LCAD’s 27th annual Collector’s Choice will support higher education in fine arts, design and animation

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The Collector’s Choice Gathering will take place at the sensational Montage hotel

Collector’s Choice, LCAD’s premier annual fundraising event, now in its 27th year, showcases the talents of dedicated artists who continue a legacy of focused and passionate support for arts education. This year’s contributing artists are comprised exclusively of LCAD faculty, alumni, visiting artists and select BFA and MFA students.

Thanks to LCAD’s partnership with Montage Laguna Beach, Collector’s Choice attendees will enjoy fine wine, an elegant dinner and entertainment in a five-star rated luxury resort. 

Last year, more than 330 guests including trustees, donors, artists, alumni, faculty and friends of the College raised $310,000 for LCAD students and programs.

The event will take place on Friday, Nov 18, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 Coast Highway.

For more information please contact Tracy Hartman at 949-376-6000, ext. 241 or email mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Festival of Arts Exhibitor Loyd Walter, 83, shows why it’s never too late to unveil one’s hidden beauty

He didn’t know it at the time, but Loyd Walter’s “canvas” surrounded him, beckoned him, since he was a child.

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Loyd Walter

Walter is now 83, having retired from a long career teaching engineering and technology. But from his early upbringing, the signs were all around him. Different types of trees produced different types of wood. And woodwork was a long-time hobby for Walter that now has become his passion.

“Raised in the eastern slope of Washington’s Cascade Mountains in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, a country-ranch beginning helped me develop a sense of practicality and self-reliance,” Walter said. “I was born and raised in Western Washington State. My father’s family were pioneers in the Methow Valley.”

Walter has made it from the Methow Valley to Laguna Beach, where he is one of 140 selected artists asked to present their work at the Festival of Arts through Aug. 31.

From an early age, Walter could see the beauty of wood in its natural state. So while others take wood and make it functional, Walter simply aims to bring out its essence.

This orientation leads to natural and bark edge work. Walter works mostly with found wood rather than with lumber because the challenge is to realize the shape and design that will bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Each piece is a unique creation and during turning the character and spirit is revealed.

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 “I am constantly discovering wood with new qualities, character, difficulties and opportunities,” said Walter, who estimates he’s worked with more than 40 different species of wood.

“This challenges me to develop new approaches, techniques and skills. The enjoyment, challenge and fascination I get from woodworking is derived from the characteristics and beauty of the wood itself. Wood, with its infinite variations of grain, texture and color continually gives me the potential to create pieces of interest and grace.”

Walter says his inspiration isn’t tangible; it simply comes from living a long life and observing every step of the way.

“[His inspiration comes from]…a lifetime developing a sense of grace in line and proportion, plus a desire to show the unique quality and character of each piece of wood,” he said.

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Walter was always about the art and not about artist competitions, but he was convinced his work was worth displaying in such a fashion.

Yosh Sugiyama, a nationally recognized artist, advised Walter in 2006 to enter juried shows. Consequently, Walter participated in and won several awards in a number of shows and continues to enter competitions. But he is clear that the work and creativity are the motive and pleasure of his woodworking. The competitions, he said, add extra discipline and challenge to his art.

Walter’s awards over the years include winning at San Diego’s “Design in Wood” and winning Best of Division at the 2006 California State Fair. His work can be seen at Northwest Woodworkers Gallery in Seattle, Gallery M in Half Moon Bay, Highlight Gallery in Mendocino, Carter House Gallery in Redding, Denise Oliver Gallery on Lake Coeur D’Alene in Harrison, Idaho, Skyline Gallery in Tucson, Ariz., and Highland Art Center in Weaverville, Calif.

April Raber’s influences stretch from sea to shining sea

Trying to define the artistic influences of April Raber might be a little like trying to catch a butterfly with a spoon.

Not gonna happen.

Raber is one of the 140 artists selected to present their work at the Festival of Arts through Aug. 31, and simply getting her to sit in one spot for a little while is a victory unto itself.

Raber, whose medium is oil painting, was born in Hawaii, raised on the rural outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida and spent some formative years in the American West, including living on an Indian Reservation.

But if we want to really trace her roots, her greatest influence has been her family. She is the oldest of 10 children, born to parents who were the epitome of self-starters.

“My parents were designers and innovators,” said Raber, of Laguna Beach. “They architected and built their own homes, designed and made most of their own furniture and clothing. They immersed their children in these projects. All of this was inspired by a strong sense of Scandinavian sensibility and influenced by the experience their parents had of being early covered-wagon pioneers in the American West.”

Raber knew, early in her life, that she would be an artist.

“Even at an early age I had a natural inclination for visual rendering,” Raber said. “My favorite was to take my sketchpad and paints and head for the woods. I was fortunate to have a wilderness out my back door. I would spend hours there sketching and painting both small details from nature as well as large vistas.”

She studied fine art at Brigham Young University under several masters, but was particularly struck by the university’s collection of the work of Maynard Dixon. Once she had her degree, the real world beckoned, but Raber wasn’t quite ready for it.

“The next major turning point came when I returned to my roots in the rural American West,” Raber said. “In an effort to stretch my limited resources and still continue painting I moved to a small adobe on an Indian reservation. I was able to paint the real, rural, intermountain west, day after day. I was living those Maynard Dixon paintings. This was a profound experience that even continues to influence my present work.”

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April Raber

Into the Light

Raber’s focus soon shifted again, but this time it was forced upon her.

“Shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree I began exhibiting my work in galleries,” Raber said. “During this time I encountered and overcame two episodes with cancer. These encounters left a deep impression on my work reflecting not only on the frail nature of existence on Earth, but also our struggle with the perception of opposition.

“It was during this period that I created a controversial ‘dream’ series, renditions of pivotal scenes from the subconscious. These paintings, often autobiographical, deal with emerging self-awareness and growth from the perspective of a woman’s psyche.”

After moving to Southern California in the 1990s, her interest in traditional landscapes began to be more influenced by the urban and industrial world that has been superimposed on the natural landscape.

“Over the years I have turned my attention to mid-Century industrial landscapes, focusing on structures that were built from the 1920’s through the 1950’s,” she said. “These include old railroad yards, bridges, grain elevators, factories, refineries, and generating plants. I approach this new subject matter in the same interpretive style, expanding the traditional California Plein-Air movement.”

Festival of Arts exhibitor Barry Robin engineers new career and his lifelong passion as a woodwork artist

There’s nothing quite like aerospace engineering to prepare you for life as an artist.

Wait, what?

Actually, if you are Barry Robin, that is exactly what serves as the foundation for his art.

Robin has lived in Southern California his entire life and currently lives in Aliso Viejo. About the age of 12, he discovered his two passions — surfing and working with wood.

Surfing didn’t pay the bills, but woodwork was different. Robin once held a job as an apprentice yacht carpenter in Newport Beach, but his very first job was building wooden boxes. Those boxes were meant to hold something — specifically, aerospace components, which were related to his dad’s career.

“Those wooden boxes held components that eventually made their way to the moon,” Robin said.

Naturally, Robin followed his dad’s footsteps into aerospace engineering and worked in the field for 25 years.

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Barry Robin

But he never lost his love for woodwork, and now Robin is one of 140 select artists displaying his handiwork at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach through Aug 31.

While you look at his work, know that there are years of aerospace engineering experience that goes into each piece.

“I create art furniture and wood sculpture which I’ve done my entire life part-time,” Robins said. “Twenty-five years in aerospace engineering gave me my strength in precision measurement which is an integral aspect of my art.”

The Festival of Arts is a special place to show one’s art. And Robin isn’t the type to show his work off in a gallery setting.

“I try to avoid placing my work in competitive environments, which tend to shape one’s art into what is currently popular and away from my weird imagination,” Robin said. “I’m a showoff! The Festival of Arts gives me the mechanism to exhibit my work and interact with thousands of people.

“I prefer to interact directly with my clients. Placing my work in galleries seems to place an additional step between my vision and my clients’ desire.”

Like any good artist, Robin can find inspiration for his work in almost anything. Look around, the world has plenty to offer an artist, and Robin’s eyes are wide open.

“Everything I see!” Robin said when asked what inspires him. “My work has organic lines as well as precision geometric aspects. I guess I’m a bit like a sponge, soaking up imagery as I float through life. I wring out my mental sponge when I design my pieces.”

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“Winter Creek”

Robin now works full-time as an artist, having opened up Studio Robin seven years ago.

“I am constantly thinking of new furniture styles and unique joinery techniques. The result makes my furniture pieces one of a kind,” Robin said. “I’m intrigued by the whole design process of each project. I love working in the medium of wood, textures and color. It’s beautiful and no two pieces are the same. Every project is different and must be approached in its own unique way. I love searching for just the right piece of exotic woods and turning them into something not only beautiful, but functional.”

“I’m very fortunate to lead a life where people value my imagination and abilities. I place emphasis on keeping life simple and not taking things too seriously. I have a wonderful, supportive family which allows me the time to imagine and create.”

Artist Eye Gallery: John H. Stewart, featured artist for August

Artist Eye Gallery announced that John H. Stewart would be their Featured Artist through August 31. See a wide variety of John’s bronze and stone sculptures, and his remarkable photography all month long. In addition, all are invited to attend an Artist Reception for John from 6 – 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, Aug 20, featuring live music by David Lally. 

All the way from Galway, on the West coast of Ireland, San Diego based singer/songwriter David Lally will play a wide variety of contemporary and traditional Irish, original and folk/pop tunes throughout the evening.

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John Stewart

On The Move


John H. Stewart is an award winning Southern California artist who is also a world traveler and adventurer. Being an avid scuba diver and naturalist has prompted John to create beautifully crafted works of art since 1996. His love for animals and marine life along with his masterful ability to see and bring to life the most delicate and subtle details in his creations, has allowed him to share the beautiful wonder of nature with others. 

Through John’s masterful and carefully crafted bronze and stone sculptures, one is able to experience a special frozen moment in time that is able to mesmerize the viewer and allows them the unique opportunity to feel both the majesty and fragility of nature at the same time. 

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Photography by John Stewart

“I have found my true passion in being able to share my love of nature through my photography and sculptures. It is a true joy for me to share my experiences and the wonderful and innocent life around us with the world,” said John H. Stewart.

The Artist Eye Gallery, located in the picturesque Hip District of Laguna Beach, displays a remarkable and beautiful collection of works by 16 of Southern California’s most prolific and talented award winning artists. Allow yourself to be transported to the vibrant and eclectic world of original fine art through masterful paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylic; sculptures in bronze, stone and marble; and photography. When you enter our gallery, you will experience art at its finest in a joyful atmosphere, and in the company of our friendly and knowledgeable world class artist. 

In operating the gallery, each artist contributes his or her own individual experiences and they are always happy to interact with guests to answer any questions. Each month during First Thursdays Art Walk, visitors to the gallery enjoy a unique opportunity to engage in conversations with all the artists regarding their artistic style, technique, inspiration and technical skill.

A prescription for calm and harmony: Festival artist and physician Andrew Ko has the antidote for chaos

A connection between being a doctor and an artist might not seem obvious at first. But meet Andrew Ko, and you’ll understand the linkages.

Ko is among 140 artists presenting their works at the Festival of Arts through Aug 31, so these days you’re more likely to see him with a camera in his hand than a stethoscope around his neck.

Both physician and artist, Ko is a photographer with a unique perspective. He came to the United States from South Korea at the age of 15 and eventually went to medical school.

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Ko is a photographer with a unique perspective

Photography, however, had already become one of his favorite activities.

“I have been pursuing photography since my college years before going to medical school,” Ko said. “I was living in a dormitory that had a photography darkroom during my sophomore year. I also took courses in the history of modern art as well as drawing for a year as a pre-med student, where I studied the masters of modern art. This interest in art has stayed with me ever since.”

A Coto de Caza resident, Ko, who graduated from Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in Chicago, is a gastroenterologist practicing in Fountain Valley.
He believes his photography can positively affect the emotions of those who view his images. Thus the artist in him finds satisfaction in knowing that perhaps even one of his works might produce a sense of calm and order in a world of chaos. Similarly, he believes, his medical expertise can provide a sense of peace, comfort and harmony.

“I strive to balance the unbalanced mind, providing a sense of peace through the virtue of photography, and imparting human emotion through the simple power of composition, lighting and timing,” he said.

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Ko’s photography invites the viewer to experience harmony in the midst of chaos

Ko’s images may not always include people, but they are never too far away from civilization. Most of his landscape photography contains some aspect of human activities, as he sees such human activities as central in providing meaning to one’s environment.

“Most of my photographic images are taken while traveling within the U.S. or abroad,” he said. “However, my intention is not necessarily to represent particular locations. I try to obtain raw images with the desired atmosphere and correct lighting regardless of location.”

Ko also believes his photography is helping him place his stamp on history, and in particular, providing a reference point for his family.

“I am particularly fond of the idea that I am finally transferring electronic pixels to palpable objects that I can leave behind for my three lovely daughters,” Ko said. “These would be my simple gifts to them. If I could share the same with the rest of world, I would be that much better for it. I am also utterly indebted to my wife, who always travels with me and points her finger where to shoot.”

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Ko’s travels around the world inform much of his imagery

The physician/photographer has received numerous awards for his photography, including first place in the Architecture and Bridges category and third place in the Advertising Travel/Tourism category at the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA).

He received numerous honorable mentions at the MIFA, the International Photography Awards, and the Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3). His work was exhibited at the MIFA Winners Exhibition in Moscow, Russia, and his photographs are currently being exhibited at the Forest and Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach.

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. 

Bear with me (and a cub): Stories from the woods

Story and photo by FITZ MAURICE

Winter hangs on for quite a while up in Montana, and 10 to 15 feet of snow can take a while to melt. The main road that takes you up to Logan Pass, the Going-To-The-Sun Road, didn’t open up until the middle of June. 

As always though, Glacier National Park teemed with wildlife. While I was there, the bears were coming out of their lairs and they were very hungry. Bears lose up to half their weight while sleeping the winter away in their caves. Mother bears nurse their cubs, who stay close for warmth and protection. When it is finally warm enough, mother bear and cubs spring from their cave and they are ravenous.

The angriest animal of all is a mother bear defending her cub. She will attack if she thinks it is necessary to protect her cub. People are too often taken in by how cute bears look but they can go from cute to attack animals at a furious speed that will unnerve you.

Bears do not want to interact with humans. They prefer to get away from you before you can ever see them. 

Above all, you don’t want to surprise a bear. Talking/singing, clapping your hands frequently and making loud sounds to be heard while hiking is a good idea. This way all wildlife, not only bears, hear you coming and they have time to move on before you get too close. Hiking in groups is best – there have not been any bear attacks on groups of four or more hikers. 

When near any sources of water or food, be extra attentive to wildlife approaching. Bears are also attracted to your candy, sunblock, toothpaste or anything that smells sweet, so avoid carrying those items with you.

This mother bear and cub approached a little too close for comfort!

Another great idea is to wear a bell that rings continuously and warns wildlife of your approach. While visiting Glacier I also learned that if you do come in close proximity to a bear, it is important not to look the bear in the eyes, because they see that as aggression. However, it is good to talk softly to the bear, keeping the animal calm and establishing that you are not aggressive. That is, if you can pull yourself together enough to talk to the bear who is checking you out!

Some recommend that you carry a bottle of bear spray while outside in big bear areas, believing that is the most effective way to deter bear attacks. You can purchase bear spray in the Visitor Center and shops in Glacier. They suggest you wear the container on your chest or carry it in an accessible place. 

Bear spray is an individual decision. Personally, I can’t see myself squirting the bear in the face accurately as it comes charging at me. What if the bear mace backfires and the spray gets into my eyes rendering me blind? I prefer to focus on avoiding any bear encounters.

The wisest thing to do is make sure you stay far away from bears, at least 100 yards, as they can suddenly charge at you. Respect bears as wild animals.

So how did I get this photo of a black bear and her cub? They came out of nowhere and ran right in front of my rental car.  Always ready with my finger on the trigger of my camera, I grabbed this shot just as they went growling into the woods and beyond. 

Even though I was inside a car, I didn’t kid myself that my situation was safe, and drove away slowly as soon as I could.


FITZ Maurice has been on her “quest” to paint live in every national park in America. Now totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer; hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene. Finally setting 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 Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy or visit

Rock out with rockabilly legend Lee Rocker as the 2016 season continues to rock the Laguna Playhouse

Yes, indeed, there’s some rockin’ goin’ on in Laguna this summer. The Playhouse continues its 2016 summer season with performances by the original “Stray Cat” and rockabilly legend, Lee Rocker.

“I am thrilled to be able to say that we are going to ‘Rock This Town’ with original ‘Stray Cat’ Lee Rocker performing his classic rockabilly sound, live in our theatre,” comments artistic director Ann E. Wareham. “He is truly a musical genius and we cannot wait to have Lee and his amazing band on our stage!”  

Over the years, Lee Rocker and the Stray Cats sold more than 10 million records, garnered an astounding 23 gold and platinum records worldwide, were music video pioneers of the MTV generation and secured their place in the history of rock and roll.

From the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine, to appearing on Saturday Night Live, to headlining the US Festival and touring with the Rolling Stones, Lee Rocker, a Laguna Beach resident, has seen and done it all. 

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Lee Rocker is about to rock this town three Sundays in August

In 1982 Rocker and his father Stanley Drucker, (classical clarinetist) both received Grammy nominations. This is something that has only occurred twice in the history of the Grammy Awards. 

The worldwide mega hits “Stray Cat Strut”, “Sexy and Seventeen” and “Rock this Town” have become a part of the fabric of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has included “Rock this Town” as one of the 500 most important songs in rock. 

Lee Rocker has been consistently touring, recording and preforming around the globe since 1980 and has cultivated a fanatically loyal following of rockers, rebels and all types of music lovers.

He is also a recipient of the Visionary Artist Award by the City of Laguna Beach. In his concert performances Rocker does indeed rock every town and leaves every audience on their feet and cheering. 

Rocker will perform three Sundays only, August 14, 21 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

Tickets range from $45 - $55 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. 

The box office is open Mon – Sat, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sun from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is open until showtime on performance days.

Artists’ Benevolence Fund - helping artists in need


An artist at the Sawdust Art Festival since 1991, John Eagle had the privilege of serving as the Treasurer for the Artists’ Benevolence Fund for 15 years.  John had a unique experience while serving others as a trustee; his studio was destroyed in a flood that was followed by a mudslide, burying all his work and supplies. Because of this, he has knowledge from both sides of the Benevolence Fund. He had the privilege of granting funds to local Laguna Beach artists in need, but he also received funds when he was the artist in need. 

When his studio flooded, he was out of work for six months. Without the aid of the Benevolence Fund, he says, “I would not have been able to put my studio back together and start creating work for the summer show.” On the other side of his experience, He spoke of serving as a trustee with a smile. “You are performing a real service for those in need, providing money within days of a tragedy, not months.” He felt it was the “most worthwhile volunteer organization in the local community!”

The Artists’ Benevolence Fund is available for any practicing artists in the city of Laguna Beach.  It is not strictly reserved for Sawdust Art Festival artists. The only qualifications to receive aid are that applicants live within the city limits of Laguna Beach and make a majority of their income from their craft, whether that is visual, performing or musical arts. 

John has donated one of his incredible oil paintings for the auction every year since he joined the show! He tries to give a piece that is valued around $1,000, the cost of one grant! Come support the Sawdust Artists’ Benevolence Fund at the annual auction on Sunday, Aug 14 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. You will be supporting a great local organization that provides aid for artists when they have nowhere else to turn. For more information, visit

Passport to the Arts season pass – just $24

In its eighth consecutive season, the Passport team, comprised of the Festival of Arts, Laguna Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, in collaboration with Visit Laguna Beach and the City of Laguna Beach, is currently offering 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.

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 offers at selected lodging properties, local shops, eateries and attractions

To purchase a 2016 Passport online please visit:

For information about overnight stays and things to do while visiting Laguna Beach, drop by the official Visitors Center, located at 381 Forest Ave or visit

Marsh Scott sculpture, ‘Connectivity’, awarded prestigious public art commission in Oklahoma City

‘Connectivity’, a major new Marsh Scott sculpture, will soon grace the remodeled Santa Fe Depot and new Intermodal Transit Hub in Oklahoma City as a result of a national Public Art competition.

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Marsh Scott with a model of ‘Connectivity’

The freestanding artwork, a stainless steel and fused glass sculpture, is intended to convey the energy of the many connections that start, end, or pass through the Hub as part of a major restoration and upgrade of the historic Oklahoma City railroad station.

“Goods and people will journey through the Hub by rail, foot, trolley, bike, car, truck and bus. People and commerce will pass through the Hub to connect to all points of the globe. I wanted to capture the bustle of people and things in motion with ‘Connectivity’ by crisscrossing steel ribbons to convey the fluidity of motion,” stated Scott.

The sculpture will help anchor the entry of the architecturally significant, historic Santa Fe Depot. “The piece’s arcs and circles intersect and connect at varied angles, containing and expanding with the energy of movement,” explained Scott. The textured fused glass will allow light to pass through for added sparkle. Each arc and circle is pierced with designs derived from overlapping elements of wheels, pistons, cowcatchers and windows to evoke the dynamic feel of transportation - past and present. The fused glass and openings are designed to combine with the light passing through the historic depot’s windows and the Art Deco-style architecture to organically connect the sculpture to the site.

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Artist‘s rendering of ‘Connectivity’ installation inside Santa Fe Depot

The hand brushed surface will softly gleam with highlights and the surrounding architectural colors. Lighting will enhance the sculpture night and day with the added option of a varied mix of seasonal lighting motifs.

“The timeless spirit of connecting and of endless possibilities was my goal with ’Connectivity’ and I am thrilled and honored to have been selected for this major transit project,” concluded Marsh Scott.

Legendary actor Ben Vereen will participate in a panel discussion after Time Out of Mind film is screened

On Sunday, Aug 21 at 2 p.m., Friendship Shelter will host a film screening of Time Out Of Mind, an American drama written and directed by the esteemed Oren Moverman, followed by a panel discussion with Ben Vereen. Starring Richard Gere and Ben Vereen, the film offers a rare glimpse into the life of a homeless man on the streets of New York and has been called a “small miracle of cinema” by Rolling Stone magazine. 

“I’m thrilled to show this film and continue the dialog about how homelessness affects our community with the wonderfully talented Ben Vereen, who is a strong advocate of mental health and homeless services,” said Dawn Price, executive director of Friendship Shelter. “This is a great opportunity to hear from our neighbors about ways we can work together to bring solutions to south Orange County.” 

Tickets are on sale on Friendship Shelter’s website at for $65, which includes refreshments and a panel discussion with legendary film and theater actor Ben Vereen. A VIP ticket of $125 is available and will include a private reception with Vereen, who stars in the film, directly after the discussion. 

Friendship Shelter is committed to ending homelessness in our community, one person at a time. They serve on average 550 homeless and formerly homeless men and women annually through three core programs: the flagship Self-Sufficiency Program in Laguna Beach, the Alternative Sleeping Location, which is Orange County’s only year-round emergency shelter, and the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. 

For more information about Friendship Shelter’s programs and services, and to buy tickets to Time Out Of Mind, visit or call 494.6928

Down Mexico way and beyond: Author Steve Hely entertains at FOA with tales drawn from his travels


On Sunday July 24, the inaugural Books and Brunch Event at the Festival of the Arts was attended by approximately 30 readers who enjoyed a Mexican breakfast and rollicking tales of a trip south of the border, down Mexico way, as told by author Steve Hely. (Oh, and down Peru, and Chile, and Panama way, too, to mention just a few of the Central and South American countries that Hely spent several months visiting prior to writing his book The Wonder Trail.)

Hely, who has written for TV shows including The Office and 30 Rock, told of escapades and adventures including eating guinea pigs, witnessing the sale of drugs while sailing the Darien Gap, and hearing harrowing tales about kidnapping. He recalls participating in feast days in the mountains of Colombia and musing on the placement of a large rather explicit statue of a woman giving birth to the world in close proximity to a Catholic church, with its more discreet depictions of Christ’s birth.

“But it’s hard to beat the beauty of Laguna Beach,” he said.

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Author Steve Hely signs Rebecca Barber’s book. “The route he took – the different places and experiences he had – it’s amazing,” she said.

Hely noted that Laguna has a special place in his heart.

“My grandfather, a doctor, was stationed at Camp Pendleton, training for amphibious landings in the Pacific theater in the summer of 1944,” he said. “He decided, like many others, to marry his sweetheart, my grandmother, before he shipped overseas. At that time, doctors were given a month in Laguna Beach as a honeymoon before they left. I can only imagine how rich that experience must have been for them.”

Hely explained why he took the trip that turned into the well-reviewed book. 

“Life is wild, full of luck and surprising accidents of time and history and geography,” he said. 

“We all have to decide how to make the most of it. For me, that’s traveling.”

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L-R: Jason Feddy, Michael Waldman, Cindy Waldman and Myrna Gray, Jason’s mom, very much enjoyed the Books and Brunch event

Book club members Mady Gufarotti, Susan Wunderlich and Karen Strauss agreed that Hely’s presentation made them want to travel. They loved his humor and his ability to talk about his experiences in such an interesting way.

The event ended with Steve Hely wandering from table to table to sign the books that were part of the Books and Brunch package. Everyone wanted to engage him in conversation, and when I left, he was still doing the rounds. He may still be there for all I know; so willing was he to share his experiences.

The next Books and Brunch will take place on Aug 21 at 11:30 a.m. and will feature novelist Michelle Gable talking about her new book, I’ll See You in Paris. For more information, visit

Artist Benevolence Fund – Helping artists in need


The Artists’ Benevolence Fund is a unique source of financial assistance to artists living in Laguna Beach, who have suffered a catastrophic event, leaving them unable to work. The Benevolence Fund’s annual auction is a large component that provides the money to support these artists in need. Most artists that donate artwork to the Artists’ Benevolence Fund do so out of the goodness of their hearts - they want to support each other. Few of them ever think that one day they will need the assistance of the Benevolence Fund.  

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Marsh Scott

That was the case for painter and sculptor Marsh Scott; she had been donating artwork for the auction since she joined the show in 1999. It wasn’t until her studio was destroyed in the floods in 2010 that she truly understood the importance of the Benevolence Fund. 

It is devastating to an artist to not only lose their work but their means of creating new work. 

“I lost everything: my tools, supplies and artwork. My studio was filled with two feet of mud.” Within days of the flood, Marsh was contacted by trustees of the Benevolence Fund and given a check to help while she tried to rebuild her studio. She said, “Mentally, it felt great to know that someone wanted to help.” 

Ever since, she sees donating work to the Benevolence Fund’s annual auction as a way to “pay it forward.” 

Marsh is proud to belong to a local community that supports the Benevolence Fund auction. As a Laguna Beach resident, she understands how small some homes can be and that wall space is limited. For that reason, she tries to pick a piece of artwork to donate that is small enough to fit in any home so that “…if someone loves it, they can find a place for it!” 

Support the Sawdust Artists’ Benevolence Fund by attending the 2016 annual auction on Aug 14. All the artwork is donated by Sawdust Art Festival artists. You may just find a treasure you cannot live without! 

For more information, visit

Cheyne Walls’s photograph of Death Valley National Park is honored with an award from Wildling Museum 

A black and white panoramic image of sand dunes in Death Valley National Park captured by local fine art photographer Cheyne Walls has recently been awarded second place by the Wildling Museum in Solvang. 

The juried exhibit “Celebrating the National Parks of California” is held in honor of the Centennial of the National Park Services and features artwork inspired by the nine national parks located in the state of California. Walls’s limited edition photograph “Unforgiving” was selected from over 165 entries from around the country.

“When creating images, choosing an aspect ratio is an integral part of composition,” said exhibit juror and professional photographer Marc Muench. “Cheyne Walls made a great choice when creating this scene of the dunes in Death Valley, as it made the vast space of this unique park the subject, then he dressed it up with great light and printing.”

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Cheyne Walls work is honored – as it should be!

“Unforgiving” as well as other work by Walls, can be found in his new book, Miles from Los Angeles. The book features over 120 photographs from locations all over the western United States. 

Miles from Los Angeles may be purchased this summer at the Laguna Art-A-Fair, open daily now through Aug 28. After being voted Best New Artist in 2015, Cheyne returns as a second year exhibitor at the juried art festival, which features 125 artists from around the world. Cheyne will be announcing times and dates for local book signing on his website and social media later in the month.

Located in Solvang, CA, the Wildling Museum is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to using art to awaken a passion for nature and wilderness conservation. Exhibitions, programs and events are listed on their website at The “Celebrating the National Parks of California” exhibit at the Wildling Museum runs now through October 3. For hours, programs and events, visit their website.

Walls specializes in panoramic images of the Northern American landscape. Prior to dedicating himself to capturing and printing his fine art photographs, Cheyne worked as an advertising and editorial photographer in the automotive industry. Traveling across the United States and throughout the globe on these photo shoots, he fell in love with the diverse landscapes of the world. 

A Southern California native, Cheyne received a degree from Brooks Institute of Photography. His photography is part of numerous private and commercial collections worldwide. His studio is located at 3251 Laguna Canyon Road, H-5, and is open by appointment.

For more information about the artist or to purchase books online, visit

Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund receives a generous grant to support jewelry classes for military spouses

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Submitted photo

Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund Treasurer Cherril Doty receiving a Grant Check from Festival of Arts Foundation Secretary Jacquie Moffett

The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund - a philanthropic effort that supports education of the public about the arts while providing hands-on experience to underserved populations - has announced the receipt of a grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation to assist in its philanthropic efforts. 

The grant will aid in funding a jewelry-making class for spouses of active military personnel at Camp Pendleton. Scheduled to take place in October, the class will be taught by Sawdust artist Jamie Bichler.  

In addition to learning jewelry-making techniques, the participants will receive the jewelry tools and components needed to produce jewelry pieces. Furthermore, instructions will be given on how to set up and market an Etsy store to help generate extra income that is not location dependent. 

For more information and details about the classes, visit:

“Ice Cream Man” and Two Olympians 

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Submitted photo

Years ago, Laguna Beach artist Scott Moore painted “Ice Cream Man.”

Now, Moore wouldn’t be wrong to change the title of his oil painting to “Ice Cream Man, and two Olympians.”

Moore, 66, used his neighbors’ daughters as the models for the painting. Those two little girls are now members of the U.S. women’s Olympic water polo team getting ready to play in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

Aria and Makenzie Fischer, who both play the position of attacker for the U.S. team, also played at Laguna Beach High. Makenzie graduated in 2015 and will be playing at Stanford this fall and Aria is just finishing up her junior year and still is part of Laguna Beach High’s water polo program. 

In “Ice Cream Man,” Moore goes to that iconic childhood memory of the ice cream man’s visit, preceded, of course, by the music coming from his ice cream truck. 

“I love telling stories of my childhood through my paintings,” Moore said. “‘Ice Cream Man’ brings me back to summertime, where the music from the ice cream truck stopped us in our tracks. We’’d beg mom for money and chase the truck down on our bicycles!”

Moore uses a unique style in his works. “Painting images with two scales gives me the freedom to enlarge some of the often forgotten objects that make up the details of a great memory,” he said.

Moore is one of the featured artists in the annual Festival of Arts, July 5 – Aug 31.

Stories From The Woods XXVI: Glacier is an Eden  

Story and photos by FITZ MAURICE

I arrive at Glacier National Park in Montana and see that it is a monumental park rich in beauty and wildlife. I look at incredible hiking along trails that are reminiscent of what I believe Nirvana might be. Waterfalls are gushing in all their glory. Around me, all is emerald green, velvety, with thick woven woods. Mountains admire themselves in their crystal-lake reflection. The glacier itself is a true Eden, lush with life and teeming with wildlife. 

Mountain ranges, woods, lakes and open fields are sprinkled with yellow and violet flowers, enough to hold any viewer’s attention. When you add the wildlife experiences that are possible as well, it’s thrilling.  

Fitz Maurice at the Garden Wall, Glacier National Park

Never before have I had the privilege to see so many animals walking freely around in their environment. No wonder so many artists and photographers are lured to this rare beauty. It’s a photographer’s dream come true because you can get some incredible shots while just hiking along on a gorgeous sunny day. I was lucky – it was the ideal time to be there because the highest pass on the Going-To-The-Sun road had just opened.

It was the end of June, and the snow had only just retreated enough that I could drive up to the snow-covered peaks. The timing also meant that the wildlife was very busily going about their lives. I got a great photo of a mountain goat with her vulnerable baby in tow while they were crossing a vast and frozen landscape. It looked as if it was the first journey out in the open for that tiny baby goat. 

Mountain goat leads her baby out into the open

I also saw and photographed bighorn sheep as they lay comfortably snuggled up in snow while basking their backs in the hot sun. I was tempted to do the same – that looked inviting. 

One of the surprises for me was how hot it was. Logan Pass is 10,000 feet in altitude and there was lots of snow on the ground. Yet the temperature was 84 degrees. 

I was in a dream state as I explored. I felt cozy in heavy-duty socks and hiking boots, but I needed only a T-shirt on because it was so hot my skin was tanning. 

In Montana at this time of year, this far north, it remains light until 10 p.m. or so. I was shocked when I paddled in from kayaking at Lake McDonald and realized it was 9:45 p.m.

There is so much fun to be found in Glacier Park. Kayaking the crystal clear lakes is inspiring, and rafting the rapids is a rush. People can choose horseback riding through the fragrant woods, or take a helicopter up and ride the ridge of the Continental Divide, or swim down in the Hidden Lake. There are wonders to marvel at and secrets to discover in the Treasure State of Montana.

I have to mention that it is likely that the longest-lasting glaciers at Glacier National Park, Montana will only survive until 2030 – maybe. Then they’ll be gone. Support our National Parks, which should be easy to do since it is now summer.

Go to your nearest park now and get outside!

To see some of the newest National Park Paintings, go to Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach.

2016 is the fourth year of my quest, to paint ‘live’ in every national park in America.

Having totally committed my life and talents to help promote and protect the parks, I am traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Then I go hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene. 

Finally I set up with portable easel and oil paints, and try to capture in paint the wonders that make each National Park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world. Click link to see National Park paintings at

Art-To-Go names Best in “Shoe” Show

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Photo by Rick Graves

(Back L-R): Artists Fund Vice President Wendy Wirth, awards juror Jessica Cline, Hugo Rivera, John Repka, Barbara White, Roger Bennett and Tim Brown. (Front L-R) Yoonsook Ryang, Jacquie Moffett and Rosemary Swimm for Tom Swimm.

“Wow – I never expected that!” exclaimed Barbara White of her third place win in the Art-To-Go Best in Show awards. White, a photographer, was among eight artists recognized at a ceremony on Sunday at Festival of Arts. 

Themed “The Shoe Show”, the collection features 100 works donated by Festival exhibitors.

 “What a great honor” said new exhibitor Tim Brown, winner of best in theme for his assemblage titled “Shoe Fetish”. Other titles included first place to Roger Bennett, for his photo of burley Dutch men wearing wood clogs, and second place to Jacquie Moffett for her moccasin constructed from watercolor paper. 

Honorable Mentions went to John Repka, Hugo Rivera, and Yoonsook Ryang. The people’s choice award, tallied from votes cast by Festival exhibitors, resulted in a tie between John Repka for his wall relief, and Tom Swimm for his deck shoe transformed into a miniature speed boat.

Awards juror Jessica Cline, publisher of Modern Luxury magazine stated, “I was very impressed with the variety and quality of works in this collection. I favored pieces that had interesting messages, or reminded me of places I’ve traveled to”.

Proceeds from Art-To-Go sales support The Artists Fund, a hardship relief fund for artists in need. The collection is available daily now through Aug 13 on the Festival grounds. Items may be viewed by clicking the online gallery tab at (949) 612-1949. 650 Laguna Canyon Rd, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily.

Passport to the Arts season pass – just $24

In its eighth consecutive season, the Passport team, comprised of the Festival of Arts, Laguna Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, in collaboration with Visit Laguna Beach and the City of Laguna Beach, is currently offering 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.

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 offers at selected lodging properties, local shops, eateries and attractions

To purchase a 2016 Passport online please visit:

For information about overnight stays and things to do while visiting Laguna Beach, drop by the official Visitors Center, located at 381 Forest Ave or visit

All Shook Up’s gala opening night was all sold out: the spirit of Elvis is alive and well at the Playhouse

Subscribers, donors, supporters and celebrities attended the standing room only opening night gala of the Laguna Playhouse’s first show of its 2016 - 2017 season, All Shook Up. This perfect family summertime, fun-time musical is inspired a book by Joe DiPietro, musical direction by Jeff Biering, choreography by Paula Hammons Sloan and is directed by Steve Steiner.  

All Shook Up includes the fabulous music of Elvis Presley, presented in unexpected and hilarious ways as part of a plot inspired by the star-crossed lovers in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. 

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Photos by Ryan Miller, Capture Imaging

The cast of All Shook Up

The show is sponsored by U.S. Bank. Ellen Richard, the Playhouse’s new interim executive director was in attendance, joined by many VIPs including mayor Steve Dicterow, council member Toni Iseman, Mark Christie, Playhouse board members Gary Jenkins, Melinda Masson, Heidi Miller, Justin Myers, Terri Turner and Nicholas Yrizarry. 

Co-chair of the Playhouse’s 97th Gala, Playhouse board member Glenn Gray and his wife Katherine Burton were also in attendance, along with Playhouse Women co-chair Robin Woods who supported her co-chair and cast member, Michelle Bendetti.. Playhouse cast alumni (Love, Loss, and What I Wore) Pat Kollenda was also on hand to support the start of the Playhouse’s 97th season. 

Everyone enjoyed the pre-show spread, featuring Nolet’s Spirits, our Season Spirits sponsor, providing Nolet’s premium gin and Ketel One vodkas (they are also the exclusive spirits at the lobby bar). 

Pre- and post-show gourmet delights were provided by Mark DePalma of Mark’s Catering. Guests nibbled on a delicious array of appetizers and light bites before the show, and enjoyed a wide array of gourmet desserts, cookies and other special delights at the newly revamped Artistic Director’s post-show reception, where guests enjoyed the beautiful weather and musical stylings of pop singer-songwriter Morgan Mallory, who was sponsored by KX93.5, Laguna Beach’s only local radio station. 

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Edna Yan, Amanda DeCarlo, Victoria Strombom and Felix Yan

Season sponsors South Coast Plaza, Gelson’s, First Republic Bank, Toni Tartamella, and Daymar Coffee Company also provided support. 

The show continues through Sunday, August 7. Ticket prices range from $41 to $66. Performances take place from Wed to Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Sat at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on July 7, 21 and Aug 4 (Thursdays) at 2 p.m. and July 17 and 31 (Sundays) at 5:30. Times are subject to change.

Tickets are available at or call 949-497-278

Box Office Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 7:30pm on performance days); Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (open until 5:30pm on performance days). Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

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The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

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Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie  Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

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