‘Tis the season for art, artists, galleries, and fun 

at First Thursdays Art Walk, Dec 7

Compiled and written by SUZIE HARRISON

Make December an art season to remember at First Thursdays Art Walk, Dec 7, 6 to 9 p.m. On that evening, Art Walk will celebrate the diverse cultural art scene of Laguna Beach and the event is free to the public, with participation by more than 30 member galleries. 

See terrific LCAD student artwork at the galleries participating in the College’s Professional Mentoring Program

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) and First Thursdays Art Walk (FTAW) has matched 14 students from the BFA in Fine Arts to exhibit their artworks in select Laguna art galleries as part of LCAD’s Professional Mentoring Program, an annual collaboration between LCAD and participating Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk galleries, now in its 16th year.

To check out the names of LCAD artists and their respective mentor galleries, click on the Printable map here.

LCAD student Sureya Davis, who partnered with the Whitney Gallery, lauds the Mentorship Program and shared her experience in a recent interview.

“I have loved every aspect of the Art Walk mentorship program, it has definitely been gratifying,” said Davis. 

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Photo provided by the gallery

“Key” by Sureya Davis - check out her work and 13 other LCAD student’s work as part of the mentorship program with Art Walk galleries

“The experience that I have gained from the mentorship program is more than I could have asked for. Before participating in the program, I, and I am sure most of my peers, had little to no knowledge about the gallery business,” Davis said. “But through the mentorship program and by partnering with Whitney Gallery, I was able to experience, firsthand, the behind the scenes of how a gallery is run.” 

She found that learning how to price her work was one of the most beneficial aspects.

“Something really important that I took away from this is how to price my work. Talking to Jackie Whitney and Robin Fuld, my professional studies instructor, helped me so much with pricing,” Davis said. “Before this program, my pricing needed a lot of help.”

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Photo courtesy of gallery

Another impressive artwork by Sureya Davis

“Another important issue that was addressed with this program was gaining a perspective on how galleries view artists and their work from the gallery owners side versus the artists side,” Davis said. “I learned multiple lessons about what cohesion means in my work that I am definitely going apply in my future.”

To see her work, visit the Whitney Gallery, 305 Forest Ave. For information, call the gallery at 497-4322 or visit www.marcwhitney.com

During Art Walk only, 50 percent of the proceeds go directly to the student, and 50 percent to the First Thursdays Art Walk/LCAD Scholarship fund.  

Around town…enjoy special events at myriad galleries. Here are two:

A benefit for the Boys & Girls Club at Dawson Cole Fine Art

Dawson Cole Fine Art, 326 Glenneyre St., is featuring a Holiday Exhibit and benefit event for The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening will include a champagne reception and a performance of The Nutcracker by the Festival Ballet Theatre. Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or new clothing for a boy or girl ages newborn to 18. The evening will include an opportunity drawing, holiday refreshments and prize drawings. To attend, RSVP to 888-972-5543 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For information, call 888-972-5543 or visit www.dawsoncolefineart.com.

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Photo provided by the gallery

A lovely piece by Richard MacDonald, “Sisters, Atelier,” 16.75 x 10 x 8”

Las Laguna Gallery Contemporary and Fine Art, 557 S. Coast Highway, A-1, is featuring a new show for the month of December, “Small Works – Big Talent: A Group Exhibit,” including works by guest artist Lanae Dahl. The latest show will feature various forms of art, all 16 x 16 inches, or smaller. Whoever said size doesn’t matter was right. Though small in size, the gallery’s featured artists’ works are sure to be large in impact. In the words of Vincent Van Gogh, “…the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, but a succession of little things that are brought together.” 

Works in this exhibition will include Digital Art, Photo Collage, Fiber Art, Graphite, Mixed Media, New Media, Acrylic, and Oil. Art patrons will enjoy an artist reception with live music. For information, call 667-1803 or visit www.laslagunagallery.com.

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Photo provided by the gallery

Enjoy monumental art in the gallery’s “Small Works – Big Talent: A Group Exhibit,” featuring pieces 16 x 16 inches or smaller

Meet the artists, explore an array of mediums and experience new and exciting exhibits at galleries around town, including LCAD student artists and their exhibits, as part of a mentorship program with participating Art Walk galleries.

Apps and more to help guide you on your Art Walk

For your convenience, you can download the First Thursdays Art Walk Gallery Guide via the izi.TRAVEL app.

Free trolley service for Art Walk runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Trolleys begin at the Laguna Art Museum (north) and Bluebird Canyon Road (south). The trolley route runs as far north as Viejo Street, up Laguna Canyon Road as far as Canyon Acres, and south to Bluebird Canyon Road. Download the Visit Laguna Beach smart phone app: LAGUNA BEACH TRAVEL INFO to stay connected to the First Thursdays Art Walk page, Trolley Tracker, and “for everything Laguna.” 

To learn more about First Thursdays Art Walk and a full listing of participating galleries, please visit www.FirstThursdaysArtWalk.com.

Mindfulness Retreat with Elizabeth Gosselin at The Ranch offers peace during the busy holiday season

The Ranch of Laguna Beach is offering a Mindfulness Retreat on Friday & Saturday, December 8 – 9, at the Sycamore Spa, led by yoga and meditation teacher Elizabeth Gosselin, author of “The Wisdom Deck Book.” Sessions are open to all, locals and resort guests, beginners and seasoned students.

This retreat will focus on mindful movement, sitting, silent and guided meditations. The practices explored are based on Eastern philosophies for cultivating a calm and quiet mind, resting and rejuvenating the body and exploring more spaciousness in everyday life. Each day will feature progressive instruction in mindfulness practices and an interactive discussion from the teachings.


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Submitted photo

Peace is within reach at this retreat

Here is the retreat Itinerary:

Friday: 4 p.m. Check-in; 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.; dinner at Harvest; 7 - 9 p.m. Program overview and meditation session.

Saturday: 7 - 8 a.m. Breakfast at Harvest; 8:30 - 10 a.m. Yoga and meditation session; 10 - 11 a.m.; walking meditation 11 a.m. to noon; sitting meditation, noon - 3 p.m.; lunch break and leisure, 3 - 5 p.m.; Qigong and meditation session 6 - 7 p.m.; dinner at Harvest 7 - 8:45 p.m.; Evening discussion and meditation session.

Registration is limited to 14 people. The cost is $299 per person, including tax and gratuity. Retreat guests receive a special retreat rate for spa treatments and their room rate. 

For more information or to sign up, please contact Reservations Manager Madison Powers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-1381.

Laguna Board of REALTORS® & Affiliates were busy supporting Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month

During the month of Nov, each week at the broker preview meetings and the brokers’ office meetings, REALTORS® and Affiliates donated food, toiletries, and worked on activities for the Annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month 2017, organized by the City of Laguna Beach Housing and Human Services Committee. 

The Laguna Food Pantry has been the recipient of both the Real Estate office food drives and a portion of the proceeds from the Taste for Charity event produced by the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliates Charitable Assistance Fund. The local Girl Scouts organized the toiletries collection. 

Since 1924, the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliates has been an active part of the business and charitable community in LB. With over 750 members, community friends and neighbors serve as leaders on non-profit boards, committees and local government organizations that work tirelessly to promote and protect Citizens’ property rights and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

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Submitted photo

The 2017 Board of Directors & Staff of the Laguna Board of REALTORS®

L-R Back Row: Spencer Wall, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Michael Johnson, Villa Real Estate, Dede Westgaard-Pike, Coldwell Banker Residential, Charles Brickell, Board President, Compass, Janelle Hilton, The McMonigle Group, Traudi Hansen, 2017 President-elect, Surterre Properties, Bobbie Jordan, LBOR Admin Assistant, Frank Hufnagel, Surterre Properties, Mahmoud Aldimassi, Treasurer-elect, Coldwell Banker Residential

L-R Front Row: Madelaine Whiteman, Treasurer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Lauriann Meyer, Executive Officer, Cheri Romig, Coldwell Banker Residential, Michelle Orozco, LBOR Admin Assistant, Marie Thomas, Laguna Beach Properties, Cari Young, Compass, David Csira, 2018 President-elect, The Csira Group

Lauriann Meyer, executive officer of the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and past chairperson of the City of Laguna Beach Housing and Human Services Committee, thanks the Board of Directors and Brokers for their leadership in promoting the giving spirit in their organizations.

For more information about the events of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, visit www.lagunahungryandhomeless.org. For more information about the Laguna Board of REALTORS®, visit www.lagunarealtors.org.

Dennis’ Tidbits


December 1, 2017

2017 has been the driest five-month period to start the rainy season with only .06 inches since July 1

A rainless November and only 0.06 in. on the board from July 1 through today, December 1, making it the driest five month period to start the season. Normal to date since July 1 should be at about 2.1 inches. The latest front produced nothing but fog and then drizzle as its moisture had been squeezed out when it left the Bay area. Even they got only a tenth of an inch. The Pacific storm train is relegated to Oregon and Washington where the earth is already saturated, especially in Washington where November rain totals nearly doubled November’s normal output. 

Incoming storms encounter the mighty Eastern Pacific High about 800-1000 miles out and take a sharp left turn thus focusing their energy on the Pacific Northwest and leaving most of California high and dry. This pattern is projected to continue for at least the next week to ten days or beyond.

With that high in place and its ridge that extends to the Great Basin we get lots of sun with above normal temps and occasional offshore flows, not the howling Santanas but rather a gentle to moderate offshore flow resulting in low humidities but not the Red Flag conditions. Winds would not exceed 30-35 mph in places like Cajon Pass, the major outlet for northeast winds. Local ocean temps are dropping quicker and now stand at 59-61 degrees and could, if this is your classic La Nina, which I think is the case, ocean temps could drop at least another five degrees before all is said and done. Remember the past two winters saw temps seldom sink below 60 the whole time. 

In some extreme cases local ocean temps have really plummeted to near 50, in fact I recorded a 49 in early April of 1974 and 50 and 51 in February of 1989, a strong La Nina year. Lack of surf is yet another symptom of La Nina and sure enough, we’re mired in one of our worst flat autumns with only three more weeks of fall and the forward motion of these incoming storms is unfavorable for sending any swells our way. We have to depend on an occasional late season Southern Hemi pulse but even that’s not happening. As a result there are prolonged stretches of 1-2 foot surf or less. A couple times last month saw little dribblers being measured in inches to a point where a boat wake could stir up something. Just stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted. 


Increased funding needed, will bring Village Entrance budget to $8.4 million, staff reports


The $7.1 million budget approved by the City Council in February for the Village Entrance won’t get the job done, according to a staff report.

Another $1.5 million will be needed: $500,000 more for Griffin Structures to provide project management services through the completion of the project and an additional $650,000 for Michael Baker International, formerly RBF, to provide design services and construction administration through completion.

Griffin was hired in 2014 for services through the completion of the schematic design plans and RBF was hired in April of 2015 to prepare the plans suitable to be submitted to the city’s design review process.  

That process has been completed.

However, a staff report states that the revised budget includes elements that were not considered in the February version of the project or the budget. 

Increased funding is needed to keep the project moving toward the anticipated start date of September 2018. The project is expected to be completed in June of 2010.

A joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, at which the project will be reviewed in workshop format. 

Commissioners will hold a hearing on the project and related California Environmental Quality Act documents on Dec 13.

The Parking Fund will be tapped for the additional payments if approved.

Hospitality Night is tonight, Friday Dec 1: The most wonderful time of the year and - tamales

This year’s Hospitality Night event takes place tonight, Friday, Dec 1, from 5 to 10 p.m., with lots of fun predicted for all.

Instead of beginning in front of City Hall this year, the festivities start in the Peppertree Parking Lot (located between Ocean and Forest, across from Second Street) where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting ceremony at 6:10 p.m. – this year on a different pepper tree than in the past.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Santa awaits his ride in 2016

The City will be hosting arts and crafts and holiday card writing to U.S. military personnel overseas in the lot until 8 p.m. 

Street closures in the downtown area will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Portions of Forest Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Beach Street, and the Pepper Tree Parking Lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event. 

Here’s the full schedule:

5 – 6 p.m.: Community Concert Band will play on Beach Street

5:15 – 6 p.m.: Thurston Middle School Band will playing Pepper Tree Lot

5:30 – 6 p.m.: Elementary school choirs will perform next to Santa’s Hut

5:30 – 8 p.m.: Enjoy arts and crafts and candy canes in the Pepper Tree Lot

6 - 6:10 p.m.: Community sing along in Pepper Tree Lot

6:10 p.m.: Santa Claus will arrive in the Pepper Tree Lot to light the tree

6:45 – 10 p.m.: Enjoy LIVE music on stage at the end of Forest Avenue and business open houses.

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Photo by Debbie Naude

Happy cooks preparing more than 1,200 tamales for tomorrow’s festivities

And, of course, as Debbie Naude reminds Stu News, there are the Hospitality Night tamales! Debbie took the photo above of the women preparing 1,200 tamales, 

working in the kitchen at The Laguna Presbyterian Church. The tamales will be available outside in the church in the Rose Garden from 5 p.m. 

Last year 1200 tamales were gone in one hour, by 6 p.m., Debbie says. So better hurry if you’re hungry tonight.

For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304

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