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Festival of Arts accepting scholarship applications from high school seniors in Laguna Beach

The Festival of Arts is proud to announce that the scholarship applications for high school seniors who reside in Laguna Beach or attend Laguna Beach High School are now open for submission online. The application deadline is March 8. 

Applicants may apply for any or all four categories. The four-year, highly competitive scholarships are awarded to students who excel in Film, Performing Arts (dance, music and theatre arts – including performance and production), Visual Arts, and Writing. Recipients will only be awarded one scholarship.

Festival of draw

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Katrina Carras received the Festival or Arts Scholarship Award in Visual Arts for her drawings in 2009

Since 1957, the Festival of Arts scholarship program has supported rising young artists by making it possible for students to pursue college studies in the arts. “Students with talents in multiple fields are encouraged to submit an application in more than one category,” said Festival of Arts Board Secretary and Scholarship Chair Pat Kollenda. She continued, “This is an excellent opportunity for students who are considering a career in the arts.”

Scholarship applications are available online at An applicant must be a graduating high school senior who resides in Laguna Beach or who attends Laguna Beach High School.  

Auditions and interviews will be scheduled in March and April. Scholarship awards begin at a minimum of $1,000 and can be renewed for a total of four one-year scholarships. Students must reapply each summer for a continuation of scholarship status.

Last year, the Festival of Arts awarded nearly $30,000 to graduating seniors for the 2019-2020 academic year. Many scholarship winners pursue successful careers in the arts, and some even return to the Festival as exhibiting artists. In addition to Scholarship Committee Chair Pat Kollenda, committee members include Wayne Baglin, Marge Earl, Kathy Jones, and Jacquie Moffett.

The Festival of Arts is a nonprofit organization that produces the Festival of Arts fine art show and the Pageant of the Masters. Its mission is to support the arts and art education in and about Laguna Beach.

For general scholarship information, call Michelle Reindl at (949) 464-4201 or visit

Laguna Playhouse to hold auditions for TYA production of “The Island of Blue Dolphins”

Laguna Playhouse has announced a casting call for its TYA production of “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell. The auditions will be held on Monday, Feb 4 in OC and on Wednesday, Feb 6 in LA. The production calls for male and female actors/ASM and one musician.

Parts include:

Karana – female, 20s to early 40s – Native American, indigenous peoples, and actors of color strongly encouraged. Actors should possess strong storytelling skills, be athletic, physically flexible, adept with multiple prop manipulation, and able to run.

Three male actors – 30s to early 50s – Native American, indigenous peoples, and actors of color strongly encouraged. Actors should be physically strong, athletic, flexible, adept with props, and able to run. 

Musician – any non-union contract/union pay scale – all ethnicities are encouraged to apply including Native American and indigenous people; color conscious casting. Musicians should possess the following skills: drumming, wind instruments, didgeridoo, and vocal sounds. 

All ensemble members are responsible for load in and load out at each location.

Prepare a contemporary 1 to 2-minute monologue, and be prepared to cold read if needed. Bring a photo and resume that includes union affiliation. Calendar dates for auditions are Monday, Feb 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Orange County, at Positive Energy Dance Center, 22600 C Lambert St, #908, Lake Forest, 92630; and Wednesday, Feb 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Los Angeles, at Colony Theatre Burbank, 555 N 3rd St, Burbank, 91502.

TYA per performance contract: Actor/ASM at $120 per show and $13 per hour. The production rehearses in OC.

“The Island of the Blue Dolphins” Laguna TYA production tours will run weekdays from March 18 to May 3.

For more information, go to

Don’t miss saltfineart’s exciting ‘Landscapes of the Other’ exhibit, opening reception Feb 7

Saltfineart is opening an exciting exhibit, “Landscapes of the Other,” featuring world-renowned photographer, painter, and performer Cecilia Paredes, paired with the sensational French painter Helene Delmaire, with a reception on February 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit runs through March 28.

Peruvian performance, installation artist, and photographer Cecilia Paredes is known worldwide for her images of camouflaged bodies against lush textiled backgrounds. Born in 1950 in Lima, Peru, she studied art at the Catholic University of Lima and at the Cambridge Arts and Crafts School in England. 

Salt Fine Art Cecilia Paredes The Secret

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Courtesy of saltfineart

Cecilia Paredes “The Secret”

Often using her own body as canvas, she paints herself into backgrounds of damask and chintz, forests and deserts, but she never completely blends – never becomes mere decoration. Paredes is a part of the permanent collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Panama Modern Museum, Museo del Barrio New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Costa Rica among many other institutions.

Also featured are new works from Helene Delmaire. Working out of her studio in Lille, a city in Northern France on the border with Belgium, Delmaire is a painter focused on both traditional technics, having studied painting at the prestigious Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, and pushing boundaries in content and composition. Delmaire has shown throughout Europe including Russia, England, Italy, and France with a small number of exhibitions within the US.

Salt Fine Art Helene Delmaire Untitled

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Courtesy of saltfineart

Helene Delmaire “Untitled”

Since 2009, saltfineart + RAWsalt has been exhibiting contemporary works from around the world created by both world-renowned and emerging artists.

“At saltfineart, we specialize in museum caliber Latin American Contemporary art, where our roots run deep and whose talent and commitment we are passionate about sharing,” gallery owner Carla Tesak said. “RAWsalt is emerging global. Dedicated to finding the unprocessed, driven talent that can be the most exciting to experience. The work guides us north to west, south to east and everywhere in between.” 

Saltfineart is located at 346 N Coast Hwy. For more information, call (949) 715-5554 or visit

Laguna Playhouse presents Blues in the Night, opening on Feb 24

Laguna Playhouse is excited to present the smash hit Wallis Annenberg Theatre production of Blues in the Night, conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps, with musical direction by Abdul Hamid Royal. Previews begin on February 20; the show opens on February 24 at 1 p.m. and runs through March 10. 

Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard comment, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to move the critically acclaimed Wallis Theatre production to the Laguna Playhouse. With Sheldon and Abdul leading our extraordinary cast and creative team, our subscribers and audiences should get ready to be knocked out by this roof-raising exciting new production!”

Laguna Playhouse dance

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The highly anticipated “Blues in the Night” is coming to Laguna Playhouse

The soul of the blues wails out full and strong in Blues in the Night, the scorching, Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical. The 26 hot and torchy numbers – by icons Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, and more – tell of the sweet, sexy, and sorrowful experiences that three women have with the lying, cheating, snake of a man, who represents the men who do them wrong. 

Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, Feb 21 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m.; and Thursday, March 7 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets range from $75 - $100 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices are subject to change.

The box office is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (open until show time on all performance days).

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, cutting edge and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals, and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 80,000 patrons each season.

For more information, visit

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Dr.

Jazz Wednesdays kicks off Jan 30 at [seven-degrees] with Grammy winner Peter Erskine

Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series, presented by Laguna Beach Live!, promises to deliver some of the hottest jazz musicians in the region in an intimate cabaret setting at [seven-degrees]. 

The Winter Series kicks off on January 30 with Grammy-winning drummer Peter Erskine Trio, featuring Alan Pasqua on piano and Darek Oles on bass.

Erskine has played the drums since he was four and is known for his versatility and love of working in different musical contexts. Fifty albums have been released under his own name, or as co-leader, and he appears on 700 albums and film scores. 

Erskine recorded five albums with the band Weather Report and won his first Grammy Award with their album ‘8.30’. His second was for the album Some Skunk Funk with The Brecker Brothers. Erskine has 8 other Grammy nominations under his belt plus an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music.

Currently Erskine produces jazz recordings for his record label, Fuzzy Music, is an active author with several books to his credit, and is authoring a series of iOS play-along apps suitable for all instruments.

Jazz Wednesdays Peter Erskin

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Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019 kicks off on Jan 30 with Grammy Award winner Peter Erskine and his Trio at [seven-degrees]

Jazz Wednesdays concerts are every two weeks, January 30 - March 27, from 6 - 8 p.m., with doors and dinner starting at 5 p.m. 

The full concert schedule includes:

January 30 – Grammy-winning drummer Peter Erskine Trio featuring Alan Pasqua on piano and Darek Oles on bass (Trio Jazz)

February 13 – World-renowned saxophonist Rickey Woodard Quartet feat. a very special guest vocalist (Vocal Jazz)

February 27 – Acclaimed Guitarist Will Brahm and the World Music All-Stars (Latin/World Jazz)

March 13 – Critically acclaimed bassist/vocalist Kristin Korb Trio (Classic Jazz)

March 27 – All-Star Tribute to Chet Baker and Peggy Lee feat. world-renowned trumpeter Bijon Watson, a very special guest vocalist, and the Laguna Beach Live! All-Stars (Iconic Jazz)

Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019 is located at the distinctive [seven-degrees] event facility, 891 Laguna Canyon Rd. Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. Full bar and buffet dinner menus are available for purchase starting at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door; season tickets are $125. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders, and Laguna Beach Live! membership. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call (949) 715-9713.

Laguna Art Museum to reopen lower level galleries following renovations

On February 7, Laguna Art Museum will celebrate the reopening of its lower level galleries after a renovation that began in 2018. The lower level space, which was completed in 1934 as an addition to the 1929 building, will host exhibitions again starting March 3. 

With funding from the City of Laguna Beach through the Cultural Facilities Improvement Matching Grant Program, which provided funding to improve the museum’s HVAC systems last year, the museum undertook a major renovation of its lower level galleries. 

Laguna Art outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LAM will celebrate the reopening of its lower level galleries following major renovations on Feb 7

The Brief Gallery and the Segerstrom Family Gallery, spaces which host exhibitions and family programs, were closed in early 2018 to begin the project. The passageway between the two galleries was enlarged; the exhibition spaces were expanded by some 20 percent; and the historic floor, inscribed with the names of the donors to the project of finishing the lower level in 1934, was restored. 

“Most people would agree that the shows the museum has presented on its lower level recently have looked good in spite of the galleries rather than because of them,” said Malcolm Warner, Executive Director of Laguna Art Museum. “The present remodeling will give us fresh-looking, architecturally satisfying spaces that actually enhance the art. We can’t wait to unveil the new look down there.”

Architectural services have been provided pro bono by Anders Lasater Architects, and the construction was taken on by Al Oligino and Michael Laux of Oligino Construction Services Corp. The museum is grateful to the City of Laguna Beach for its support through the Cultural Facilities Improvement Matching Grant Program.

For more information, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

Laguna Craft Guild will hold Art Show this Sunday from 9 a.m. – sundown at Main Beach

This Sunday, January 20 from 9 a.m. – sundown, the Laguna Craft Guild will hold an Art Show at Main Beach featuring local artists. There are always many treasures to be found at the show, you really never know what you’ll find. 

Laguna Craft table

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Stop by the Main Beach cobblestones on Sunday for local handmade goods

Laguna Craft Guild is a small group of local Laguna Beach artists that sell their handmade goods on the cobblestones at Main Beach one to two times a month. Many of them are also Sawdust Festival artists.

The show is very special and a fun way to spend a Sunday strolling along the boardwalk with friends, family, and pets while gazing at the ocean. The Art Show is kind of like looking for that perfect seashell along the shoreline. 

For more information, visit or follow on Instagram at @lagunacraftguild.

Don’t miss exciting new LAM exhibit, Self-Help Graphics

Laguna Art Museum announces the opening of Self-Help Graphics, 1983-1991, an exhibition of prints from the large Self-Help Graphics collection purchased by the museum in 1992 with the help of Charlie Miller, René and Norma Molina, and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, on exhibit through May 27.

Self-Help Graphics is an East Los Angeles printmaking workshop and arts center that emerged from the Chicano movement of the 1960s. It was founded by Sister Karen Boccalero, who was inspired by the committed social and political commentary she saw in the silkscreen prints made by her fellow nun, the celebrated Sister Corita Kent. In 1982, Boccalero launched the Screenprint Atelier program, which provided Chicano and Latino artists of the Los Angeles region with studio facilities, materials, and the technical guidance of a master printer. The result was an extraordinary and exuberant flowering of the silkscreen print.

Check out LAM

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Ricardo Gonsalves, “Don Juan’s Got the Blues,” 1988, silkscreen (18 colors) is on display at Laguna Art Museum

Self-Help Graphics, 1983-1991 includes 16 works by Glenna Boltuch Avila, Alfredo de Batuc, Yreina Cervántez, Sam Coronado, Alex Donis, Ricardo Gonsalves, José Lozano, Delilah Montoya, Malaquías Montoya, Raoul de La Sota, Gilbert “Magu” Luján, Miguel Angel Reyes, Frank Romero, Eloy Torrez, and Patssi Valdez. The exhibit is on view through May 27.

In conjunction with the exhibition, on May 23, the museum will host Victor Hugo Viesca, Cal State LA professor and co-producer of the Self-Help Graphics oral history project, for a talk titled “Creating Our Own World Where We Belong: The Cultural Value of Self Help Graphics & Art.”

Admission is free for members and students 17 and younger, $15 for adults, and $5 for students 18 plus and seniors 60 plus. 

For more information, call (949) 494-8971 or visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

Top 5 reasons to give the gift of Pageant of the Masters this Valentine’s Day

The Pageant of the Masters presents the top 5 reasons to give the gift of “living pictures” this Valentine’s Day that will have you and your special someone feeling the summer love.

1. February 14 discounts: Save 20 percent on tickets to this summer’s production with promotional code VAL20 (excludes loge center seats). To take advantage of this offer, call (800) 487-3378 or visit Offer begins January 17 and ends February 14. 

2. Date night done right: If you’re looking for a unique and romantic gift idea, look no further. Art aficionados, entertainment seekers, and music lovers alike will be swept away with the star-lit amphitheater of the Irvine Bowl. Elevating the romantic atmosphere, the Pageant of the Masters amazes couples nightly with a professional orchestra playing an original score to accompany the scenes on stage. 

Top 5 wine

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Diane and Angel Duarte enjoying the Pageant of the Masters

3. No last supper here: Let your taste buds fall in love with sips and tastes available on the Festival of Arts grounds, including the new on-property dining destination: Terra Laguna Beach. Focusing on delicious and healthy California cuisine, Terra Laguna Beach creates artfully crafted dishes at a beautiful sit-down restaurant that is sure to tempt everyone’s taste buds. Or bring your own picnic and dine on the beautiful festival green and enjoy live entertainment. 

4. Monet all day: Make a date night into an all-day rendezvous and arrive before the Pageant to enjoy the highly praised Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show. As one of the nation’s oldest juried fine art shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts offers a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers to enjoy, mingle, and participate. Sweeten the moment and purchase art from your favorite artist to make a memory last a lifetime.

5. The Time Machine: Pay homage to the groundbreaking sci-fi work that inspired everything from Dr. Who to Back to the Future – this year’s theme will bring time travel to Laguna Beach. Cuddle up with your sweetheart as The Time Machine comes to life with the tableaux vivants and the musical accompaniments celebrating the world of H.G. Wells.

The 2019 Pageant of the Masters, The Time Machine, offers many reasons to spoil your loved ones with tickets to this summer’s showcase, July 7 - August 31, starting at just $15 per person. 

The 2019 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 - August 31, with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. A Pageant ticket is also a season pass ticket to the Festival of Arts so patrons can enjoy the art show all summer long. 

For more information and to purchase Pageant tickets, visit

Opening night of Driving Miss Daisy at the Playhouse driven by a splendid cast and powerful storytelling


Photos by Ed Krieger

The brilliance is in the details, and the opening performance of Driving Miss Daisy at Laguna Playhouse on Sunday certainly proves that adage to be true. Fine-tuned by an incredible cast of Michael Learned (Daisy Werthan), Lance E. Nichols (Hoke Colburn), and David Nevell (Boolie Werthan), each actor superbly grounds and propels the story over a span of 25 years. 

Together, they form a trifecta of remarkable talent.

Michael Learned won a record four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in The Waltons (1973, 1974, 1976) and Nurse (1982).

Lance E. Nichols is a veteran character actor, best remembered for his starring role as dentist Larry Williams in HBO’s critically acclaimed Treme.

David Nevell returns to Laguna Playhouse, having previously appeared in Twelve Angry Men and The Odd Couple

Opening night three

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(L-R) Michael Learned, Lance E. Nichols, and David Nevell star in the Playhouse production of “Driving Miss Daisy” by Alfred Uhry, directed by Michael Bloom

To most, this is not an unfamiliar story. Playwright Alfred Uhry’s groundbreaking Pulitzer-prize winning story chronicles the decades-long relationship between a strong-willed, well-to-do Jewish woman and her black chauffer in the Jim Crow South. Set against the backdrop of changing world events between the late 1940s and the early 1970s, what begins as a hostile pairing blossoms into a life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries between them.

Driving Miss Daisy has absorbed audiences since its off-Broadway opening in 1987, productions meandering their way from three national tours, to an Oscar-nominated film, to London’s West End, and a Broadway opening – finally – in 2010. 

Clearly, covering a wide range of subjects like aging, race, class, and religion, particularly in an iconic play and Academy Award-winning movie, is tricky, but this production handles it with delicacy and heart.

Opening night Daisy

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Michael Learned as Daisy Werthan

As directed by Michael Bloom, who is the former artistic director of Cleveland Playhouse, it is masterfully orchestrated in all respects. 

Learned has perfected the look, voice, accent, and prickly personality of Daisy as well as the hard shell that barely hides her vulnerability. Measuring every scene with subtle yet profound nuances, Daisy’s brittle nature is reflected in the stiffness of Learned’s movements, and the quavering of her mouth and chin in the last scenes, underscoring that she’s no longer in control of even her own body. I challenge anyone over the age of 60 not to tear up during the scene in which Daisy thinks she’s still a teacher and can’t find her papers. That interaction with Hoke is worth the price of admission. 

Nichols approaches Hoke’s character with confidence and calm resolve, and the humorous jockeying with Miss Daisy is a delight to witness, although one of the best scenes is when they have a disagreement over his need to stop the car to go to the bathroom. He is a strong entity on stage and a formidable counter to Learned.

Opening night in car

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Michael Learned and Lance E. Nichols star in “Driving Miss Daisy,” now playing at the Laguna Playhouse through Jan 27

In one moving scene, Miss Daisy finds out from Hoke that her temple has been bombed, and although she doesn’t want to believe it, when Hoke relates the story of his friend’s father being hanged, there’s a moment of quiet revelation that these two characters are more alike than different. 

Nevell’s “Boolie” is less stereotypical than the son in the movie version, and however disturbed the audience might be about his beliefs, we do care about him. Nevell has great command of his character and he’s a pleasure to watch. One of his best scenes is when he’s trying to talk his mother out of going to the Martin Luther King dinner.

Adding to the overall atmosphere is the minimal setting, which never changes. It serves to emphasize the aging of the cast as time passes. And the benches (standing in for the automobile) make audience members feel as if they’re riding in the car with Miss Daisy and Hoke.

Opening night Boolie

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Michael Learned as Daisy Werthan and David Nevell as Boolie Werthan

Each aspect of the production adds to its authenticity. The entire design team should be commended: Scenic Design by James Fouchard; Lighting Design by Martha Carter; Original Sound Design by Aerick Harbert; Sound Design by Kate Weeker; Original Costume and Wig Design by Jackie Rebok; and Production State Manager Karen Schleifer.

Even though Uhry’s play was first performed in 1987, neither the story or the production is dated in any way. (He has the distinguishing honor of being the only American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, and a Tony.) The moment Learned, Nichols, and Nevell take the stage, they fill the theater with their presence and take us back to marvel again at the timeless impact of Driving Miss Daisy

Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard says, “We are thrilled to ring in 2019 with this powerful and still vitally important play.”

As evidenced by the long-standing ovation on Sunday, it’s a “not to be missed” event.

Driving Miss Daisy will run through Sunday, Jan 27 with performances on Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be added performances today, Jan 15, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan 20, at 5:30p.m., and Thurs, Jan 24, at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from $55 - $85 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-2787.

For complete biographies of the actors and director, go to the Playhouse website listed above.

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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