Ten OC – exhibiting at Artists Republic Gallery

Artists Republic Gallery is proud to present Ten – a group show featuring 10 artists living and working in Orange County. Artists were selected because of their talents and the impacts that they have made on the OC art community and beyond. 

Their pedigrees range from emerging to world-renowned, but together they are representative of the depth and power of the work being created here in our own back yard.

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Chantal de Felice

“House of Spirits”

Participating Artists 2016: Ben Brough, Brian Bent, Craig “Skibs” Barker, Chantal de Felice, Danny Schutt, David Blake, Laurie Hassold, Michelle Bickford, Sophie St. Onge and Tyler Warren.

The show runs through May 1.

The gallery is at 1175 S. Coast Hwy.

Laguna Dance Festival’s May 6 springtime party “Magic in Motion” will highlight Sept 2016 season

Dancers from season’s troupes to provide a sneak peek at fall talent; scholarships to be announced; first seats on sale to fall Festival

The allure of dance will be on full display for guests at Laguna Dance Festival’s Magic in Motion party, set for Friday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. at [seven-degrees]. Partial proceeds will go to the newly announced 2016 Laguna Dance Festival Scholarship Program to assist deserving young dance artists. This is in addition to the new Laguna Beach High School scholarship that was established earlier this year to be given to a deserving graduate who plans to major in dance or dance-related therapy. Selected dancers who will be seen onstage during the new fall festival season will perform. 

Event chair Susan Giusto noted, “Magic in Motion will be a celebration of the charm and sheer joy that dance offers both dancer and viewer. But the event has a deeper meaning, because some of the funds will go to educational scholarships. A significant thrust of Laguna Dance Festival’s mission is to promote dance education, and this evening’s effort directly aids selected young artists.”

Professional dancers will greet guests as they enjoy cocktails before entering the party for dinner, music, performances by artists from the fall season, live auction, and dancing. 

Tickets to Magic in Motion are $250 each. For information and individual tickets or tables of 10, please visit www.lagunadancefestival.org or phone 949-715-5578. At the party, guests can purchase the best seats to the 2016 festival September 22-25. 

“Dance is a creative tool that challenges students to stay in school and learn keen focus, creative problem solving, and the value of persistence,” commented Laguna Dance Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates, who is also director of and vice dean and director of the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

For the Laguna Dance Festival performances September 21-25 at the Laguna Playhouse, Gates will bring back BalletX and BODYTRAFFIC, two of the most popular companies from previous festivals in Laguna Beach. A third dynamic new company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, led by choreographer and 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Kyle Abraham, is certain to electrify audiences in September. The fall festival includes free performances during First Thursdays Art Walk and several master classes for intermediate and advanced dancers age 12 and older. Tickets for all onstage September performances will go on sale in June but the best seats can be purchased at the Magic in Motion party on May 6.

Laguna Dance Festival, now in its 12th year, is regarded as one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. Its mission is to support and promote the development of dance creation, presentation and education, and to increase public appreciation of the art form in Orange County and beyond.

Celebrate the arts with the 2016 Passport to the Arts

Purchase before May 15 for a chance to win a Laguna Beach fall getaway

The Passport to the Arts team of Laguna Beach has the perfect offering this summer season - a 2016 Passport to the Arts. Plus, if you purchase before May 15, you will be automatically entered to win a one-of-a-kind Laguna Beach Fall Getaway that includes a two-night stay at The Tides Laguna Beach, theater and museum tickets, complimentary meals and more!

Kicking off its eighth consecutive season, the Passport team, comprised of Festival of Arts, Laguna Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art Festival, in collaboration with Visit Laguna Beach and the City of Laguna Beach, offers the 2016 Passport to the Arts for just $24. This triple-value, unique season pass provides unlimited entry to the three premier art festivals in Laguna Beach throughout the summer festival season, which runs June 24 through August 31, 2016.

Compare the nominal Passport to the Arts fee of $24 to the standard fee of more than $57 in value. Passport holders receive unlimited admission to all three festivals through August 31, 2016. Special discounts from selected retailers, merchants, hotels, attractions and restaurants throughout Laguna Beach are also available to Passport holders, as well as one-time free parking at Lot #16 (Act V) at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.

The 2016 Passport to the Arts benefits include:

Unlimited admission all summer long to all three Laguna Beach art festivals

More than 500 artists and 300 hands-on art workshops

Great music at all three festivals throughout the season

Dozens of special events

One-time free parking at Lot #16 (Act V), 1900 Laguna Canyon Road

FREE shuttle service all summer long

Special values at selected lodging properties, local shops, eateries and attractions

Also, the annual Grand Prize Getaway drawing is in full effect! Passport purchasers will be automatically entered to win a unique Laguna Beach Fall Getaway if obtaining a Passport to the Arts before May 15.* The grand prize includes a two-night stay at The Tides Laguna Beach; two tickets to any 2016 Mainstage performance at Laguna Playhouse; whale watching for two at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching; two tickets for admission to Laguna Art Museum; golf for two with one electric cart at Ben Brown’s Golf Course; dinner for two at Skyloft; and lunch for two at The Rooftop Lounge.

In celebration of 50 years of the Laguna Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art Festival and in the spirit of collaboration, the Passport to the Arts team came up with the idea of creating artist-made clocks that could be displayed around the city, in hotels, restaurants, galleries and within the festivals. The team was inspired by the clock at the Sawdust Art Festival. The clocks will be on display during the summer festival for all to see and will be auctioned off at the end of the season, proceeds to benefit the three festivals art education programs. Visit online at http://lagunabeachpassport.com/art-is-timeless-clock-collaboration/ for more information, a map of the clocks and a list of participating artists.

The 2016 Passport may be purchased online at www.LagunaBeachPassport.com. Visit Laguna Beach’s Official Visitors Center (381 Forest Ave.) will also have passports for sale during the summer months. A complete list of merchant special offers is available online. Free shuttle service to the festival from various points in Laguna Beach and from the Lot #16 (Act V) parking lot will be available throughout the summer. The Passport does not include admission to the Pageant of the Masters.

For information about overnight stays and things to do while in Laguna Beach, drop in to the Official Visitors Center, located at 381 Forest Avenue or visit www.visitlagunabeach.com. The Visitors Center is open daily, Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., with extended summer weekend hours.

*No purchase necessary to enter the drawing. Those interested may send a postcard to Sawdust Art Festival, Attn: Passport Giveaway, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 to obtain your free entry form. The festivals, Visit Laguna Beach and the City of Laguna Beach assume no responsibility for receipt of mailed entry requests. See Passport website for details.

Free decoupage workshop for kids ages 6-14 at the Hortense Miller Garden on Saturday morning, April 16

Artists Fay Wiles stands as students display their succulent creations. On the bench, (l-r): Katie, Lizzy and Katie. Seated in front (l-r): Roxy, Zoe and Marlena.

Indulge in a creative adventure at the Hortense Miller Garden! On Saturday April 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a free Kids Decoupage workshop with artists Fay Wiles. The event is open for kids ages 6-14, but parents are welcome.

Please bring a sack lunch. Space is limited and parking instructions will be given upon confirmation. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 415-299-0838.

Hilarious Sex and Education opens at the Laguna Playhouse April 30, previews begin April 27

Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham is thrilled to announce the fifth show in the Laguna Playhouse 2015-2016 season, Julia Duffy starring in Sex and Education, written by Lissa Levin and directed by Andrew Barnicle. 

“This hilariously smart lesson in the English language taught by Designing Women and Newhart star, Julia Duffy, is going to have our audiences doubled over with laughter.  Mature language has never been funnier,” says Wareham. 

Sex and Education will begin previews on Wednesday, April 27; will open on Saturday, April 30 and will run through Sunday, May 22 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.

Meet Joe Marks, a basketball star whose college scholarship is suddenly in jeopardy when his poorly written, sexually charged note to his girlfriend is intercepted during a final exam. Meet Miss Edwards, his high school English teacher on her last day of teaching. In this hilarious homage to educators everywhere, Miss Edwards uses the note to teach Joe a lesson – on life, love, and the power of words.

Warning: explicit language, excessive hilarity.

Fox News photo

Julia Duffy

Julia Duffy is known for a number of classic comedic TV roles such as Allison Sugarbaker on Designing Women, and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated role of Stephanie on Newhart. More recent TV appearances include the recurring role of Mrs. Lishman on Shameless, Patrick’s mother on HBO’s Looking, Key and Peele, and Scream Queens. Theatre work includes Once in a Lifetime on Broadway and much regional theatre, most recently Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Boston’s Huntington theatre, The Heiress [Lavinia] and The Little Foxes [Birdie], at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Andrew Barnicle (Director) served as artistic director of Laguna Playhouse from 1991 through 2010. In that time he produced over 100 Playhouse shows and directed over 40 of them, including many World, U.S., West Coast and Southern California premieres. Recent directing projects at Laguna include Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine, Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias, which also played the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts as a co-production with McCoy/Rigby Entertainment, and Burbank’s Colony Theatre.

The Cast of Sex and Education will also feature Nick Tag and Alexandra Johnston. Set Design is by Trefoni Michael Rizzi. Lighting Design is by Don Guy.  Sound Design is by Juan Sanson.  Costume Design is by Jim Prodger.  The Stage Manager is Vernon Willett.

Sex and Education will begin previews on Wednesday, April 27; will open on Saturday, April 30 and will run through Sunday, May 22 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thursday, April 28, Thursday, April 5 and Thursday, April 19 at 2 p.m., Sunday May 1st and Sunday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. 

Tickets range from $48 - $61 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.

The box office is open Mondays – Saturdays: noon to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days), Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Art That’s Small at City Hall exhibited to April 21

The winners of the annual Art That’s Small at City Hall exhibition were announced at an Artist Reception at Laguna Beach City Hall recently. The exhibition can be viewed through April 21, 2016. 

The jurors, Hedy Buzan (Artist), Kelsey Irvin (Kelsey Michaels Gallery) and Arabella Cant (Laguna Art Museum), reviewed submissions from artists from throughout Orange County. 

The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this program.

10th annual Art Stars Awards a dazzling celebration

Story and photos by ELIZABETH NUTT

On Sunday evening, Laguna Beach’s businesses, organizations, individuals and artists came together to celebrate at the 10th annual Art Stars Awards dinner. Laguna Beach Arts Alliance bestowed awards in seven categories to those ‘Art Stars’ in Laguna’s artistic community who have made significant contributions to the town’s arts and culture scene. 

The event was hosted by [seven-degrees] and kicked off with a red carpet reception. Guests then enjoyed a champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres and live music outside on the terrace, as they mingled and waited excitedly for the awards dinner to begin. 

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The 10th Annual Art Stars Awards Dinner

The Magnolia Memoir band continued to entertain guests with live music during dinner, which was followed by a welcome from Jonathan Burke, president of Laguna College of Art and Design. Jonathan presented a Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award and video tribute in memory of Ken Auster. 

Next, bronze sculptor Louis Longi was recognized for “10 Years of ‘Louies’”, the one-of-a-kind sculptures—of which there are 75 altogether—that are created specifically for and presented to the Art Stars award winners each year. 

Delyer Anderson, the recipient of the 2015 [seven-degrees] of Inspiration Grant presented a film of her dance project, “IV”, which was funded in part by the grant. 

Dora Wexell and Mark Orgill presented the first Art Stars Award, the 2016 [seven-degrees] of Inspiration Grant Winner: Russell Pierce. 

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Russell Pierce, the 2016 [seven-degrees] of Inspiration Grant Winner

Russell’s collection, titled “Change Agents”, will capture and honor through a series of 50 portraits individuals who have made an impact on the world. The paintings will be presented on the walls of [seven-degrees] during the 2017 Art Stars Awards dinner.

 The six remaining 2016 Art Stars awards recognized Laguna Dance Festival (Best Arts Program), Montage Laguna Beach (Corporate Arts Patron of the Year), Jim and Suzanne Mellor (Individual Arts Patrons of the Year), LOCA Arts Education (Outstanding Arts Collaboration), Malcolm Warner (Arts Leadership), and Olivia Batchelder (Artist of the Year). 

Presenter Sharbie Higuchi of the Festival of Arts summed up the evening’s sentiment, saying, “When Art Stars got started, we were concerned that we’d run out of artists and individuals to recognize. But we quickly realized that would never be the case. Laguna Beach is the mecca for artists and supporters.”

Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time.


From Joshua Tree National Park, Fitz Maurice paints the iconic Mojave Desert Tree of Life

Story and photos by FITZ MAURICE

Painting the Joshua Tree was an ideal experience for me because I was given the opportunity to create the Mojave Desert Tree of Life. While painting this joyous subject I felt rejuvenated!

This newest oil painting in the National Park Paintings series portrays the obvious icon of Joshua Tree National Park, California. It celebrates nature’s wisdom in the delicate balance of the chain of life. With the Joshua Tree nearly centered in the painting it represents the center of the chain of life in the desert.

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“Mojave Desert Tree of Life, Joshua Tree National Park, California” ~ Oil Painting

The Joshua Tree is the desert tree of life because it provides life support for all the wildlife around it, from insects and lizards to hundreds of birds. Focusing weeks of time and energy on this positive creation lifted my spirit, which was a particularly good feeling when my body was being challenged by days of excessive heat. As my readers know, I go to the National Parks when they are supposed to be at their ultimate season. Winter out here in the Mojave Desert is usually a comfortable 70-75 degrees. Instead it has been 100-degree days and 30-degree nights! I had to deal with a sand storm of hot wind blowing up to 65 mph with flies and other prickly experiences too.

Many cool evenings were pleasantly spent studying the desert sunsets. I chose to portray the classic rainbow roll of pastel colors that rise from blue to red-violet to soft yellow. This rainbow sunset sky, set behind the Joshua Tree, accentuates the branches of the tree that seem to be rejoicing in life.

Fitz Maurice painting in Joshua Tree

Now that this oil painting is finished I can share with you that I am grateful to have made the concerted restraint to STOP! Knowing when to stop is one of the great mysteries that creative people must solve with each new work of art.

I’ve been an artist all my life, and I have painted 1023 paintings. I dare say that the time to stop painting is before you make it perfect! In fact, something precious is lost in making a painting perfect. Perfection often suffocates freshness, draining the life out of the painting. Often in the past I would push to perfect the painting. Then I realized that perfect is not the ultimate answer. In recent years, I have resolved to finish the painting and just stop – before the freshness is brushed away by over-painting.

It actually takes courage to stop creating and trust that the minimal amount of information has been sufficiently provided and the painting is still alive and breathing with freshness. I prefer my paintings to be full of life’s energy, trusting in the magic of mystery rather than the stale presentation of perfection.

Follow my quest as I continue onward and upward to the next park of the 59 National Parks. And to see some of the newest National Park Paintings, go to Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach.


FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every national park in America. She is now in her fourth year. Totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, she’ll finally set up with portable easel and oil paints. FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.To see her National Park Paintings visit: www.nationalparkpaintings.com

Ellen Girardeau Kempler has won international poetry competition, and will present in Ireland this summer


Laguna poet and author Ellen Girardeau Kempler has been selected the winner of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival for her poem, “Birthday Wish.” Kempler is an accomplished poet whose works have been published in Spectrum, Orbis (UK), Arrow and a number of other presses. Her poems have also been shortlisted for the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Prize and Ireland’s Fish Poetry Prize (judged by Billy Collins) and have won first place for the past three years in the annual Laguna Beach Library Poetry Awards.

Kempler was notified as among six finalists from all around the world just last Friday. Then on Sunday she was announced as the winner. 

“I’m pinching myself after receiving news on Easter Sunday that the competition judge, Dutch poet Tsead Buinja, has selected me to receive the Blackwater International Poetry Festival Prize,” said Kempler. “It’s the first acceptance I’ve had in many months – after many, many submissions and rejections. 

“The organizers are paying for me to fly to Cork and putting me up there for four nights at the end of July. I’ll be joining an international group of poets for readings in towns around the area. The winning poem, Birthday Wish (about my dad, who died last year) will be published in Ireland’s Blue Max Review. It’s a reminder to all you creatives never to take rejection personally and to keep working and submitting.”

Ellen Girardeau Kempler

The Blackwater Festival (“The friendliest poetry festival in the world”) had this to say, “The committee wish to express our heartfelt congratulations to Ellen. We are looking forward to hosting Ellen and to hearing her read at the festival. Her winning poem will be included in the festival anthology The Blue Max Review. Thank you also to Tsead Bruinja for selecting such a well deserved winner.”

Kempler is a member of the American Academy of Poets and the American Association of Writers and Writers Programs and is certified as a workshop leader by the Amherst Writers Program. She was a literature major at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies, and later earned a master’s degree in Mass Communications. Her essays, opinion pieces and feature articles have appeared in the L.A. Times, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post and numerous other publications. In 2015, she was runner-up in Transition Abroad’s annual Narrative Travel Writing Competition.

“After being laid off from my last career communications job in 2011, I began focusing on writing poetry again. I enrolled in a poetry workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival with poet Gerald Dawe. It was my first trip to Ireland and my first solo adventure abroad,” explained Kempler. “I returned with a better sense of the work ahead, and a desire to keep focusing on poetry despite the economic obstacles.”

Having submitted written work on a regular basis, Kempler knows all too well the insurmountable odds of being published. “Winning a prize like this and actually being awarded a trip is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event,” she says. She is looking forward to joining several highly regarded poets for workshops and readings during the festival in Ireland. But, ultimately, it’s not about the prize, the travel, or even being published. It’s about poetry, “Poetry propels me through space, allowing me to time travel back to specific places and memories, unpack, and explore them again.”

CAP Gallery artists’ exhibition runs through April 15 

The exhibition, “Portraiture” features three artists who present their personal perspective on the art of portraiture. Elizabeth McGhee, Ellen Rose and Bruce Vanderwilt each have distinct styles of presenting the human form. This exhibition gives viewers the chance to enjoy the uniqueness of each artist’s style.

The exhibition will run until April 15 at the CAP Banking on Art Gallery, Wells Fargo Bldg., Second Floor, located at 260 Ocean Ave.

Elizabeth McGhee is one of three CAP artists exhibited at Banking on Art Gallery

The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. For information visit: www.caplaguna.org

Jonathan Burke

I couldn’t be more pleased to have a recurring column in StuNews and look forward to sharing what’s new and unique about Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD). I know many have driven by the College countless times and may have noticed our campuses along Laguna Canyon Road.  

In 1961 the “Laguna Beach School of Art” was founded as a not-for-profit organization with the mission to “provide visual arts education of the highest quality in the region.” Fifty-four years later this mission continues to be embraced, but our student community has expanded. LCAD has taught students from all 50 states and 32 different countries, and holds the conviction that art is a positive force that can change society and the world for the better. 

Our 2016 educational mission states: “LCAD prepares women and men for creative and sustainable careers in art and design.” We do this superbly well due to three important criterions. 

Skill-based curriculum is primary. Every art student begins his or her studio education by learning descriptive drawing. This is a complex training of the mind, eye and hand to recognize and describe the most immediate and basic forms.  At LCAD all artists are required to conceptualize, analyze and describe forms regardless of their choice of visual expression. Even when using digital tools, drawing is a relevant and necessary skill for all artists. Our majors (these include animators, game artists, designers, illustrators, painters and sculptors) require high-level drawing skills in order to create meaningful images. 

Story telling follows closely. Our majors create art that expresses a visual narrative to evoke and capture the essence of an emotion or feeling. I continually see LCAD students, faculty and alumni creating narratives that describe contemporary or historical events, myths, fantasy or a personal story. Their stories produce strong emotions that affect us, and even change our view of the world.

The third criterion is providing professional preparation. We teach art with a focus on preparing our students for professional success and provide them with the necessary tools to create a consistent, strong portfolio that’s career ready.

I look forward to sharing more about LCAD with you, and extend an open invitation to visit the college and learn more about what we do.

Jonathan Burke is President of Laguna College of Arts and Design

Laguna College of Art and Design faculty featured in The Paris Seminar exhibition opening here April 1

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) faculty and alumni were selected to participate in The Paris Seminar exhibition, opening April 1 through April 14, 2016 at LCAD’s Main Campus Administration Building Conference Room, at 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

The exhibition programming will include a live tandem figure painting demonstration by Adrian Gottlieb and Kate Sammons from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on April 8 on LCAD’s Main Campus, immediately followed by a reception from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Additional lectures, presentations and panel discussions will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 9, 2016. 

The LCAD artists featured in the exhibition include LCAD’s Chair of Fine Arts, Hope Railey and LCAD student and professional artist, Vanessa Rothe. Also included in the exhibition are Andrew Ameral, Ryan S. Brown, Michelle Dunaway, Adrian Gottlieb, Richard Greathouse, Michael Klein, Alan J. Lawson, Jeremy Lipking, Iliya Mirochnik, J. Judson Monroe, Kate Sammons and Aaron Westerberg. 

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Ryan Brown 

En Plein Air

24 x 32

Rothe, a painter, curator, editor and published author, along with partner and Cambridge University and Florence Art Academy graduate, Sean Forester, curated The Paris Seminar, a bi-coastal exhibition featuring top realist artists from the United States. A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to LCAD scholarships, and will allow exhibiting artists to study historical master figure composers in Paris and to take on the challenge to create their own large-scale multi-figure compositions. 

“Art patrons have played such an important role in the development and proliferation of fine art,” said Rothe. “Without the aid of patrons such as the Medici Family in Florence or Theo van Gogh and his wife, neither Michelangelo nor Vincent van Gogh would have flourished or would have been free to create such grand works which we admire today. In April 2016, The Paris Seminar will offer today’s art patrons a chance to play a role in shaping the current art world.”

“I am thrilled that The Paris Seminar came to fruition,” said Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD. “It’s a beautiful idea to assemble thirteen talented and recognized representational painters to inspire one another to achieve a unique body of art. Each of these artists is passionate about and committed to the enduring language of representational art, and each is capable of expressing a personal vision that connects with all of humanity. I am looking forward to this important exhibition.”

After the exhibition closes at LCAD, The Paris Seminar will travel to New York City and open at the Salmagundi Club in New York on April 28, 2016. 

All works will be available for purchase.  For more information about The Paris Seminar, please visit www.lcad.edu or call 949-376-6000.

For more information about LCAD admissions, news, events and Annual Fund, visit www.lcad.edu. Facebook at @LCADBFA, Twitter @LCAD and Instagram @lcadbfa.

Jim Wooley has trained 2/3 of the staff since joining LCAD as Director of Safety + Security last November

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announced Jim Wooley as Director of Campus Safety and Security. Wooley joined the College in November 2015 and has made significant progress in training faculty and staff for certification in Emergency Preparedness, as well as in strengthening partnerships with Laguna Beach Police Department and Laguna Beach Fire Department. 

“The safety and security of the entire LCAD community is my top priority,” Wooley said. “The key to staying safe is to be aware and prepared.”

The LCAD community is well aware of Wooley and his team of Certified Campus Safety Officers who conduct regular patrols of LCAD’s student housing and its Main, East, North “Big Bend” and MFA campuses as well as its MFA and Senior studios. Wooley and his team observe and report directly to all local first responder agencies in Laguna Beach. Additionally, Wooley is overseeing the training of staff and faculty in the FEMA Incident Command System.

“Our staff are the people who will be at the front lines in the event of an emergency,” Wooley said. “The training informs them of the critical need for emergency preparedness and what their roles are during an emergency.”

Two-thirds of LCAD staff now are certified in the basics of emergency preparedness.

“Jim has done an exemplary job in upgrading our emergency communications systems, in training our community and in raising the profile of our safety team,” said Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD. “He and his team are here for our students, faculty, staff and visitors whenever they need them.”

Wooley leads two Campus Safety Officers, Bryan Heggie and Dave Becket. “We are very much part of the fabric of the College and we look forward to continuing the education and preparation of students, faculty and staff,” Wooley said. His plans include holding annual fire and earthquake drills as well as hosting Laguna Beach Police Department to present an active shooter lecture.

Wooley retired from the city of Evansville Police Department after 22 years, moved to Orange County where he worked as a Security Supervisor for Long Beach Unified School District, and in 2004, became Head of Security at Santa Ana College.

Even though he retired after 10 years at Santa Ana College, Wooley wasn’t ready to settle down. “I still wanted to be active and a part of an educational community,” he said. “Graduation is one of my favorite times of the year. When I see all those smiling faces, it’s gratifying to know that I played a role in helping those students and their families achieve their dreams.”

For more information, please visit: www.lcad.edu.

Coates and Flores will invite all to “Step Right Up” at LOCA’s Circus Art Cabaret fundraiser April 24

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Mike Tauber

Ruben Flores and Nelson Coates will present and be honored

“This is going to be so much fun!” said Ruben Flores, who will co-present with Nelson Coates at LOCA’s One Thin Dime circus art party and cabaret. LOCA Arts Education will present the extravaganza on Sunday April 24 from 4 - 7p.m. at the Laguna Canyon studio of Sandra Jones Campbell. Tickets are now on sale.

Leading the entertainment is songstress Roxanna Ward on keyboard.  Noted for her comedic wit, Ward will be joined by Coates in singing pop and cabaret style favorites.  Fun activities will include a fortuneteller, tattoo artist, peep show, ping-pong shoot, a mood-o-meter machine, and photography sets with costumes

An art sale will feature 40 circus-themed works by Olivia Batchelder, Betty Haight, Kathy Jones, Vinita Voogd, Jan Koelle, Elizabeth McGhee, Sue and Rich Linder, Antje Campbell, Paula Streeter and Betty Ten, Sandra Jones Campbell, and many more. 

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LOCA President Carla Meberg models the art and “fashion”

A magic trunk, containing dozens of artifacts, art, and collectibles from local leaders, will be offered in a live auction. Fashion, food, wine and magic will add to the “big top” themed fun. Proceeds from sales support LOCA’s community service educational programs. Advance registration is $40 per person or $120 for a group of four. VIP registrations, $80 each, include early admission and champagne kick-off.  LOCAarts.org (949) 363-4700.


LB Arts Alliance announces $5,000 grant winner

The 2016 [seven-degrees] of Inspiration grant winner is Russell Pierce, a Laguna Beach mixed media visual artist who proposes to create portraits of people who have made an impact on the world. 

Pierce’s application says, “There are so many movers and shakers currently having an impact in our world as well as many that have passed on, yet their influence is still felt today. These people come from all walks of life and can impact us in many different ways. There are the artists and musicians, the world leaders, the politicians, the entertainers, the media, the inventors as well as regular people just looking to make a difference. My goal is to produce 50 portraits of the people that have had a sizable impact on my life.” 

Pierce cites how he hopes to capture through his art the essence of such influential individuals like women’s rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and music icon and transformer David Bowie. He plans on combining both traditional techniques and digital effects to craft 50 very unique and diverse portraits that together will make one final exhibit, entitled Change Agents

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Self-portrait of Russell Pierce, the winner of [seven-degrees] of Inspiration grant

With each portrait, Pierce indicates he will also make a plaque with the basic information: name, occupation, birth date, death date if deceased and a QR code with a link to a custom web site where there will be a short bio on each subject. Visitors will be able to access more detailed information of the person on their smartphone while actually viewing the portrait. 

“My hope is that people will come away from the show having learned something new about the subjects,” said Pierce.

Pierce will be awarded the $5,000 grant at the Art Star Awards on April 3, 2016 at [seven-degrees] in Laguna Beach, California. Art Star Committee Chair Wayne Baglin says, “We are excited to award this grant to someone whose idea feels completely unique. We also like the way his project will engage the audience and incorporate the use of technology.”

Pierce will have one year to complete his project and his final body of work, Change Agents, will premiere at the 2017 Art Stars Awards. 

Since 2011, the [seven-degrees] of Inspiration grant has been funded annually by [seven-degrees] in partnership with the Laguna Beach Art Alliance. The goal of the grant is to provide support for an emerging or established Laguna Beach artist to develop and present an innovative arts project or program that advances recognition of Laguna Beach as a progressive arts city. It also enables the artist to expand and diversify his/her audience, and provides an opportunity for advanced learning and progression. The grant is open to both creative artists (including choreographers, composers, playwrights and visual artists) as well as interpretive artists (including dancers, instrumental and vocal musicians, and actors).

She Loves Me, a musical comedy set in the 1950s runs at Saddleback College from April 8 – 17 – tickets available

On April 8 through 17, the Department of Theatre Arts presents She Loves Me with Book by Joe Masteroff, Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Hamick, and based on a play by Miklos Laszio. Directed by Scott Farthing, musically directed by Lex Leigh, and choreography by Deidre Cavazzi, this charming musical is set in the 1950s where a case of mistaken identity and letter writing brings two feuding perfume clerks to the realization that they are in love. Considered by many to be the most charming musical ever written, this endearing storygoes back as far as Jimmy Stewart’s 1940s non-musical version Shop Around the Corner and a much later 1998 version with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail.

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Nathan James Corbett (L) and Alex McDermott

She Loves Me takes place in the McKinney Theatre at Saddleback College on April 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30 p.m., and April 10, 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (949) 582-4656 (noon-4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday) and online at www.saddleback.edu/arts. Prices are $15 general; $12 seniors; $10 students.

The Department of Theatre Arts program at Saddleback College produces several fully-staged shows each year. All students are given the opportunity to audition for every production yet Theatre Arts students are given priority in the casting process. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for students to contribute in backstage activities through the Entertainment and Theater Technology program.

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit. Free parking is available in Lot 12. Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the third left to Theatre Circle, turning right into Lot 12.

Sawdust Art Festival’s 50th year celebrated with unique artistic donations including 7-ft sculptural light fixture by Bruce Freund

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Submitted photos

Over the past 35 years, the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach has given Sawdust artist and glassblower, Bruce Freund, many things including the camaraderie of his fellow artists, an opportunity to gain inspiration from his surroundings, the possibility of working with a variety of mediums and the ability to make a living by doing what he loves. 

As his way of saying thank you for being “...there for me for so many years,” Freund decided to donate his time and artistic skill to Sawdust by compiling over 140 hand-blown-glass pieces into one unique seven-foot, sculptural light fixture. Thus far, Freund has dedicated nearly two months of his time planning and creating the sculpture. 

Freund hopes that it will bring new life to the iconic Sawdust landscape, and encourage artists and patrons alike to celebrate the Sawdust’s 50th anniversary this summer.

Freund’s amazing donation is just one of several art installations planned for visitors to enjoy when they attend this summer’s 50th celebration which will run from June 24 to August 28. 

“This year continues to be a great year full of changes and improvements for Sawdust, including the new user-friendly website and several upcoming renovations being made to structures and the grounds,” states general manager Tom Klingenmeier. “Contributions from our generous donors are essential to maintaining operations and expanding programs such as our Sawdust Studio Art Classes and other art education classes held on the festival grounds.”

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Glassblower Bruce Freund assembles his donated seven-foot light fixture 

As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, Sawdust relies on donations to fulfill its mission to educate the surrounding communities of the arts, and to facilitate a venue for local artists to exhibit their work. Donations can be made to specific funds such as special memorial funds, art education and general funds—which support operation costs for programs and renovations made to the grounds. All donations are deeply appreciated and essential to enriching the arts and culture of Laguna Beach and surrounding areas. To make a donation to the Sawdust Art Festival, please visit: https://sawdustartfestival.org/product/donate/.

Please share this message with friends, family, and other art patrons everywhere, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about Sawdust and its 50th anniversary celebration plans.

Founded in 1967, the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and promoting art created in Laguna Beach. Best known for offering two highly attended seasonal festivals, the organization also hosts a variety of workshops and classes throughout the year. Sawdust’s legendary summer festival is a nine-week summer celebration of fine art and craft – the largest in Southern California – with more than 200 Laguna Beach artists who exhibit and sell their original art and handcrafted items. The festival also offers live entertainment, fashion shows, artist demonstrations, hands-on art workshops for all ages, and a variety of food & drink offerings. 

Sawdust’s Annual Winter Fantasy Festival occurs for five weekends leading up to the holiday season, and boasts an international collection of over 175 artisans who create, showcase, and sell their original, handcrafted artwork on the Sawdust grounds, which are lavishly decorated to resemble a winter wonderland. Special activities include “Winter Art Series” classes, where guests can create holiday-themed works, and a highly anticipated Annual Community Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Throughout the remainder of the year, the organization continues to provide its Sawdust Studio Art Classes in a variety of mediums, on-site and off-site. For more information, visit: www.sawdustartfestival.org.

Zombies take to the stage at Laguna Playhouse, with ZOMBIE IN LOVE, The Muzical, April 8th

The Zombies are coming! The Zombies are coming! This popular best-selling children’s book will be presented live on-stage beginning Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 17 at the Laguna Playhouse Moulton Theatre.  ZOMBIE IN LOVE, The Muzical is directed by Kelly Herman, with musical direction by Diane King Vann and choreography by Marco Carreon.

Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He’s worked out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away?

The cast of ZOMBIE IN LOVE, The Muzical features young actors from the Laguna Beach and Orange County areas. The cast includes Ryan Han as Mortimer, Siena Yusi as Mildred, Trevor Yusi as Rodney, with Jayden Goodman, Sophia Haslett, Victoria Thompson, Samia El-Erian, Nini Guerry, Robert Born, Troy Huyen, Quinton Yusi, and as Mortimer’s Worms: Colter Alves, Olivia DeVito, Leo Hekma, Benji Jenkins, Isabella Saunders, and Abigail Williams.

ZOMBIE IN LOVE, The Muzical will performon Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sunday, April 10 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sunday, April 17 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.  

Tickets range from $18 - $20 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787) x 1. Group tickets are available by calling the group sales hotline at (949) 497-ARTS (2787) x 229.  

The box office is open Monday – Saturday: from noon to 5 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and until show time on performance days.   

For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com. Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time. 

Fitz’s quest on her national park adventure: Joshua Tree National Park, and the Joshua Tree of Life


Finding the iconic image of Joshua Tree National Park was a no brainer! Naturally, it is the Joshua Tree itself. I am thrilled that I get to paint one of my favorite subjects – a tree. Best of all, out in this desert national park, they call the Joshua Tree the tree of life. Painting such a bountiful subject is greatly rejuvenating for me as an artist. I have been painting trees all my life. In fact, years ago I created an entire collection of oil paintings titled the Tree Series. 

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Photo by FITZ

The Joshua Tree

I have learned so much about trees by studying their structure, how they grow and what incredible gifts trees are to earth. The more I read and realize about trees the more I believe that they are the answer to saving our planet. We all know that in Northern California there are trees thousands of years old that have survived and thrived regardless of fire, drought, storms and mans continuous interference, pollution and destruction. When will we be wise enough to learn from trees? They preceded us and will most likely outlive us all.

I am a lifetime tree lover and a tree hugger. I’ve been hugging trees so long that they hug me back! Seriously though, if you were to hike with me I would encourage you to hug a tree. Then you would begin to tune in to the living vibration that runs through their entire system. In time you would begin to feel how different trees have different pulses. 

The Joshua Tree is an amazing provider to desperate desert inhabitants. These trees provide shade, water, food and shelter to insects, birds, snakes and reptiles – enhancing the delicate balance of nature. They are also often the only splash of green in the endless sea of sand surrounding them. 

I do get a kick out of the way the Joshua Tree’s branches seem as if arms thrown up to the sky in a funny frantic kind of way.

Photo by Maggi

The artist Fitz Maurice was recently back in Laguna for the opening of Main Beach Gallery, where some of her works will be shown

For weeks now I have been studying the Mojave Desert skies too. Here, the sky is massive, a moving and an ever changing element, when all else seems to stand still. If you pay attention, each evening offers an illuminating lightshow that divinely lingers on. It’s incredible how pastel colors of pink and orange splash across the sky redefining the entire landscape, highlighting formations that you probably didn’t even notice before.

Heavenly sunsets lift the flat desert into a three-dimensional array of colors with the mountains turning red and blue, and purples. Every sunset offers a new symphony of tones and nuances. It’s like music to your eyes!

Right now is the ideal time to go to Joshua Tree National Park – the rare wildflower bloom is abundant. You also have the unique chance to see the desert tortoise crawling around. It’s unbelievable to think that these tortoises are only wandering around outdoors 5% of their lives – the other 95% they remain underground. So seize this time to get out there. Bring your camera for super sunsets and rare wildlife opportunities.


FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every national park in America. She is now in her fourth year. Totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, she’ll finally set up with portable easel and oil paints. FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world. To see her National Park Paintings visit: www.nationalparkpaintings.com

LBHS Park Avenue Players’ production of “Once Upon a Mattress” runs until March 20, at Artists Theatre

The Laguna Beach High School Drama Department announces its spring production “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical comedy based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” The show will be performed in the LBHS Artists Theatre and runs through March 20.

It’s been very exciting to collaborate with all the performing arts departments on campus,” said LBHS Drama Teacher Alexis Karol. “We have 36 students on stage including actors, singers, and dancers, plus a student orchestra and crew.”

Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy originally produced in 1959 with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshal Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer. The production is a collaboration of co-directors Karol and Karen Rymar, assistant director of Musical Theatre at the Orange County School of the Arts, and LBHS alumna Celena DelPizzo-Howell.

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“The entire process has been very rewarding,” said DelPizzo-Howell. “It has been a pleasure being apart of such a wonderful team of directors and being given the privilege to work with an incredibly talented and kind cast of students.”

With musical direction by Roxanna Ward and choreography by Paul Nygro, the performance will provide the audience with hilarious, romantic and melodic turns.

Audiences who may know the story of “The Princess and The Pea” may be in for some surprises with this adaptation. In this version, Queen Aggravain has decreed that no one in the Kingdom may wed until Prince Dauntless is married. In an attempt to keep Prince Dauntless single, she has decreed that only a true princess of royal blood can pass the test to marry her son. The queen has tested a dozen applicants and each has failed her practically impossible tests. That is, until Sir Harry finds Princess Winnifred the Woebegone. 

This spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance provides some sidesplitting trouble. Chances are, the audience will never look at fairy tales quite the same way again.

The LBHS Park Avenue Players will present the show on March 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and March 20 at 2:30 p.m.

The Artists Theatre Box Office will sell tickets to the public. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for adults and $20 for premium seating. The box office will be open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., 4 to 7:30 p.m. for evening shows and noon to 2:30 p.m. for matinees.

For more information, please visit www.lbusd.org/lbhs/drama or contact Alexis Karol at mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOCA brings the circus to town—step right up, folks for “One Thin Dime” – a circus-themed art party 

LOCA Arts Education will present One Thin Dime, a circus-themed art party and cabaret, on Sunday, April 24, from 4-7 p.m. at the studio of Sandra Jones Campbell in Laguna Canyon. Tickets are now on sale.

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Mada Leach and Linda Velasco with “Art Box”, by Kathy Jones

The festivities and fun will include a fortuneteller, tattoo artist, peep show, face painting, ping-pong shoot, a mood-o-meter machine, photography sets with costumes, and a sale of 50 circus-themed works by local artists including Kathy Jones, Betty Haight, Vinita Voogd, Kirsten Whalen, Carla Meberg, among many others. 

Highlights include a live cabaret performance by noted songstress Roxanna Ward, and appearances by honorees Nelson Coates and Ruben Flores. Food, wine, magic, and fashion will add to the festivities.

Advance registration is $40 per person or $120 for a group of four. VIP registration is $80 per ticket, and includes early admission and a champagne kick-off.  For more information, visit LOCAarts.org or call (949) 363-4700.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

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Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

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