gillespie Foundation.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

The Art Auction will be on view in all galleries on the Main Floor.

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Laguna Live! announces LB Music Festival Festival Prelude featuring Anne Akiko Meyers in February

Tuesdays through May, 11:30 a.m.

Live! Music Matters, free children’s program returns

Laguna Beach Live! is delighted to announce another series of their free, children’s program “Live! Music Matters.” An interactive music class for ages up to 6 years old, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill leads the sessions while attendees sing, dance, and play child friendly percussion instruments.

​The Tuesday morning sessions are held at Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St.

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

Jazz Wednesdays returns:

Jazz Wednesdays feature world-class musicians in the cabaret setting of [seven-degrees] 891 Laguna Canyon Road. Held every two weeks, the six-part series kicks off on February 28 and closes on May 8.

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LBMF Opening Night: Metamorphoses

Friday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m.

LBMF Opening Night: Metamorphoses

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin and Emmanuel Ceysson, Harp

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

For tickets, click here.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

LBMF: Doubles

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Aubree Oliverson, Violin and Colburn Virtuosi

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Joined by string orchestra, Anne Akiko Meyers shares a program titled “Doubles,” which features the fiery interplay of two violins in works such as “Bach’s Double Violin Concerto” and Philip Glass’ “Echorus for Two Violins and Strings.”

For tickets, click here.

Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m.

LBMF: CARNAVAL!

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Fabio Bidini, Piano; Matthew Howard, Marimba/Drums; Nathan Farrington, Double Bass

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Anne Akiko Meyers brings the 2024 Laguna Beach Music Festival to a delightful close with “Carnaval!”

For tickets, click here.

A co-presentation of Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

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Soul of Jazz, Bijon Watson

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience, or to gift the experience, of some truly outstanding music.

Ticket prices for individual concerts remain at only $37.50 in advance; $40 at the door; $225 for the full season. Concerts are 6-8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. for bar and social hour. Drinks and food are available for pre purchase.

Click here for tickets, or call 949.715.3713.

The Line-Up

February 28: Powerhouse Jazz and Blues Vocalist, Maiya Sykes with her sensational Tribute to Musical Legends.

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Maiya Sykes performs on February 28

March 13: Matt Johnson and The New Jet Set: “Swingin’ the Disney Songbook” featuring Adryon de Leon.

March 27: Brazilian Guitarist and Vocalist, Téka, Quintet featuring Saxophonist, Robert Kyle.

April 10: Black Market Reverie with their “speak easy” jazz, a mix of jazz, classic French pop and Americana.

April 24: Renowned Soul, Jazz and R&B vocalist, Raffia Thomas brings stunning vocals and soulful vibes along with her quintet.

May 8: Grammy award winner Bijon Watson’s Latin Jazz Syndicate, featuring sizzling Cuban vocalist, Adonis Puentes.

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Steve Wood and Beth Fitchett, Beth’s Tuesdays – March 5

Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays

Joel Rafael and Grace Freeman

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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LAM adds new February events and announces artists for California Cool Art Auction

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Photos courtesy of LAM

California Cool Art Auction announces participating artists

California Cool Art Auction, a sell-out annual event, is just around the corner – March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Experience the live and silent auctions alongside a night of specialty-crafted cocktails & appetizers, a red-carpet experience, live music, artist meet & greets, and more. Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has just announced its participating artists.

The annual California Cool Art Auction and Benefit brings together the art community in support of the museum’s mission to enlighten people of all ages through California art. Bidding begins February 16.

 Preview auction artworks in-person began February 2. Online bidding started today and will conclude on March 4.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction is powered by Artsy, enabling art lovers from around the world to view and bid online. Artsy is the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplace for buying and selling art, with the world’s largest database of contemporary art.

Preview and get ready to bid on more than 125 original artworks in support of your museum. The majority of artworks are on view now at the museum for you to enjoy during museum hours. Proceeds from the annual auction provide vital support to the museum.

Free Preview Nights February 21 and 29 from 5-7 p.m.

Want a closer look at the artworks available in the Art Auction? Many of the available artworks are on display now at the museum to view with admission. Featured are high-profile artworks at affordable starting bids. For a list of participating artists, click here.

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Art Workshop: Figure Drawing – February 16

Friday, Feb. 16, 4-7 p.m.

Art Workshop: Figure Drawing

Join Peter Zokosky, Chair of MFA Drawing + Painting at LCAD, for a figure drawing workshop. Learn the basics and build on your knowledge of how to draw the human form with a live model. Supplies included with purchase of ticket.

Class Date: February 16. Please note that the model will be nude.

Advance tickets recommended. Adults (18+) only. Museum members: $30, Non-members: $45. For tickets, click here.

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Adam Neeley, “Modern Alchemy” opens February 17

February 17-July 29

Modern Alchemy: The Fusion of Art and Nature in the jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Adam Neeley is an award-winning artist/jeweler who transforms precious metals and gemstones into wearable art by traditional goldsmith techniques and modern technologies. His unique designs are inspired by the vast variety of shapes and colors found in the natural world. In fact, it was his childhood interest in collecting rocks that eventually drew Neeley to the master goldsmiths in Italy, where he would study the art of jewelry making. Eventually he developed his own style and techniques of goldwork that have won him international acclaim, as well as prestigious awards across the jewelry industry.

Through many years of trial and error, Neeley developed a never-before-seen technique that he calls Spectra Gold, which seamlessly changes one color of gold into another. This is accomplished by a labor-intensive forging process to create a subtle gradient, or ombré, of color from yellow gold to white gold and more. This, along with his creation of totally new colors of gold, adds to the sense that his jewelry is created by a modern-day alchemist.

This exhibition will explore both the creative working processes of this innovative jeweler, and some of the raw and faceted gems and minerals used by him to create his art. Collaborating with world-class lapidaries, such as Stephen Avery, Neeley creates truly imaginative pieces that go beyond contemporary designs into the realm of dreams and fantasy inspired by imagination and the world around him. Neeley is a true 21st century alchemist.

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Conversation with Adam Neeley – February 18

Sunday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m.

Adam Neeley In Conversation with Curator Timothy Adams

Join LAM for a fascinating conversation with featured artist-jeweler Adam Neeley and curator Timothy Adams as they explore the fusion of art + nature in the jewelry designs of Modern Alchemy. Learn about the creative working processes of this innovative jeweler and the techniques he uses to create the sublime and imaginative pieces that define this 21st century alchemist.

Neeley is an award-winning artist-jeweler who transforms precious metals and gemstones into wearable art by traditional goldsmith techniques and modern technologies. His unique designs are inspired by the vast variety of shapes and colors found in the natural world. In fact, it was his childhood interest in collecting rocks that eventually drew Neeley to the master goldsmiths in Italy, where he would study the art of jewelry making. Eventually he developed his own style and techniques of goldwork that have won him international acclaim, as well as prestigious awards across the jewelry industry.

For tickets, click here.

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LPAPA “Sounds with Plein Air” Paint Out on February 17

LPAPA is excited to announce that the 5th Annual “LPAPA Strong Painted Postcards Art Auction” fundraiser opened online at 10 a.m. yesterday (Feb. 5). The auction continues until 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8. Painted postcards can be viewed online by clicking here.

All postcards have a starting bid of $50 with $10 bid increments. They’re hoping viewers will bid generously and help raise funds to support LPAPA’s art and education programs and the artists. When bidding you can choose to place an exact bid, or you can choose to place a proxy bid and let 32auctions bid for you. Click the Auction link and open a free auction account or log in to bid.

LPAPA is hosting an online Virtual Reception Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. Register to join LPAPA for free by clicking here to meet the artist, and help them count down to the auction ending at 6 p.m.

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Photos courtesy of LPAPA

New Paint Party Paint Alongs – February 21, 28 and March 6

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Burger Bar

The “Burger Bar” Paint Along with Debra Huse features lively brushstroke-by-brushstroke instruction filled with insightful tips.

Save more than $35 when you enroll in the series of four, or purchase individual courses for $59/each.

Daddy’s Girl – February 28

Sunset Sky – March 6

New Paint Party Paint Alongs are here. Grab your paint and easel and join award-winning artist Debra Huse for live, online Paint Parties.

Discover Huse, who will provide the reference photos and guide you from start to finish as you paint together, brushstroke by brushstroke. Enjoy exclusive pro tips and insightful instruction. Paint Parties are fun for everyone, from beginner to more advanced painters. Complete a great little painting in only two hours. See, paint and learn with other artists from across the world.

To register, click here.

“Sounds with Plein Air” on February 17

Saturday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

22nd Season of the Laguna Beach Music Festival

LPAPA “Sounds with Plein Air” Paint Out at Heisler Park

In celebration of the 22nd season of the Laguna Beach Music Festival, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association team up for this special three-hour event with LPAPA plein air painters, Laguna Beach Music Festival artists, and local musicians, gathering in Laguna Beach for a morning of art, music and ocean views. This is a free event open to the public. Details about the schedule and specific locations to follow.

Members are invited to register for free to join in the fun. Bring your painting gear, family and friends, and enjoy a morning full of music and art. Non-Member Artists are invited to participate with the LPAPA Artists for a $10 registration fee. Registration is required.

For questions, contact Bonnie Langner at 949.376.3635.

Payment in full in advance only. Advance registration is required to be recognized as a participating artist. Current LPAPA Members are invited to participate for free; non-member outdoor painters are welcome to join this for a $10 registration fee. All painting experience levels and all mediums are welcome. Register by clicking here.

Annual Signature Showcase

The LPAPA Gallery features their 3rd Annual “Signature Showcase” gallery exhibition features original plein air and studio works created by LPAPA Signature Artist Members on display until March 4.

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Photos courtesy of LPAPA

Signature Showcase

Participating Signature Artists: Geoff Allen, Richard Boyer, Carl Bretzke, Cynthia Britain, Brienne Brown, Saim Caglayan, Larry Cannon, Rick J. Delanty, Gil Dellinger, Carole Gray-Weihman, Scott Hamill, Nita Harper, Mike Hill, Catherine Hillis, Charlie Hunter, Debra Huse, Chuck Kovacic, Jason Li, Calvin Liang, Richard Lindenberg, Kim Lordier, David Marty, Eileen McCullough, Terry Miura, Lisa Mozzini-McDill, Robin Purcell, Jeff Sewell, Mark Shasha, Michael Situ, Durre Waseem and Ran Wu.

The LPAPA Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or by appointment, with extended hours to 9 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. For assistance, call the LPAPA Gallery at 949.376.3635, or contact Bonnie Lander at bonnie@lpapa.org, or Toni Kellenberg at toni@lpapa.org, or by phone at 949.291.0882

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association/LPAPA Gallery is located at 414 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

For more information, go to www.lpapa.org.

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LBCAC adds new events to 2024

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1-5 p.m.

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture

31372 Guadalupe St., San Juan Capistrano

Lovers of culture, the arts and the history of San Juan Capistrano,

join your friends from the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) in a music-rich celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts and Culture. This exclusive event is being held in an adobe home built in 1929 by Dr. Paul Esslinger, a well-known doctor in both San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach.

Welcome Reception with Artivist | Ricardo Duffy

Guests will be welcomed by its current owners with a home and property tour by Carmen Escamilla and by Chicano/Indigenous artist Ricardo Duffy.

Opera Reimagined Host & Tenor | Rick Weber

Classically trained vocalist and host of “LBCAC Presents: Opera Re-Imagined,” Rick Weber is inspired by the world’s most beloved tenors, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Mario Lanza.

Storyteller/Historian/Naturalist | Barefoot Joel

“Barefoot Joel” is the director of Naturalist for You, a 17-year-old environmental educational nonprofit, based in Orange County. Guests will be amazed by his retelling of San Juan Capistrano’s living history, based on his personal experiences restoring habitats, conducting biological surveys and guiding nature walks in the local wilderness.

Musician | Ryan Heflin

Heflin recently released a music video for his popular “California Dreamer” – a thoughtful, romantic song about the California of yesterday.

Supergroup | Tremoloco

Tremoloco is a SoCal-based band that draws from the sounds of Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk and blues in a blend of original and traditional songs, best described as Gulf Coast Folklorico.

Due to the intimate setting, space is limited, so please buy tickets now.

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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Lunar Lullaby – February 25

Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Lunar Lullaby, Musical Event Artomya

Join LBCAC for an unforgettable evening of classical enchantment as they present a special concert featuring world-renowned performers, including Eric Henderson, who promise to captivate your senses.

Diana Skavronskaya: A Lyric Coloratura Soprano Extraordinaire

Prepare to be mesmerized by the award-winning lyric coloratura soprano, Diana Skavronskaya.

Tal Vaknine: The Spellbinding Harpist from Jerusalem

Elevating the evening with ethereal harp melodies is the exceptional Israeli artist, Tal Vaknine.

Lyena Atonyicq: Pianist, Philanthropist and Opera/ Piano Coach

Completing their trio of musical virtuosos is LBCAC’s own Lyena Atonyicq, a concert pianist/coach with four masters in music.

Special Guest

Eric Henderson: Guitar Virtuoso and Composer

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Henderson covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.

For tickets, click here.

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Guy King – February 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Guy King Trio

The Sky and Ocean Aren’t the Only Way to See Inspiring Blues in Laguna in 2024.

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center has stepped up to preserve one of America’s most powerful and influential art forms, by providing a memorable OC haven for national touring blues legends.

The LBCAC offers its intimate listening room, stellar acoustics, state-of-the-art sound system and a host town recognized as one of the nation’s leading arts-centric resort destinations.

Guy King got his start in Chicago, with blues singer Willie Kent’s band “The Gents.” They played together for six years, and ultimately, King became Kent’s bandleader. Not long after Kent died, King began his solo career. King is known for his eclectic style and unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb.

For tickets, click here.

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Photo by Barbara MacGillivray

Steve Wood and Beth Fitchett, Beth’s Tuesdays – March 5

Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays

Joel Rafael and Grace Freeman

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

LBCAC is located at 235 Forest Avenue.

Checkout the calendar at www.lbculturalartscenter.org.

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Sawdust Festival adds more winter classes and announces Ski Week Art Camp

Sawdust Art Classes has many expressive and informative classes offered every week that the Sawdust Art Festival wants to share with you (far too many to mention here!).

Sawdust is excited to announce Ski Week Art Camp, February 19, 20, 22 and 23 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Participants can sign up for one day or the entire week.

Visit Sawdust online (click here) for detailed information on classes, times and listings. They can’t wait to share the magic of art with you!

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Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Jewelry & Textile Valentine heART on February 16

Friday, Feb. 16, 4-6 p.m., date night with wine

Jewelry & Textile Valentine heART with Tatyana Zen

Join Sawdust artist Tatyana Zen in a fun, Valentine-themed mixed media class. Create a lovely heart heirloom, bejeweled with upcycled gold jewelry, rhinestones, pearls and shells, on a rich, fabric display.

Cost: $95 per student. All supplies are provided, except for the frame. Optionally, you can bring your own special treasures to add to your artwork.

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Pottery Wheel Experience – February 17 and 24

Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 p.m.

Pottery Wheel Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit at a potter’s wheel and actually throw a pot?

Robert Jones will take you through the process step-by-step, allowing you to gain confidence so that, with his help, you will make your own pottery pieces on the wheel. Each student will make two pieces that he will then fire and glaze in his own studio so that you will end up with a beautifully glazed mug or bowl which you can truly call your own. Please note, the firing and glazing time will take approximately 3-4 weeks before ready to collect. If you wish your items to be mailed, there will be an additional cost to cover postage and packing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary to take this class, however closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing are recommended. All materials are included in the cost.

Cost: $105.

Mosaic Art – February 17

Saturday, Feb. 17, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Introduction to Mosaic Art

The ancient art of mosaics is one of the most beautiful and oldest in the history of mankind. Participants will be working closely with Ron Shearer, you will create a mosaic that you will be proud to display. It will open a whole new world of creativity that you can easily continue on your own. Step-by-step, he will take you through the process of design, materials, cutting techniques and then carefully guide you through the application, initially using glue for positioning. You’ll have a little bit of fun “homework” to do between classes. When you return to the second workshop, you can really home in on the fine details and finishing your artwork. A wonderful, informative and creative workshop, and one that they have had many requests for. This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners, or those who want to fine-tune their skills. All materials are provided including supplies from WitsEnd Mosaics.

This workshop will also be offered March 16 and 23 and April 13 and 20.

Cost: $350 per student which is fully inclusive of six hours of intensive instruction over two weekends, and all materials including a pair of nippers that you can keep, mosaic glass tiles, design and backing board. Maximum 10 students per class – if you are a larger group, contact them directly at learnart@sawdustartfestival.org.

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LCAD presents Michael Savas: Variety of Creation at LCAD Gallery

A painting of a female tangled in monster tentacles is just one in the collection of Michael Savas’ work. An exhibition showcasing selected works of the macabre, whimsical and technical facets of Savas’ work opened yesterday (February 1).

The exhibition will run through March 17.

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Courtesy of LCAD

Michael Savas, “Arachnid” (detail), acrylic on canvas, 24” x 32”, 2007

Savas’ illustrations seamlessly blend traditional and tech-driven approaches, commencing in the mid-1980s as an advertising and technical illustrator for the aerospace and retail sectors. His collaboration with esteemed clients, such as Mitsubishi, Seiko, Mars Candy, Quaker Oats, Beckman Instruments and Sega Games led to his art gracing prestigious venues like the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles, Spectrum and Applied Arts.

In the digital realm, his work has been featured in exhibitions and venues like Mac World, Corel Painter Expo, Morongo Casino and more. Holding a BFA from Laguna College of Art + Design and an MFA from California University Long Beach, Savas has been imparting his knowledge at LCAD since 1996, serving in various roles, and is currently the chair of Illustration. This collection eloquently showcases his multifaceted creativity, revealing a profound love for illustration’s macabre, whimsical and technical realms.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach.

Hours, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.

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FOA Foundation accepting applications for 2024 Art Grants

The FOA Foundation is currently accepting applications for 2024 Art Grants. Nonprofit organizations with programs promoting fine arts in and about the City of Laguna Beach may apply. Grant applications are available online by clicking here. The submission deadline is Thursday, Feb. 29.

“The FOA Foundation takes great pride in supporting the vibrant tapestry of nonprofit organizations that enhance the cultural fabric of Laguna Beach,” said Kathy Jones, FOA Foundation president. “Our community thrives on the hard work and dedication of these groups, and we are committed to fostering an environment that celebrates creativity and the arts.”

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Photo by Mitch Ridder/Courtesy of Laguna Plein Air Painters

FOA Foundation supports and celebrates creativity and the arts

The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation (now named the FOA Foundation) was established in 1989 to preserve and promote the fine arts and all other artistic endeavors in and about the City of Laguna Beach.

The FOA Foundation is comprised of a board of trustees who oversees and administers the program including Kathy Jones (president), John Campbell (vice president), Bob Earl (treasurer), Jacquie Moffett (secretary), Jeff Redeker (board member), Jeff Rovner (board member) and Kirsten Whalen (board member).

For more information on the grant application process, contact Kathy Jones at arts@foafoundation.net.

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LAM collaborates with California artists for 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) announces the highly anticipated 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash is starting today (February 16) through March 4 with both online and in-person auction events. The auction will feature works of prominent California artists, on view to preview in person at Laguna Art Museum with paid admission, now through March 2, or via Artsy beginning today. Bidding for the annual auction will open online today at 9 a.m. via Artsy.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LAM

Sarah Genn, “My Heart is a Thousand Colors” (Light Punk) and (Hickey), 2024

On Saturday, March 2, the museum will host the annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash, promising an unforgettable evening from 6:30-10 p.m. Join more than 100 California artists in support of raising money for Laguna Art Museum during a night that brings the vibrant spirit of California to life. The proceeds generated will play a pivotal role in fueling the museum’s exciting phase of growth. Exclusive artworks will be available for purchase on Artsy both before and during the event.

“The 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash stands as a testament to the boundless creativity and generosity within our community. We are eager to welcome guests to the museum on March 2 for this extraordinary event in support of our exhibitions and education programs,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum. “With an impressive array of artworks and an esteemed guest list, the evening promises to be unforgettable.”

The impressive line-up of prominent California artists includes Laddie John Dill, Shepard Fairey, Ed Ruscha, Astrid Preston, Elizabeth Orleans, Cristopher Cichocki, Blue McRight, Ed Moses and many more. To keep the night lively and extra entertaining, friend to Laguna Art Museum, and the best in the business, auctioneer Zack Krone has been recruited for the event.

Registration for the online auction will open today via Artsy. For more information, registration and to purchase tickets to the exclusive event on March 2, click here. Presale tickets to the event on March 2 are available for $215 through March 1. Pending availability, tickets for the event will be available at the door on March 2 for $225. To participate in the online auction starting today via Artsy, register by clicking here.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash supports Laguna Art Museum’s mission through the generosity of the participating artists and attendees. Through artwork donations, these artists have shown their love and support of Laguna Art Museum as a leading arts organization in Southern California.

Laguna Art Museum is seeking additional sponsors for the 42nd Annual Art Auction + Benefit + Bash. Gain exclusive access, preview the art and receive an invite to a VIP event – all while supporting the museum’s mission. For more information, contact Crystal Tosello, development manager, at ctosello@lagunaartmuseum.org.

For more information about the 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction and Laguna Art Museum, visit https://lagunaartmuseum.org/.

Event Sponsors: Artsy, Barbara and Tad Danz, Elliott Kornhauser and Joe Baker, Katrina Foley, Ken and Jan Kaplan, Lori and Harley Bassman, Nolet’s Gin and Kettle One Vodka, Wendy Aird, WGB Insurance and William Gillespie Foundation.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

The Art Auction will be on view in all galleries on the Main Floor.

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Laguna Playhouse’s Youth Conservatory Program sets students up for success, on stage and off

By MARRIE STONE

One of the hardest parts of being a kid is figuring out who you are and who you want to become. Childhood can be a time of low self-esteem. Lots of students suffer a lack of confidence and scramble for acceptance from their peers. All those issues might be exacerbated in towns like Laguna, where sports dominate our culture and the pressure to perform feels high.

The Youth Conservatory program at the Laguna Playhouse aims to address those concerns (and more) by providing a safe space for students to try on a variety of hats, experiment with new identities, be exposed to an array of theatrical opportunities and receive sophisticated training. Because the Playhouse is one of only two professional regional theaters in Orange County, it gives students a unique opportunity to work with experienced industry instructors.

For the natural performers who happily ham it up in the spotlight, the Conservatory program provides some astounding opportunities. Behind-the-scenes technicians who enjoy scaling catwalks and constructing stage lighting will find their home. Artists who excel at set designs? Fashionistas who love creating costumes? Type-A directors who relish the chance to order others around? Check, check, check.

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Photos courtesy of The Laguna Playhouse

(L-R) Sydney Schaarsmith, Sophia Klein, Mia Wright, Lu Conceicao, Sam O’Neill, Max Allen, Bladen Logue and Katie Baker

“I wanted to create a place where students from all levels could experience theater,” said Joe Alanes, who took the helm as director of Education and Outreach in 2021. “Whether they’re trying it for the first time and still scared to get on stage, or they intend to pursue it as a profession.”

Unlike other theater programs, the Playhouse focuses on process over performance. The year-long program, aimed at youth between the ages of 10 and 18, exposes students to various aspects of acting and theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. “We train their self-esteem. And we train them to work together as a team,” he said. “These things help no matter what profession they choose. We create an environment of trust where they can take risks and fail. Their ensemble members pick them back up and help them learn and grow and see it as a learning experience.”

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Students perform in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (L-R) Ailey Katayama, Sydney Schaarsmith, Lila Etherton, Kai Wright and Marina Strombom

At the end of each session, students demonstrate their new-found skills. “It’s not so much a performance, but a look into what they’ve learned so parents can understand why we train the way we do,” Alanes said. “When they’re doing different exercises, students don’t necessarily realize they’re learning to trust their instincts or learning how to react. But these skills help them become better actors.”

The theater also helps them become better humans. Acting gives kids an opportunity to flex their empathy muscles. Inhabiting characters who might see the world differently than they do isn’t a bad skill to have in today’s divided world. “There are no bad characters. Bad guys don’t know they’re bad,” Alanes said. “They just want something and they’re going for it. They feel like they’re in the right. So, students have to get into that mind space. It helps them to empathize and have a sense of curiosity about what drives these people so they can create full, three-dimensional characters.”

To facilitate that protective environment where students are encouraged to take emotional risks, the Playhouse aims to create a culture of acceptance and camaraderie. “This is the place where kids come to feel safe. This is the place where they can be themselves,” Alanes said. “For whatever reasons, a lot of them can’t do that at school. The parents start to see this as an important sanctuary for them.”

Current and former students share how the Playhouse Conservatory Program has impacted their lives

“As they’re doing it, they discover what path they want to take in the future. They try different things like playwriting and directing. Students can be assistant stage managers, assistant directors, assistant choreographers, music directors – there are so many different paths,” Alanes said, noting that several students begin the program wanting to act only to find their calling backstage.

Even if their paths don’t lead to theater, students will benefit no matter what profession they choose. Litigating a court case requires performance skills. Teachers improvise in their classrooms all day. Self-confidence, teamwork, collaboration, empathy – those are skills that serve you no matter what.

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Stillman Sawyer’s photos again featured at foaSouth, more than a decade after inaugural show, but different images on display

By THERESA KEEGAN

Art rarely travels along a straight Point A to Point B path. Often, there are many circuitous routes taken from conception to completion. But photographer Stillman Sawyer’s vision was so holistic that his work has been resurrected for a second show at the foaSouth Gallery – a little more than 12 years since he was the featured artist at the gallery’s inaugural exhibition. Ephemeral Monuments: A Stillman Sawyer Retrospective opened January 10 and will run through March 30.

It’s a stunning show of beautiful, large, stark black and white images of nature. The prints are a joy to look at, as the contrasting details within them reveal the power of darkroom printing, a process gone the way of film and negatives.

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Photos by Tom Lamb

The foaSouth gallery, located inside the Active Culture store, is currently showing photographs by Stillman Sawyer, who was the featured artist when the gallery originally opened in 2011

Sawyer, who died in 2007, had not only been an accomplished geologist and engineer, he was also an photographic artist who showed his work at the Festival of Arts.

“I spent a lot of time with Stillman creating his collection of work,” said landscape photographer Tom Lamb. “We met as exhibitors but became good friends.” The two also lived in the same Laguna Beach neighborhood. Lamb watched as Sawyer, in the last 10 years of his life, started “cherry-picking” his images and was distributing them to friends and family as Sawyer never married or had children.

“I wanted him to really start looking at his photography as a collection,” explained Lamb. “He was an engineer, so he had all the negatives and proof sheets numbered and when they were printed. It was really well organized.”

Sawyer’s photography spanned decades, including when the profession was evolving from print to digital. His work style is considered along the lines of the f.64 group, so named because the images made famous by photographers like Ansel Adams (who Sawyer spent time with) used an F64 camera aperture. This setting allows deep, detailed saturations of black and white images. In Sawyer’s obituary, Adams is credited with saying the two men’s work is deemed comparable.

Sawyer often documented the extreme locations he went to for his engineering work, including time in Alaska. He also was an avid camper said Lamb and would hop into one of his many sportscars with a friend and take off on a whim, including one time when he awoke at the edge of the Grand Canyon in a morning snowstorm and started taking pictures.

“He spent a lot of time being in nature,” said Lamb. “There was a naivete to some of the work that added to it. He was going after his own vision and his own personality. He had an appreciation of flight and space and natural forms.”

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The show opened on January 10, after receiving critical support from (L-R) Emma Zent, exhibits and events assistant; Larry Forster, operations supervisor and Morgan Matthews, art collections specialist at the Festival of Arts

Lamb credits Sawyer’s down-to-earth perspective for his beautiful images and also why so many people enjoyed being with him.

“He would spend a lot of time with people and get to know them, really talk to them,” said Lamb. “He didn’t mind a party here and there, but he wasn’t extravagant at all. He’d ride his bike and show up in flip-flops. He was casually laid back.”

When making arrangements for the collection, Sawyer reached out to his alma maters, both Pomona College and Stanford. Neither institution had the wherewithal, or space, to accept such an extensive collection. In addition to the prints and negatives and contact sheets, Sawyer’s collection also includes cameras and various photographic ephemera appropriate for the time he was shooting, from the 1970s through 2000.

“We looked to give the collections to the universities,” recalled Lamb. “We didn’t get very far. Stillman wasn’t overly well known, but it was a really nice representative collection.”

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Laguna Dance Festival presents three nights of dance from New Zealand to Los Angeles

Laguna Dance Festival announces their 2024 Festival, featuring three nights of captivating dance performances from international and local talents. Guided by the vision of Founder and Artistic Director Jodie Gates, this exceptional festival is scheduled to captivate audiences from Friday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 25, with a complimentary backstage event on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the renowned Laguna Playhouse. Secure your tickets now by clicking here.

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Foundation

Laguna Dance Festival Founder and Artistic Director Jodie Gates

According to Gates, “The 2024 Festival represents the extraordinary talents here in Southern California and the Pacific Rim, delivering an eclectic array of dance styles. From contemporary dance and traditional Somoan movement to ballet and tap, each performance promises the highest level of integrity, expertise and excitement.”

As a native Californian and a Laguna Beach resident for nearly two decades, Gates continues to delve into the profound meaning of artistry in the world. “Through the language of dance, the festival aims to nurture the next generation, explore collaborations, and provide patrons with a blend of tradition and daring dance performances suitable for all ages.”

In addition to the program, February 24 marks a collaborative venture with the Laguna Beach Music Festival, in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. This unique collaboration promises a one-of-a-kind experience, seamlessly merging the artistry of dance with live music.

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival

Black Grace, presented by Neil Ierema

Backstage with Black Grace Thursday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m.

Immerse yourself in the world of dance with an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m., as New Zealand’s Black Grace takes center stage for a complimentary event. Witness the magic of on-stage rehearsals and gain rare insight into the artistic process.

Artistic Director and Choreographer Neil Ierema will be present, providing an intimate exploration of the dance world. Neil said, “We are excited to include Laguna Dance Festival on Black Grace’s upcoming tour to the United States. The repertory program will span almost three decades of my choreography, and we are looking forward to sharing these works with Laguna audiences.”

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Photo by Duncan Cole

Black Grace, Paradise Rumour Performance

Black Grace Friday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Direct from New Zealand, Black Grace, an ensemble of extraordinary dancers, will grace the stage on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Choreographer Neil Ierema’s fusion of contemporary dance with traditional Samoan movement promises performances that are eloquent, spiritual, athletic and lyrical. The evening showcases two acts, including Handgame and Kiona and the Little Bird Suite in the first act and the thought-provoking Paradise Rumour in the second act. The night begins with a pre-show curtain speech at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 15-minute intermission between performances.

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Photo by David Friedman

Los Angeles Ballet

Los Angeles Ballet & Black Grace Saturday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m., the leading ballet company in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Ballet, will captivate audiences in a collaborative event with Black Grace for a night of breathtaking performances. Artistic Director of Los Angeles Ballet, Melissa Barak shared, “It’s a thrill for us at Los Angeles Ballet to be part of the Laguna Dance Festival this year. We’ll be presenting works that are new to the LAB repertoire, providing a glimpse into the innovative choreography that will define our future.”

This performance also begins the collaboration with the Laguna Beach Music Festival, a partnership with Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. The collaboration promises a unique experience, combining the artistry of dance with live music. The evening showcases Los Angeles Ballet’s versatility, featuring a range of ballet styles, including classical, contemporary and neoclassical pieces.

The performances will include Nicolas Blanc’s contemporary ballet “Tableaux Vivants” and Artistic Director Melissa Barak’s compelling work “Reclamation,” adapted from film to stage. Moreover, the Festival will present a world premiere dance work choreographed by Jodie Gates, accompanied by live music performed with solo cello.

The evening kicks off at 7:30 p.m., with a 15-minute intermission between performances. Don’t miss this extraordinary fusion of dance and music, promising an unforgettable night of artistic brilliance.

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Photo by Joey Kennedy

Syncopated Ladies

Syncopated Ladies & Los Angeles Ballet Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m.

The Festival culminates on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m., with an afternoon performance highlighting the Syncopated Ladies and Los Angeles Ballet. Recognized by the Los Angeles Times as “the next generation of genre-bending tappers,” Syncopated Ladies bring a dynamic and invigorating tap dance showcase to the stage. Los Angeles Ballet’s captivating performances persist, featuring special solos by recipients of LDF’s 2024 Young Artist Scholarship. The matinee unfolds in two acts with a 15-minute intermission, followed by a post-show meet and greet with the dancers in the theater lobby.

The February 25 matinee also features select talented Young Artist Scholarship recipients from the Festival’s 2024 line-up, providing them with the opportunity to showcase their unique skills and perform individual solos.

Don’t miss this unparalleled celebration of dance at the Laguna Playhouse. Tickets are available now at www.lagunadancefestival.org.

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LAM adds new February events and announces artists for California Cool Art Auction

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Photos courtesy of LAM

California Cool Art Auction announces participating artists

California Cool Art Auction, a sell-out annual event, is just around the corner – March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Experience the live and silent auctions alongside a night of specialty-crafted cocktails & appetizers, a red-carpet experience, live music, artist meet & greets, and more. Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has just announced its participating artists.

The annual California Cool Art Auction and Benefit brings together the art community in support of the museum’s mission to enlighten people of all ages through California art. Bidding begins February 16.

 Preview auction artworks in-person began February 2. Online bidding will conclude on March 4.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction is powered by Artsy, enabling art lovers from around the world to view and bid online. Artsy is the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplace for buying and selling art, with the world’s largest database of contemporary art.

Preview and get ready to bid on more than 125 original artworks in support of your museum. The majority of artworks are on view now at the museum for you to enjoy during museum hours. Proceeds from the annual auction provide vital support to the museum.

Free Preview Nights February 15, 21 and 29 from 5-7 p.m.

Want a closer look at the artworks available in the Art Auction? Many of the available artworks are on display now at the museum to view with admission. Featured are high-profile artworks at affordable starting bids. For a list of participating artists, click here.

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New Moms at the Museum – February 15

Thursday, Feb. 15, 9-10:30 a.m.

New Moms at the Museum

Join LAM for breakfast an hour before the museum opens to the public for an introduction of a featured piece of art by museum staff, followed by practical tips for postnatal recovery and baby care suggestions from industry professionals.

Advance tickets are recommended. Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18. For tickets, click here.

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Art Workshop: Figure Drawing – February 16

Friday, Feb. 16, 4-7 p.m.

Art Workshop: Figure Drawing

Join Peter Zokosky, Chair of MFA Drawing + Painting at LCAD, for a figure drawing workshop. Learn the basics and build on your knowledge of how to draw the human form with a live model. Supplies included with purchase of ticket.

Class Date: February 16. Please note that the model will be nude.

Advance tickets recommended. Adults (18+) only. Museum members: $30, Non-members: $45. For tickets, click here.

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Adam Neeley, “Modern Alchemy” opens February 17

February 17-July 29

Modern Alchemy: The Fusion of Art and Nature in the jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Adam Neeley is an award-winning artist/jeweler who transforms precious metals and gemstones into wearable art by traditional goldsmith techniques and modern technologies. His unique designs are inspired by the vast variety of shapes and colors found in the natural world. In fact, it was his childhood interest in collecting rocks that eventually drew Neeley to the master goldsmiths in Italy, where he would study the art of jewelry making. Eventually he developed his own style and techniques of goldwork that have won him international acclaim, as well as prestigious awards across the jewelry industry.

Through many years of trial and error, Neeley developed a never-before-seen technique that he calls Spectra Gold, which seamlessly changes one color of gold into another. This is accomplished by a labor-intensive forging process to create a subtle gradient, or ombré, of color from yellow gold to white gold and more. This, along with his creation of totally new colors of gold, adds to the sense that his jewelry is created by a modern-day alchemist.

This exhibition will explore both the creative working processes of this innovative jeweler, and some of the raw and faceted gems and minerals used by him to create his art. Collaborating with world-class lapidaries, such as Stephen Avery, Neeley creates truly imaginative pieces that go beyond contemporary designs into the realm of dreams and fantasy inspired by imagination and the world around him. Neeley is a true 21st century alchemist.

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LBCAC adds new events to 2024

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1-5 p.m.

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture

31372 Guadalupe St., San Juan Capistrano

Lovers of culture, the arts and the history of San Juan Capistrano,

join your friends from the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) in a music-rich celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts and Culture. This exclusive event is being held in an adobe home built in 1929 by Dr. Paul Esslinger, a well-known doctor in both San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach.

Welcome Reception with Artivist | Ricardo Duffy

Guests will be welcomed by its current owners with a home and property tour by Carmen Escamilla and by Chicano/Indigenous artist Ricardo Duffy.

Opera Reimagined Host & Tenor | Rick Weber

Classically trained vocalist and host of “LBCAC Presents: Opera Re-Imagined,” Rick Weber is inspired by the world’s most beloved tenors, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Mario Lanza.

Storyteller/Historian/Naturalist | Barefoot Joel

“Barefoot Joel” is the director of Naturalist for You, a 17-year-old environmental educational nonprofit, based in Orange County. Guests will be amazed by his retelling of San Juan Capistrano’s living history, based on his personal experiences restoring habitats, conducting biological surveys and guiding nature walks in the local wilderness.

Musician | Ryan Heflin

Heflin recently released a music video for his popular “California Dreamer” – a thoughtful, romantic song about the California of yesterday.

Supergroup | Tremoloco

Tremoloco is a SoCal-based band that draws from the sounds of Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk and blues in a blend of original and traditional songs, best described as Gulf Coast Folklorico.

Due to the intimate setting, space is limited, so please buy tickets now.

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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Lunar Lullaby – February 25

Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Lunar Lullaby, Musical Event Artomya

Join LBCAC for an unforgettable evening of classical enchantment as they present a special concert featuring world-renowned performers, including Eric Henderson, who promise to captivate your senses.

Diana Skavronskaya: A Lyric Coloratura Soprano Extraordinaire

Prepare to be mesmerized by the award-winning lyric coloratura soprano, Diana Skavronskaya.

Tal Vaknine: The Spellbinding Harpist from Jerusalem

Elevating the evening with ethereal harp melodies is the exceptional Israeli artist, Tal Vaknine.

Lyena Atonyicq: Pianist, Philanthropist and Opera/ Piano Coach

Completing their trio of musical virtuosos is LBCAC’s own Lyena Atonyicq, a concert pianist/coach with four masters in music.

Special Guest

Eric Henderson: Guitar Virtuoso and Composer

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Henderson covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.

For tickets, click here.

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Guy King – February 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Guy King Trio

The Sky and Ocean Aren’t the Only Way to See Inspiring Blues in Laguna in 2024.

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center has stepped up to preserve one of America’s most powerful and influential art forms, by providing a memorable OC haven for national touring blues legends.

The LBCAC offers its intimate listening room, stellar acoustics, state-of-the-art sound system and a host town recognized as one of the nation’s leading arts-centric resort destinations.

Guy King got his start in Chicago, with blues singer Willie Kent’s band “The Gents.” They played together for six years, and ultimately, King became Kent’s bandleader. Not long after Kent died, King began his solo career. King is known for his eclectic style and unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb.

LBCAC is located at 235 Forest Avenue.

Checkout the calendar at www.lbculturalartscenter.org.

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Cultural Arts reviews 2023 and looks ahead in 2024

The Arts Commission and Cultural Arts review their 2023 accomplishments. To view, click here.

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Photos courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Pop up flower installation at Forest Promenade in 2023

Call for Artists

Temporary Public Art Installations

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2021 banner by Bud Herrera

Banner Competition

Deadline: March 4

Honorarium: $4,000

Watch the new “Artist Perspective” video (click here) featuring local artist Al Esquerra sharing his best practices for the City of Laguna Beach annual Outdoor Banner Competition. The Arts Commission is also accepting design submissions for the 2024 Banner Competition. You can participate and be a part of Laguna Beach’s artistic community by applying today.

Click here for the 2024 Banner Competition program guidelines. The deadline to apply is March 4.

Art That’s Small at City Hall

Deadline: March 9

1st – $600 | 2nd – $300 | 3rd – $150

The Arts Commission invites artists to participate in their temporary public art and exhibitions opportunities.

These programs are funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Public Art Ordinance & Policy

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission will present its concept and recommendations for policies for public art to the City Council on February 27. The purpose of the report is to provide a consolidated and updated set of policies that could become a comprehensive program guideline available online for all artists, stakeholders and the public.

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Laguna Live! announces LB Music Festival Festival Prelude featuring Anne Akiko Meyers in February

Tuesdays through May, 11:30 a.m.

Live! Music Matters, free children’s program returns

Laguna Beach Live! is delighted to announce another series of their free, children’s program “Live! Music Matters.” An interactive music class for ages up to 6 years old, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill leads the sessions while attendees sing, dance, and play child friendly percussion instruments.

​The Tuesday morning sessions are held at Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St.

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

Jazz Wednesdays returns:

Jazz Wednesdays feature world-class musicians in the cabaret setting of [seven-degrees] 891 Laguna Canyon Road. Held every two weeks, the six-part series kicks off on February 28 and closes on May 8.

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Laguna Beach Music Festival Prelude – February 14

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

LBMF Prelude, Performance by Anne Akiko Meyers

Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

For tickets, click here.

Friday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m.

LBMF Opening Night: Metamorphoses

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin and Emmanuel Ceysson, Harp

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

For tickets, click here.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

LBMF: Doubles

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Aubree Oliverson, Violin and Colburn Virtuosi

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Joined by string orchestra, Anne Akiko Meyers shares a program titled “Doubles,” which features the fiery interplay of two violins in works such as “Bach’s Double Violin Concerto” and Philip Glass’ “Echorus for Two Violins and Strings.”

For tickets, click here.

Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m.

LBMF: CARNAVAL!

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Fabio Bidini, Piano; Matthew Howard, Marimba/Drums; Nathan Farrington, Double Bass

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Anne Akiko Meyers brings the 2024 Laguna Beach Music Festival to a delightful close with “Carnaval!”

For tickets, click here.

A co-presentation of Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

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Soul of Jazz, Bijon Watson

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience, or to gift the experience, of some truly outstanding music.

Ticket prices for individual concerts remain at only $37.50 in advance; $40 at the door; $225 for the full season. Concerts are 6-8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. for bar and social hour. Drinks and food are available for pre purchase.

Click here for tickets, or call 949.715.3713.

The Line-Up

February 28: Powerhouse Jazz and Blues Vocalist, Maiya Sykes with her sensational Tribute to Musical Legends.

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Maiya Sykes performs on February 28

March 13: Matt Johnson and The New Jet Set: “Swingin’ the Disney Songbook” featuring Adryon de Leon.

March 27: Brazilian Guitarist and Vocalist, Téka, Quintet featuring Saxophonist, Robert Kyle.

April 10: Black Market Reverie with their “speak easy” jazz, a mix of jazz, classic French pop and Americana.

April 24: Renowned Soul, Jazz and R&B vocalist, Raffia Thomas brings stunning vocals and soulful vibes along with her quintet.

May 8: Grammy award winner Bijon Watson’s Latin Jazz Syndicate, featuring sizzling Cuban vocalist, Adonis Puentes.

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LOCA adds Mentor Paint Together with Jeff Sewell

Art lovers will meet Laguna Beach’s most fascinating artists and industry professionals at LOCA Art Talks. Events are Thursday evenings, now through May in Downtown Laguna Beach. Attendees will receive a post-event coupon for 15% off dining at nearby restaurants.

LOCA Art Talks schedule:

February 22: Secrets of Art Conservation: Everyone who appreciates fine art will love meeting Susan Brown, arts conservationist and Jennifer Keil, director of Moulton Museum and founder of 70 Degrees.

March 14: Art and Jazz – The iconic imagery of Blue Note Records, with jazz singer and historian Elena Gilliam. Registration is open.

April 25: Andrew Myers – Career Retrospective, with Andrew Myers. Registration is open.

May: Public Art in Downtown Laguna Beach, with Mike Tauber and guest artists. Registration opens soon.

Become a LOCA member and enjoy free admission to all LOCA Art Talks, and many other benefits.

LOCA’s newest teaching location is in the south end of Laguna Beach, easily reached from Downtown, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel and San Clemente.

The expansion allows LOCA to offer “extended learning” series of classes whereby students, both adults and families, can build a “toolbox of skills” over several weeks.

LOCA students will enjoy the hilltop location, panoramic ocean views and free onsite parking. Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center, 30516 S. Coast Highway. Enter on Cardinal Drive, just south of Nyes Place.

Even though the holidays are over, you can still give a full year of art experiences – in one tiny box! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Know someone who loves art and Laguna Beach? Surprise them with a LOCA 2024 membership and they’ll enjoy a full year of art experiences of their choice! Your $50 purchase ensures them a bounty of benefits including free admission to six LOCA Art Talks lectures, an exclusive Membership Sunday Brunch and Art Talk, a shout-out feature in their eNewsletter, half-priced registration to LOCA’s workshops taught by well-known Laguna Beach artists throughout the town – and much more.

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Courtesy of LOCA

Give the gift of art experiences for a full year

What they’ll get:

Your thoughtfully chosen gift will be presented as a charming reusable box, topped with a LOCA pencil, and elegantly wrapped with a bow. Inside is a 2024 membership card listing the fantastic benefits. A $250 value!

Buy it now for $50:

Use LOCA’s secure and easy “Gift a Membership” red checkout button on their membership page by clicking here. Your package will arrive by mail in 4-7 business days.

Check out all the Custom Art Escapes LOCA has to offer – paint donuts, flowers and self-portraits, take a family art class, create a fall centerpiece, design your own holiday cards, walk the city and more…there’s something for everyone.

Courtesy of LOCA

Projects have included “Bioluminescence” inspired by recent ocean phenomenon

Families Love LOCA at the Library

LOCA’s Family Art Classes at Laguna Beach Public Library have been a smashing success. The “happy hour” 4:30-5:30 p.m. timeslot has made it convenient for parents and kids to enjoy a creative learning space, led by Allison Keefe. “We encourage parents and kids to work together,” Keefe said.

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Courtesy of LOCA

Art on the Wild Side 

–Through March 4, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Art on the Wild Side

South Laguna Community and Recreation Center

Eight consecutive Mondays (skip February 19): Inspired by nature conservation, Elizabeth McGhee and Allison Keefe will teach drawing, collage, printmaking and painting of subjects native to local coasts and canyons, including insects, plants, animals and tidepool life.

Ages 6-adult. Fee: $195 includes all materials. 30516 S. Coast Highway with free onsite parking. To register, go to www.locaarts.org

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LPAPA announces “Sounds with Plein Air” Paint Out on February 17

LPAPA is excited to announce that the 5th Annual “LPAPA Strong Painted Postcards Art Auction” fundraiser opened online at 10 a.m. yesterday (Feb. 5). The auction continues until 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8. Painted postcards can be viewed online by clicking here.

All postcards have a starting bid of $50 with $10 bid increments. They’re hoping viewers will bid generously and help raise funds to support LPAPA’s art and education programs and the artists. When bidding you can choose to place an exact bid, or you can choose to place a proxy bid and let 32auctions bid for you. Click the Auction link and open a free auction account or log in to bid.

LPAPA is hosting an online Virtual Reception Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. Register to join LPAPA for free by clicking here to meet the artist, and help them count down to the auction ending at 6 p.m.

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Photos courtesy of LPAPA

New Paint Party Paint Alongs – February 15

Thursday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Afternoon Tea, Live and Online Paint Party

Get four fun-filled paint parties with different themes for $199.

Save more than $35 when you enroll in the series of four, or purchase individual courses for $59/each.

Burger Bar – February 21

Daddy’s Girl – February 28

Sunset Sky – March 6

Learn new techniques to achieve strong design, light and shadow, as participants paint this beautiful rose and lovely china.

New Paint Party Paint Alongs are here. Grab your paint and easel and join award-winning artist Debra Huse for live, online Paint Parties.

Discover Huse, who will provide the reference photos and guide you from start to finish as you paint together, brushstroke by brushstroke. Enjoy exclusive pro tips and insightful instruction. Paint Parties are fun for everyone, from beginner to more advanced painters. Complete a great little painting in only two hours. See, paint and learn with other artists from across the world.

To register, click here.

“Sounds with Plein Air” on February 17

Saturday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

22nd Season of the Laguna Beach Music Festival

LPAPA “Sounds with Plein Air” Paint Out at Heisler Park

In celebration of the 22nd season of the Laguna Beach Music Festival, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association team up for this special three-hour event with LPAPA plein air painters, Laguna Beach Music Festival artists, and local musicians, gathering in Laguna Beach for a morning of art, music and ocean views. This is a free event open to the public. Details about the schedule and specific locations to follow.

Members are invited to register for free to join in the fun. Bring your painting gear, family and friends, and enjoy a morning full of music and art. Non-Member Artists are invited to participate with the LPAPA Artists for a $10 registration fee. Registration is required.

For questions, contact Bonnie Langner at 949.376.3635.

Payment in full in advance only. Advance registration is required to be recognized as a participating artist. Current LPAPA Members are invited to participate for free; non-member outdoor painters are welcome to join this for a $10 registration fee. All painting experience levels and all mediums are welcome. Register by clicking here.

Annual Signature Showcase

The LPAPA Gallery features their 3rd Annual “Signature Showcase” gallery exhibition features original plein air and studio works created by LPAPA Signature Artist Members on display until March 4.

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Photos courtesy of LPAPA

Signature Showcase

Participating Signature Artists: Geoff Allen, Richard Boyer, Carl Bretzke, Cynthia Britain, Brienne Brown, Saim Caglayan, Larry Cannon, Rick J. Delanty, Gil Dellinger, Carole Gray-Weihman, Scott Hamill, Nita Harper, Mike Hill, Catherine Hillis, Charlie Hunter, Debra Huse, Chuck Kovacic, Jason Li, Calvin Liang, Richard Lindenberg, Kim Lordier, David Marty, Eileen McCullough, Terry Miura, Lisa Mozzini-McDill, Robin Purcell, Jeff Sewell, Mark Shasha, Michael Situ, Durre Waseem and Ran Wu.

The LPAPA Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or by appointment, with extended hours to 9 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. For assistance, call the LPAPA Gallery at 949.376.3635, or contact Bonnie Lander at bonnie@lpapa.org, or Toni Kellenberg at toni@lpapa.org, or by phone at 949.291.0882

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association/LPAPA Gallery is located at 414 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

For more information, go to www.lpapa.org.

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LAM adds new February events and announces artists for California Cool Art Auction

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Photos courtesy of LAM

California Cool Art Auction announces participating artists

California Cool Art Auction, a sell-out annual event, is just around the corner – March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Experience the live and silent auctions alongside a night of specialty-crafted cocktails & appetizers, a red-carpet experience, live music, artist meet & greets, and more. Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has just announced its participating artists.

The annual California Cool Art Auction and Benefit brings together the art community in support of the museum’s mission to enlighten people of all ages through California art. Bidding begins February 16.

 Preview auction artworks in-person began February 2. Online bidding will conclude on March 4.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction is powered by Artsy, enabling art lovers from around the world to view and bid online. Artsy is the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplace for buying and selling art, with the world’s largest database of contemporary art.

Free Preview Nights, February 8, 4-6 p.m. and February 15, 21, 29 from 5-7 p.m.

Want a closer look at the artworks available in the Art Auction? Many of the available artworks are on display now at the museum to view with admission. Featured are high-profile artworks at affordable starting bids. For a list of participating artists, click here.

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Kelly Berg – “Pyramid of Palm Canyon”

Friday, Feb. 9 – Sunday, Feb. 11

Art Access, Art of Venice

Are you looking for a weekend getaway or an early Valentine’s Day present? Laguna Art Museum has the perfect plan. Join them for a weekend trip to Venice Beach, filled with art, exploration and community. Attendees will be staying at Hotel ERWIN, which has been nominated for Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Award, and is located right on Venice Beach, adjacent to the world-famous Venice Beach boardwalk.

Over the weekend, participants will have the chance to visit the studios and galleries of some of the California Cool Auction Artists such as Andy Moses, Kelly Berg, Ned Evans, Woods Davy, Elizabeth Orleans, Blue McRight and Guy Dill. They will also get an exclusive private tour of Kelly Berg’s latest exhibition before it opens, and an intimate wine and cheese gathering hosted at Woods Davy’s private gallery.

For details and itinerary, click here.

Museum members $500, non-members $550. For tickets, click here. Ticket price includes luxurious transportation through Venice, private studio/gallery tours, a wine & cheese event hosted by artist Woods Davy and an exclusive dinner hosted by LAM on Saturday night.

To make reservations, contact Carly Bornmann, development events coordinator, at cbornmann@lagunaartmuseum.org.

Event capacity is limited.

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Wine Tasting with Jennifer Kennedy on February 10

Saturday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m.

Wine Tasting with Jennifer Kennedy

Join LAM for a wine-tasting experience with Jennifer Kennedy, a local wine director from Laguna Beach. Kennedy will guide participants through four eclectic wines, each paired with small bites. As a bonus, attendees will receive an exclusive preview of the 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction.

Advance tickets are recommended. Members: $30, Non-members: $45. For tickets, click here.

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“Sunset #3” by Frank Cuprien on February 11

Sunday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m.

The Life and Art of Frank Cuprien

In this lecture, art historian and LAM Curatorial Fellow Jean Stern will discuss the life and art of American impressionist Frank Cuprien.  The lecture will last about 45 minutes and show approximately 100 slides representing the life and work of the artist. Afterwards, Stern will take questions from the audience.

Frank W. Cuprien (1871-1948) was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he studied both art and music. After returning from 11 years of study in Europe, Cuprien devoted his career to painting the ocean in all its moods and colors.

John Moran Auctioneers & Appraisers are the exclusive auctioneer/appraiser for the 2024 Jean Stern Presents lectures.

Advance tickets are recommended. Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18. For tickets, click here.

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Luciana Abait on February 11

Sunday, Feb 11, 1 p.m.

Art Workshop with Luciana Abait

In this workshop, Luciana Abait will lead participants to create a surreal landscape working with a mixed media technique similar to the one she uses in her works. Abait will speak briefly about surrealism and the language of dreams, and will explain how that relates to her work. She will then invite participants to create their own artwork in which they can express their dreams or what they would like to dream of. Participants will be provided with several photographs of landscapes, laser copies of minute objects that they can cut out to insert into the landscapes to create a surreal scene, and acrylic painting to add texture and mood to the collage, and turn the work into a mixed media piece. A frame will be provided to each participant so that their finished piece can be installed and exhibited in their homes.

Advance tickets are recommended. Museum members: $20, Non-members: $30. For tickets, click here.

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New Moms at the Museum – February 15

Thursday, Feb. 15, 9-10:30 a.m.

New Moms at the Museum

Join LAM for breakfast an hour before the museum opens to the public for an introduction of a featured piece of art by museum staff, followed by practical tips for postnatal recovery and baby care suggestions from industry professionals.

Advance tickets are recommended. Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18. For tickets, click here.

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Sawdust Festival adds more winter classes and announces Ski Week Art Camp

Sawdust Art Classes has many expressive and informative classes offered every week that the Sawdust Art Festival wants to share with you (far too many to mention here!).

Sawdust is excited to announce Ski Week Art Camp, February 19, 20, 22 and 23 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Participants can sign up for one day or the entire week.

Visit Sawdust online (click here) for detailed information on classes, times and listings. They can’t wait to share the magic of art with you!

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Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Jewelry & Textile Valentine heART on February 9, 10 and 16

Friday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, 2-4 p.m. (with wine) and Friday, Feb. 16, 4-6 p.m., date night with wine

Jewelry & Textile Valentine heART with Tatyana Zen

Join Sawdust artist Tatyana Zen in a fun, Valentine-themed mixed media class. Create a lovely heart heirloom, bejeweled with upcycled gold jewelry, rhinestones, pearls and shells, on a rich, fabric display.

Cost: $95 per student. All supplies are provided, except for the frame. Optionally, you can bring your own special treasures to add to your artwork.

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Pottery Wheel Experience – February 10

Saturday, Feb. 10, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 p.m.

Pottery Wheel Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit at a potter’s wheel and actually throw a pot?

Robert Jones will take you through the process step-by-step, allowing you to gain confidence so that, with his help, you will make your own pottery pieces on the wheel. Each student will make two pieces that he will then fire and glaze in his own studio so that you will end up with a beautifully glazed mug or bowl which you can truly call your own. Please note, the firing and glazing time will take approximately 3-4 weeks before ready to collect. If you wish your items to be mailed, there will be an additional cost to cover postage and packing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary to take this class, however closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing are recommended. All materials are included in the cost.

Cost: $105.

Mosaic Art – February 10 and 17

Saturday, Feb. 10 and 17, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., two days

Introduction to Mosaic Art

The ancient art of mosaics is one of the most beautiful and oldest in the history of mankind. Participants will be working closely with Ron Shearer, you will create a mosaic that you will be proud to display. It will open a whole new world of creativity that you can easily continue on your own. Step-by-step, he will take you through the process of design, materials, cutting techniques and then carefully guide you through the application, initially using glue for positioning. You’ll have a little bit of fun “homework” to do between classes. When you return to the second workshop, you can really home in on the fine details and finishing your artwork. A wonderful, informative and creative workshop, and one that they have had many requests for. This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners, or those who want to fine-tune their skills. All materials are provided including supplies from WitsEnd Mosaics.

This workshop will also be offered March 16 and 23 and April 13 and 20.

Cost: $350 per student which is fully inclusive of six hours of intensive instruction over two weekends, and all materials including a pair of nippers that you can keep, mosaic glass tiles, design and backing board. Maximum 10 students per class – if you are a larger group, contact them directly at learnart@sawdustartfestival.org.

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Sleeping Fairies in a Magical Nest – February 10

Saturday, Feb 10, 12-2 p.m.

Sleeping Fairies with Melissa Belland

Transport yourself to a miniature world of magic with Sawdust artist Melissa Belland, in her enchanting Laguna Beach studio. Class includes all the magical elements needed to create a whimsical, personalized fairy, sleeping peacefully in a precious little nest. Belland will provide a unique hand painted head and sturdy body to build upon. Silken hairstyles, clothing, majestic crowns, and wings are all important elements you’ll choose from to make your fairy completely personal and one-of-a-kind.

Cost: $100.

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Don’t Touch Me – Celebrate Valentine’s Day No Square-style on Saturday, Feb. 10

By MARRIE STONE

You never know where you might find love, even if you’re not looking for it. But it’s possible you’ll find it at No Square Theatre this weekend. For the first time ever, No Square’s (almost) annual Anti-Valentine’s Day concert is preceded by a “Singles Mingle” event. Beginning an hour before showtime, singles seeking some Valentine’s Day action (or even a little company) are invited to share a drink and gain early access to seats. If you’re lucky, you just might get lucky…or at least find someone to sit with.

For the rest of us, No Square once again promises to bring 30 hilarious numbers celebrating the good, the bad and the downright ugly sides of love. “All the songs are existing pop songs or showtunes that have to do with how love – or loss of love – can make us lose our minds in a way,” said Director Ella Wyatt. “It will definitely be a night of laughs, and the show is definitely not for kids.”

The 14-member cast blends No Square regulars with some new recruits. Eric Anderson, Sophia Barajas, Bree Burgess-Rosen, Garrett Claud, Lily Edwards, Ash Frost, Gary Green, Marc Marger, Abby Matossian, Sophie Matossian, Harper O’Loughlin, Steven Pepper, Sammi Wallschlaeger and Ella Wyatt will all appear, accompanied by musical director Roxanna Ward who will, no doubt, add her signature improvisational humor to the show.

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Photos courtesy of No Square Theatre

No Square Theatre Director Ella Wyatt will sing and direct this year’s (almost) annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Concert on stage Saturday, Feb. 10

Get ready for an emotional ride through love, loss, desire, heartache, sex, romance and all its messy aftermath. The show includes excerpts from the Grease soundtrack, songs from the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series and a tune from the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde musical. “There’s a great group number called ‘Let’s Generalize About Men,’” said Steven Pepper, who’s performing for the first time on the No Square stage. “It’s a very tongue-in-cheek number.”

Another No Square newcomer, Lily Edwards, agreed. “I must admit that I chortled out loud the first time I listened to [it],” she said. “Many of my fave lyrics are dropped in that song!”

Pepper also pointed out songs like “Oh My God, I Think I Like You,” about our current hookup culture and “the weirdness of having romantic feelings in the 21st century.” Imagine the horror of developing feelings for your friend-with-benefits!

Some of Wyatt’s own favorites include “Big French Boyfriend” from Toxic Avenger and “The Hot Dog Song” from Bullets Over Broadway. Abby Matossian, who sings “The Hot Dog Song,” loves it too. “There’s a section where she does an interpretive dance, but the audience interprets it one way, and the Catholic Church interprets it another,” Matossian said. “It makes me laugh considering the fact that I have never seen anyone actually perform the song.”

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Abby Matossian who performed in No Square’s 2022 show “Footloose” and their 2023 production of “SpongeBob”

For the hopeless romantics in the audience, there are a few love songs. Longtime No Square performer Marc Marger will sing “Fifty Percent” from the 1979 musical Ballroom. “Originally it’s a woman’s role, but it’s such a powerful song,” Marger said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

All this talk of hookups and mischief made me wonder about real-life sex, love and romance on the No Square stage. Is it a thing? Turns out, yes! “When we did Heathers in 2019, our actors who played Heather Chandler and JD (Rhyan and Ricky) met and fell in love during the show, and now they’re married!” said Wyatt. “We’ve had plenty of other couples date, but that one is the most impressive.”

“I think anytime actors work closely together for long periods of time, there tends to be what’s called ‘showmances,’” Marger said. “I can’t attest to any in this show because we have such a short rehearsal time. But I’ve seen many, many showmances develop. And I’ve heard about completely off-the-grid showmances several months later.”

No Square Theatre regular Marc Marger

“When I thought I was straight, I had two different showmances,” Pepper said. “One of them was in a production of Cinderella [I worked on with Ella Wyatt]. I dated the stepmother. Then I was in the production of Les Misérables and I dated the person I was supposedly romantically involved with, so that was very cute. But that’s clearly all ancient history.”

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LBCAC adds new events to 2024

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1-5 p.m.

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture

31372 Guadalupe St., San Juan Capistrano

Lovers of culture, the arts and the history of San Juan Capistrano,

join your friends from the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) in a music-rich celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts and Culture. This exclusive event is being held in an adobe home built in 1929 by Dr. Paul Esslinger, a well-known doctor in both San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach.

Welcome Reception with Artivist | Ricardo Duffy

Guests will be welcomed by its current owners with a home and property tour by Carmen Escamilla and by Chicano/Indigenous artist Ricardo Duffy.

Opera Reimagined Host & Tenor | Rick Weber

Classically trained vocalist and host of “LBCAC Presents: Opera Re-Imagined,” Rick Weber is inspired by the world’s most beloved tenors, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Mario Lanza.

Storyteller/Historian/Naturalist | Barefoot Joel

“Barefoot Joel” is the director of Naturalist for You, a 17-year-old environmental educational nonprofit, based in Orange County. Guests will be amazed by his retelling of San Juan Capistrano’s living history, based on his personal experiences restoring habitats, conducting biological surveys and guiding nature walks in the local wilderness.

Musician | Ryan Heflin

Heflin recently released a music video for his popular “California Dreamer” – a thoughtful, romantic song about the California of yesterday.

Supergroup | Tremoloco

Tremoloco is a SoCal-based band that draws from the sounds of Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk and blues in a blend of original and traditional songs, best described as Gulf Coast Folklorico.

Due to the intimate setting, space is limited, so please buy tickets now.

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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Guy King – February 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Guy King Trio

The Sky and Ocean Aren’t the Only Way to See Inspiring Blues in Laguna in 2024.

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center has stepped up to preserve one of America’s most powerful and influential art forms, by providing a memorable OC haven for national touring blues legends.

The LBCAC offers its intimate listening room, stellar acoustics, state-of-the-art sound system and a host town recognized as one of the nation’s leading arts-centric resort destinations.

Guy King got his start in Chicago, with blues singer Willie Kent’s band “The Gents.” They played together for six years, and ultimately, King became Kent’s bandleader. Not long after Kent died, King began his solo career. King is known for his eclectic style and unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb.

LBCAC is located at 235 Forest Avenue.

Checkout the calendar at www.lbculturalartscenter.org.

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JoAnne Artman Gallery presents Colorito an exhibition of new works by America Martin

JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to feature Colorito, an exhibition of new works by America Martin. A term usually applied to 16th century Venetian painting where color is employed in a dominant manner, colorito, or “coloring” was deemed fundamental to conceiving painted images charged with the look of life. Martin’s modern interpretation includes not only judicious color application, but the vitality and vigor of the world around her as she continues her unmistakable aesthetic sensibility.

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Photos courtesy of JoAnne Artman Gallery

“Forget Me Nots,” oil and acrylic on canvas

Experimenting with line weight and function as a tool of two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional forms, Martin’s figures take on a new balance between solidity, weight and suggestion. Throughout her practice, Martin has continuously searched for and perfected the distillation of the elements of the human form, as well as the unification of line and color. Utilizing hues for expressive values, rather than representational qualities, her relationship with color feels personal.

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“Two Friends & A Bee,” oil and acrylic on canvas

Often the palette reflects a mood – gentle and soothing, or strong and spirited, imbuing the works with a fuller spectrum of meaning. In her linework, Martin contrasts smooth, bold curves with hard, geometric lines that construct color blocks. Laden with nuance, thick lines are filled with the bubbling energy of thin, long scrapes throughout their length – adding intensity and dimension to the compositions.

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“Yellow Bird,” oil and acrylic on canvas

Her technique of freehandedly capturing her subjects yields unapologetic marks and an unabashed palette often features anthropomorphic elements such as birds, butterflies and flowers. In conjunction with figures, these elements provide both a contextual source of information, as well as symbolic significance, progressing the storyline as a representation of personality, emotional quality and character. Within this pulsating interplay of color, texture, line and shape, there is always a signature expression that identifies each work as an America Martin.

America Martin (b. 1980, Los Angeles, Calif.) is a Colombian-American artist based in Los Angeles, Calif.

Joanne Artman Gallery is located at 346 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. For more information, contact JoAnne Artman at 949.510.5481, mail her at mailjoanneartman@aol.com and visit www.joanneartmangallery.com.

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Festival of Arts announces the passing of artist Patrick Kelly

It is with deep sorrow that the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach announces the passing of Patrick Kelly on January 21, 2024, at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. Kelly, a renowned artist with a passion for vibrant colors and an extensive and diverse body of work ranging from abstract to classical themes, was born in Paddington, London, England, on August 19, 1937. As a young man, he pursued his studies in fine art and industrial design at the Hammersmith School of Art in London, graduating with a national diploma in Industrial Design in 1957.

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Courtesy of FOA

Artist Patrick Kelly

After graduating, Kelly immigrated to Canada and later to the United States in 1960, where he held various positions in the field of Industrial Design. Settling in Laguna Beach in the late 1960s, he dedicated himself to his true passion – art. Kelly became an integral part of the Festival of Arts community, exhibiting for an impressive 42 years, with his first appearance in 1961.

Throughout his artistic journey, Kelly’s work garnered widespread recognition and was collected worldwide. The Festival of Arts acquired two of his pieces, Series II and Monolith, for their Permanent Art Collection in 1990. Beyond his role as an exhibitor, Kelly made outstanding contributions to the Festival where he served as a board member, curator and membership director.

Kelly lived in Laguna Beach from 1961 through 2002, leaving an enduring impact on the community he loved. His dedication, passion for the arts, and tireless efforts made him a beloved figure among fellow artists, board members and Festival employees. He was not only a creative mind and innovative artist, but also a funny individual with an infectious laugh. He was unique, one-of-a-kind, adventurous, and immensely likable – a kind-spirited, genuine soul.

To celebrate Kelly’s remarkable life and talent, the public is invited to a Memorial Gathering and Estate Sale at his studio/gallery on Friday, Feb. 2 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Lost Your Mind Gallery, 1000 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Patrick Kelly to The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts. The Artists Fund provided a major grant for Kelly’s interment and burial. To contribute, visit https://theartistsfund-foa.org/donate/.

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Ain’t Misbehavin’ brings the music of Fats Waller to life at the Laguna Playhouse

By MARRIE STONE

Photos by Jason Niedle

Whether you’re 9 or 90, whether you listen to rock or jazz, whether you’re a Fats Waller fan or you’ve never even heard his name, none of it matters when it comes to how much you’ll enjoy Ain’t Misbehavin’, now on stage at the Laguna Playhouse through Sunday, Feb. 11. Though Waller’s music is nearly a century old, you’ll hear influences of it in today’s pop, country, gospel, jazz and blues. Even if you don’t know the songs, the tunes will sound familiar to your ear.

Travel back to 1930s Harlem and pull up a chair inside your favorite nightclub. Maybe you enjoy high society establishments like the Cotton Club or the Savoy Ballroom. Or maybe you like those dive bars down on Lenox Avenue. No matter. The joint is jumping with piano players banging out tunes that are at once raucous and rowdy, but also reflective and mournful. You’ll hear dozens of Fats’ songs like “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”

Director Yvette Freeman Hartley and actor Dedrick Bonner joined me to talk about the musical, what it’s meant to them and how their relationship with it has evolved over time. They also shared their perspectives about Laguna Beach, and why our town is the perfect venue for this show.

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(L-R) Summer Nicole Greer, Dedrick Bonner, Amber Diane Wright, James Tolbert and Jenelle Lynn Randall star in “Ain’t Misbehavin’” now playing through February 11 at the Laguna Playhouse

Hartley has a long history with the musical. She starred in the Broadway production when it premiered back in 1978. “I learned so much about performing while doing this show,” she said. “This is a good show to learn on because each song is a scene, and each song tells you something about Fats Waller. You’re telling the story with the songs and with the five players on stage.”

First staged in the 1970s, set in the 1930s, now revived again in 2024, it’s a show that stands the test of time and may be even more fun and relevant today than ever before. “This show is a true testament to the power of music,” said Bonner. Now in his 30s, Bonner first starred in Ain’t Misbehavin’ 13 years ago, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. “It proves that music is truly a universal language. Even though the world is ever-changing, people still experience hurt. They still experience isolation. Everyone – no matter their race, color, gender, sexuality – everyone experiences those things. That’s why it’s still relevant in 2024.”

Though the musical’s message remains relevant and universal, the actors have evolved. Bonner brings a new perspective to the part since his first performance more than a decade ago. “Thirteen years later, here I am getting to do this as a fully realized adult who can relate even more to all the subtext and layers of the songs,” Bonner said. “[Today I bring] a greater understanding of life, but also a lot of trauma. My father passed since I did the show. My grandparents have passed. I’ve lost so many aunts. There’s a place I can tap into now. I understand what these lyrics mean more than I could in my 20s. There’s a depth now because I’ve experienced so much life in those 13 years.”

One of the songs that hits Bonner the hardest is “Black and Blue.” “Those lyrics – I’m white inside, but that don’t help my case; ‘Cause I can’t hide what is on my face – they can really get to you.”

I asked Bonner how it feels to bring that pain to the stage night after night. “Yvette said something very powerful,” he told me. “She said, ‘I want the audience to feel that emotion. Give that to them. Allow them to [experience] it. But don’t you get lost in it. Don’t you get trapped in that space.’ Which is a unique problem to have with a show that’s so joyous and fun.”

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New opportunities: First Gallery Q show of the year offers artists an opportunity to explore and display new media

By THERESA KEEGAN

While many people’s New Year’s resolutions are broken by the end of January, many artists being shown at the Gallery Q at the Susi Q are already fulfilling their resolutions.

With the theme of A Fresh New Look, many of the featured artists were displaying art in a format that is new to them.

“It’s a new year, we’re hoping they try something new,” said Gallery Q Art Director Bill Atkins.

Karen Meyer is an established artist, but she kept wanting to delve into abstract painting.

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Photos by Theresa Keegan

Artist Karen Meyer just completed six new paintings in an abstract format. She submitted two square pieces to the current Gallery Q exhibition, one in blue and greens, top, and one in browns and black, below.

“On my own, I wasn’t able to figure out what was meaningful to me in abstraction,” she said. But an online workshop in 2023 changed all that. “It all came into focus and my abstract artist came out.” The Lake Forest resident worked mostly in acrylics and created a cohesive body of abstract work that is all based on geometry.

“I’m actually mathematically fearful,” she admitted. However, from the six pieces in her series, Meyer selected two square acrylics to submit to the Gallery Q show and was delighted when they were accepted for showing.

“Abstraction is new to me,” she said while standing proudly next to her pieces in the Susi Q library. “So, it’s really nice seeing these pieces on display and these folks (at the gallery) always do a nice job here.”

The first Gallery Q show of the year features 60 pieces of art, filling the halls and walls of the community center. Viewers are treated to a variety of styles and mediums, from landscapes to portraits and sculpture to collages. Subject matter ranged from realistic portraits to colorful sunsets, sculptural lips and abstracts.

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Gallery Q’s Artistic Director Bill Atkins, welcomed dozens of people to the opening night of “A Fresh New Look.” The show runs through March 6.

The opening reception, held on January 19, brought the artists, their supporters and interested community members to the Susi Q Center. Dozens of people mingled, enjoyed hearty hors d’oeuvres, listened to acoustic guitar and admired the artwork. To ease viewing crowds, gallery organizers photograph all the artwork and then present a rotating display of all the images on large screens throughout the center on opening night.

This is the 15th year for Gallery Q Atkins told the gathered crowd. And with five shows a year, he estimates more than 3,000 works have been shown in the gallery.

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International artist and Laguna Beach resident Marianne van der Veer painted a street scene from Valencia’s carnival, featuring a young woman in traditional clothing

Marianne van der Veer has shown multiple times at Gallery Q, as well as in Switzerland, France, the Middle East and throughout the United States. She was inspired to enter her oil painting Bride of Valencia, as it celebrates the annual springtime parade in Valencia, Spain when the young women dress in traditional formal wear.

“That’s their community, having this once-a-year celebration during Carnival,” said van der Veer. “I love the scenes of the little girls.”

Photographer Catherine Singer selected two images for this show. She’d shown once online with Gallery Q during COVID, but was thrilled to be able to see her luminescent photos, with their almost dream-like quality, shown on the gallery walls.

“It’s exciting to have something in Laguna Beach,” she said. “People come to Laguna for the art, and I think they have a great appreciation for the exhibitions.”

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Photographer Catherine Singer has two water images displayed at the Gallery Q show

This year Singer, who live in Laguna Hills, is also involved with shows at the San Clemente Art Association and the Oceanside Museum of Art. Her two pieces for Gallery Q’s Fresh New Look show feature refreshing water scenes.

Summer Dream is a blend of two images – one a fish picture taken in California and the other a water scene from Groton, Mass. – and despite the geographic separation, the two images meld together seamlessly, creating an ethereal mood. In Nature’s Mirror, Singer again turns to water as her main subject. In this image she uses water reflections to create a colorful finished photograph that appears to almost be an abstract painting.

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Cultural Arts reviews 2023 and looks ahead in 2024

The Arts Commission and Cultural Arts review their 2023 accomplishments. To view, click here.

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Photos courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Pop up flower installation at Forest Promenade in 2023

Call for Artists

Temporary Public Art Installations

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2021 banner by Bud Herrera

Banner Competition

Deadline: March 4

Honorarium: $4,000

Art That’s Small at City Hall

Deadline: March 9

1st – $600 | 2nd – $300 | 3rd – $150

The Arts Commission invites artists to participate in their temporary public art and exhibitions opportunities.

These programs are funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Public Art Ordinance & Policy

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission will present its concept and recommendations for policies for public art to the City Council on February 27. The purpose of the report is to provide a consolidated and updated set of policies that could become a comprehensive program guideline available online for all artists, stakeholders and the public.

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Laguna Live! announces LB Music Festival Festival Prelude featuring Anne Akiko Meyers in February

Tuesdays through May, 11:30 a.m.

Live! Music Matters, free children’s program returns

Laguna Beach Live! is delighted to announce another series of their free, children’s program “Live! Music Matters.” An interactive music class for ages up to 6 years old, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill leads the sessions while attendees sing, dance, and play child friendly percussion instruments.

​The Tuesday morning sessions are held at Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St.

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

Jazz Wednesdays returns:

Jazz Wednesdays feature world-class musicians in the cabaret setting of [seven-degrees] 891 Laguna Canyon Road. Held every two weeks, the six-part series kicks off on February 28 and closes on May 8.

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Jeremy Siskind and Chelsea Williams February 6

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays with Jazz Pianist, Jeremy Siskind & Singer/Songwriter, Chelsea Williams

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235 Forest Ave.

Beth and Steve are thrilled and honored to have pianist Jeremy Siskind performing at Beth’s Tuesdays. They have known him since he was a young boy and they knew even then that he was destined for greatness. Siskind’s mastery of the piano allows him to create music that is beautiful, exciting and new. He has been a top finisher in national and international jazz piano competitions, a two-time laureate of the American Pianists Association and the winner of the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition.

Siskind is “A shining example of chamber jazz” (Downbeat). He also received Chamber Music America’s $30,000 New Jazz Works grant. Siskind’s arrangements for frequent collaborators soprano Julia Bullock and pianist Lara Downes have been praised by NPR and the New York Times, who named his re-writing of “One by One” for Bullock as one of the “Best Classical Music Tracks of 2022.” Don’t miss this.

Cost: $20, $25 at door. For tickets, click here.

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Laguna Beach Music Festival Prelude – February 14

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.

LBMF Prelude, Performance by Anne Akiko Meyers

Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

For tickets, click here.

Friday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m.

LBMF Opening Night: Metamorphoses

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin and Emmanuel Ceysson, Harp

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

For tickets, click here.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

LBMF: Doubles

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Aubree Oliverson, Violin and Colburn Virtuosi

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Joined by string orchestra, Anne Akiko Meyers shares a program titled “Doubles,” which features the fiery interplay of two violins in works such as “Bach’s Double Violin Concerto” and Philip Glass’ “Echorus for Two Violins and Strings.”

For tickets, click here.

Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m.

LBMF: CARNAVAL!

Performances by Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin; Fabio Bidini, Piano; Matthew Howard, Marimba/Drums; Nathan Farrington, Double Bass

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Anne Akiko Meyers brings the 2024 Laguna Beach Music Festival to a delightful close with “Carnaval!”

For tickets, click here.

A co-presentation of Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

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Soul of Jazz, Bijon Watson

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience, or to gift the experience, of some truly outstanding music.

Ticket prices for individual concerts remain at only $37.50 in advance; $40 at the door; $225 for the full season. Concerts are 6-8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. for bar and social hour. Drinks and food are available for pre purchase.

Click here for tickets, or call 949.715.3713.

The Line-Up

February 28: Powerhouse Jazz and Blues Vocalist, Maiya Sykes with her sensational Tribute to Musical Legends.

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Maiya Sykes performs on February 28

March 13: Matt Johnson and The New Jet Set: “Swingin’ the Disney Songbook” featuring Adryon de Leon.

March 27: Brazilian Guitarist and Vocalist, Téka, Quintet featuring Saxophonist, Robert Kyle.

April 10: Black Market Reverie with their “speak easy” jazz, a mix of jazz, classic French pop and Americana.

April 24: Renowned Soul, Jazz and R&B vocalist, Raffia Thomas brings stunning vocals and soulful vibes along with her quintet.

May 8: Grammy award winner Bijon Watson’s Latin Jazz Syndicate, featuring sizzling Cuban vocalist, Adonis Puentes.

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Sawdust Festival adds more winter classes and announces Ski Week Art Camp

Sawdust Art Classes has many expressive and informative classes offered every week that the Sawdust Art Festival wants to share with you (far too many to mention here!).

Sawdust is excited to announce Ski Week Art Camp, February 19, 20, 22 and 23 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Participants can sign up for one day or the entire week.

Visit Sawdust online (click here) for detailed information on classes, times and listings. They can’t wait to share the magic of art with you!

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Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Pottery Wheel Experience – February 10

Saturday, Feb. 10, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 p.m.

Pottery Wheel Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit at a potter’s wheel and actually throw a pot?

Robert Jones will take you through the process step-by-step, allowing you to gain confidence so that, with his help, you will make your own pottery pieces on the wheel. Each student will make two pieces that he will then fire and glaze in his own studio so that you will end up with a beautifully glazed mug or bowl which you can truly call your own. Please note, the firing and glazing time will take approximately 3-4 weeks before ready to collect. If you wish your items to be mailed, there will be an additional cost to cover postage and packing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary to take this class, however closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing are recommended. All materials are included in the cost.

Cost: $105.

Mosaic Art – February 10 and 17

Saturday, Feb. 10 and 17, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., two days

Introduction to Mosaic Art

The ancient art of mosaics is one of the most beautiful and oldest in the history of mankind. Participants will be working closely with Ron Shearer, you will create a mosaic that you will be proud to display. It will open a whole new world of creativity that you can easily continue on your own. Step-by-step, he will take you through the process of design, materials, cutting techniques and then carefully guide you through the application, initially using glue for positioning. You’ll have a little bit of fun “homework” to do between classes. When you return to the second workshop, you can really home in on the fine details and finishing your artwork. A wonderful, informative and creative workshop, and one that they have had many requests for. This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners, or those who want to fine-tune their skills. All materials are provided including supplies from WitsEnd Mosaics.

This workshop will also be offered March 16 and 23 and April 13 and 20.

Cost: $350 per student which is fully inclusive of six hours of intensive instruction over two weekends, and all materials including a pair of nippers that you can keep, mosaic glass tiles, design and backing board. Maximum 10 students per class – if you are a larger group, contact them directly at learnart@sawdustartfestival.org.

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Sleeping Fairies in a Magical Nest – February 10

Saturday, Feb 10, 12-2 p.m.

Sleeping Fairies with Melissa Belland

Transport yourself to a miniature world of magic with Sawdust artist Melissa Belland, in her enchanting Laguna Beach studio. Class includes all the magical elements needed to create a whimsical, personalized fairy, sleeping peacefully in a precious little nest. Belland will provide a unique hand painted head and sturdy body to build upon. Silken hairstyles, clothing, majestic crowns, and wings are all important elements you’ll choose from to make your fairy completely personal and one-of-a-kind.

Cost: $100.

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