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New year, new programs: Laguna Beach art programs build upon past successes while expanding offerings for 2024

By THERESA KEEGAN

This story is a part of our Arts section. Visit www.stunewslaguna.com/arts for more arts stories as well as our arts calendars.

As lessons from 2023 slip away, new opportunities shine bright for 2024. The many art programs in Laguna Beach are anticipating building on existing successes and expanding their offerings with new opportunities.

Laguna Dance Festival

The 2024 Laguna Dance Festival will provide behind-the-scenes previews and three nights of world-class performances as dancers from New Zealand and Los Angeles take to the stage at the Laguna Playhouse in February 2024.

This annual festival includes opportunities to interact with the dancers. The New Zealand troupe, Black Grace, features some of that country’s best dancers. It’s known for dancing that is both physical and emotional, with a nod to traditional Samoan movement. The dance is “eloquent, spiritual, athletic and lyrical.” They will offer a free backstage performance on Thursday, Feb. 22 and a full show on Friday, Feb. 23. On Saturday, the troupe will join forces for an evening show that will include a world premiere of a dance choreographed by the festival’s artistic director Jodie Gates in collaboration with the Laguna Beach Music Festival.

The festival concludes with a matinee on Sunday, Feb. 25, featuring the Los Angeles Ballet teaming up with the all-female inspiring Syncopated Ladies.

For more information, click here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Theresa Keegan

The Art-A-Fair show in 2024 is welcoming 30 new artists, with an emphasis on global diversity. Last year’s show, pictured above, included a new layout for better crowd flow.

Laguna Art-A-Fair

The Laguna Art-A-Fair has an exciting summer program scheduled with a global perspective. The group is welcoming more than 30 new artists, selected from a diverse pool of talent worldwide. By March, the artists will be selected, creating a show platform committed to artistic diversity, creativity and cultural perspectives. The festival will also collaborate with an international student exchange program, keeping in line with the organizers’ commitment to nurture young talent from around the globe. This summer, international students will display and have an opportunity to sell their art at the show.

In 2024, Art-A-Fair is also collaborating with the Sawdust Festival to synchronize schedules and offer complimentary access to both events on select days. Summer programming will also introduce an “Artist Talks” series, alongside a fresh roster of event days and special nights dedicated to non-profit initiatives.

A highlight of the summer will be a mid-summer VIP Night, an echo of its renowned Premiere Night, promising an evening filled with art, dance, food, drink and spirited festivity.

For more information, click here.

The Friends of the Laguna Beach Library

The magic of the written word, as well as the wonder of nature, is celebrated by the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library and that tradition is expected to continue throughout 2024.

Springtime will see the return of the 26th Annual John Gardiner Community Poetry Contest, with submissions accepted April 1-30, and there will be a public reading of the winning poems on June 1 at the library.

All year long, the young and young at heart can enjoy the fairy garden adjacent to the library, but for a truly special event swing by the library as it celebrates Earth Day on April 22. There will be storytimes, crafts and special Fairy Garden activities.

A reading program will be offered throughout the summer with fun incentives to celebrate and boost reading for school-aged youth. Ice cream socials and an end-of-summer party are planned.

The popular book shop, open year-round and staffed by dedicated volunteers, will again be offering some of the best finds in town. With a constantly changing inventory, it’s always a good place to stop and with all funds supporting the Friends of the Library’s offerings, it’s a great way to support the community and gain some knowledge at the same time.

For more information, click here.

Laguna Playhouse

Live theater unites an audience in a shared emotional experience – whether it’s laughter, gaining new perspectives or being swept away with lively music – and the Laguna Playhouse’s 2024 line-up provides all that and more. January features two special events. Frank Ferrante will portray the legendary Groucho Marx, in his critically acclaimed one-man show, An Evening with Groucho, which has been called “90 minutes of pure hilarity!” (January 4-7.) Academy Award-winner Richard Dreyfuss takes to the stage on January 7, for an intimate conversation with the Playhouse’s artistic director David Ellenstein. Dreyfuss will talk about his historical career and his new book that addresses the need for civics education. There will also be a book signing. The month wraps up with a special comedy night on January 30.

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The Playhouse’s MainStage Productions series continues in January with one of the greatest musical revues of all time, Ain’t Misbehavin’, (January 24-February 11) directed by Yvette Freeman. Other shows include A Shayna Maidel (March 13-31) which portrays one family’s story of hope and resilience following the Holocaust; the classic French comedy, Tartuffe will take the stage (April 17-May 5) and the MainStage series concludes with a thrilling whodunit Holmes & Watson (May 29-June 16).

Youth Theater productions in 2024 include The Addams Family Musical (May 10-12) and there will be both winter and spring sessions for the youth conservatory programs.

The Playhouse’s major fundraising event, featuring the music of the The Jersey Boys, will be held on March 3.

A special two-night offering of The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron will be held June 26 and 27, and the popular musical, Camelot will be a summer highlight, as it runs from July 24-August 11.

Throughout the year, the Playhouse will also bring in shows that will transfer from North Coast Repertory, as well as produce additional shows.

For more information, click here.

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

The popular Gallery Q at the Susi Q offers artists of all levels an opportunity to have their work publicly displayed

Gallery Q at the Susi Q

Gallery Q at the Susi Q has five shows planned for 2024. The exhibit space, located throughout the Susi Q Center, is an opportunity for artists of all skill levels to show their work, if accepted, in a public arena. Each show includes a lively opening artist reception and, with most exhibits lasting about six weeks, there is ample time to view the displayed work.

The year starts off with the show A Fresh New Look. All media accepted including collage, paintings, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, relief, mosaics, jewelry, textiles, photography, mixed media, digital art and more. The goal, according to organizers, is to encourage area artists to try a new art form. Art will be accepted on January 11, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. or between 5 and 6 p.m. The show will run from January 17 through March 6, with an opening in January 19.

The next show, Beach Cities, will feature art reflecting a love and appreciation of beaches and ocean. It will run from March 20 through May 2. In May, Gallery Q teams up with the Community Art Project to present Visual Creations, which will run from May 15 through July 10. Mid-summer presents an opportunity to celebrate culture through art. The Artful Cultural Journey will be displayed from July 24 through September 15 and in fall, Gallery Q will join the popular Art + Nature programming in conjunction with Laguna Art Museum’s annual Art + Nature Festival. The Gallery Q show will run from October 16 through December 12.

For more information, click here.

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

For 2024, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) is looking to increase its membership 25%, from the current 750 members to 1,000 members. Throughout the year, there will also be an emphasis on educational programs, building upon the group’s long-standing history. (As a nonprofit art organization, LPAPA’s mission is to promote and preserve Laguna’s deeply rooted plein air painting legacy and artistic heritage.) In 2024, LPAPA will be presenting more outdoor painting mentor sessions and workshops, as well as gallery “Plein Talks,” and will again collaborate with LOCA for a series of in-person and live-streamed painting workshops.

The LPAPA Gallery will have shows throughout the year, starting with their annual Signature Showcase which features work created by those who’ve achieved the juried Signature Membership level. The 20th Best of Plein Air juried art show will be displayed in March, while the annual Waterworks will decorate the walls in May. A solo show of John Cosby’s work will be shown in June. (Cosby is a signature artist, founding member and LPAPA’s artist-in-residence.) Small works are featured in the Less is More show in July, and the annual From Dusk to Dawn juried show, featuring works painted at night, will be displayed at both the gallery and City Hall in August.

Membership in LPAPA is open to artists at all experience levels and living anywhere in the world, as well as supporting members who help the group sustain and grow the education programs. All members enjoy special pricing on events, workshops and LPAPA merchandise.

For more information, click here.

Sister Cities

The town will be alive with music when the Laguna Beach Sister Cities celebrates the 17th Annual Fête de la Musique on Saturday, June 15 from 12-6 p.m. Musicians interested in performing can submit an application form through the Sister Cities website.

For more information, click here.

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live!

Live! at the Museum features chamber music at the Laguna Art Museum, including the Duo Tinkerhess, who performed in December in the museum’s main gallery

Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Live!, which presents live music throughout the community, will continue its popular programming in 2024 with some modifications and some additional educational programming.

Live! at the Museum, the much-loved monthly chamber music program at the Laguna Art Museum, will now be offered the first Sunday of every month from 1-2 p.m. Popular musicians will be returning, and some new musicians will be added to the line-up.

The free young children’s program Live! Music Matters at the Laguna Beach Library has been so popular that the programs will now be offered weekly from January through May. The group is also working to bring musical assemblies into local schools for 2024.

The 22nd Annual Laguna Beach Music Festival will be held February 12-18 and will feature violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. The programs, held in conjunction with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, will be performed at the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Playhouse.

Laguna Beach Live!’s Jazz Wednesdays series starts a little later this year, February 28, and will run through May. Concerts will be at [seven degrees] and will feature popular jazz musicians on the West Coast, including Maiya Sykes, Matt Johnson and The New Jet Set, Teka, Black Market Reverie, Raffia Thomas Quintet and concluding with Grammy winner Bijon Watson and friends.

Laguna Live! will also host the annual Bluegrass and Barbecue on June 9 at the Laguna College of Art + Design.

For more information, click here.

Third Street Writers

Third Street Writers will be kicking off 2024 with a new collaborative project in response to the We Need to Talk phone booth art installation by Candice Brokenshire and Julie Setterholm. The project, which will be launched in March, will feature an audio installation of writings created in reaction to the phone booth installation and the theme of the environment. The group will continue to publish the online lit journal, Third Street Review.

The group’s weekly public writing workshops, held Monday mornings at the Susi Q Center will include a new format that includes “Member Monday” talks, writing critiques, guest instructors and exploration of various aspects of the craft of writing. Third Street will also continue to host its popular open mic reading events.

For more information, click here.

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Photo by Mike Tauber

The Recreation Center in South Laguna will be the site of multiple classes offered by LOCA for all ages

LOCA Arts Education

LOCA is thrilled to announce its 2024 workshops will be in a new format and at a new location – The Laguna Beach Recreation Center in South Laguna.

“We’re finding students, both kids and adults, are seeking to build on skills over several class sessions, rather than just one event,” said LOCA education coordinator Sherry Bullard. “So, we are now presenting classes in a series. This allows students time to perfect each technique one at a time and create a ‘toolbox’ of skills to work with.”

January workshops in South Laguna include “Clay Building for Kids,” which is a series of six after-school classes, “Watercolors in Nature” for adults, in three sessions, and “Oil Painting Landscapes,” whereby the series builds on composition first, then value, then color mixing and lastly brushstrokes.

Another new series is “Art on the Wild Side” for kids and adults. Participants will learn about native plant and animal species, then expand knowledge by creating drawings, paintings and collages of them in eight sessions.

“We can’t wait to work together in our new classrooms in South Laguna,” said Bullard. “There is great lighting, beautiful views and free parking.”

For more information, click here.

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Photo by Brad Elligood

Blues guitarist Chris Cain will be performing at the Laguna Beach Cultural Center as part of its Blues programming in 2024

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center

Laguna may be known for the blues in its sky and ocean, but 2024 will bring the blues music format to town. In addition to the art shows, film screenings and informative discussions that Laguna Beach Cultural Center already hosts, it will be adding blues programming to its roster in 2024. The center will be a memorable Orange County haven for national blues legends as they tour the country. Its intimate listening room, stellar acoustics and state-of-the-art sound system will create memorable live events for performers and the audience.

The first two music legends featured include Guy King on February 28 and Chris Cain on March 12. King got his start in Chicago, with blues singer Willie Kent’s band The Gents. They played together for six years, and ultimately King became Kent’s bandleader before starting his solo career. King is known for his eclectic style and unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb. He’s been met with national acclaim.

Cain is considered a musician’s musician and he was inspired by the greats – B.B. King, Albert King and Ray Charles – but is widely credited for creating his own sound. His guitar playing is energetic, feeling and unexpected and when coupled with his gruff vocals, brings the audience closer to him. As B.B. King said of him, “Chris Cain? Now that boy can play the guitar!”

“The LBCAC is thrilled to welcome these International blues greats to our stage early in 2024,” said Rick Conkey, founder of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, “and then continuing to shine a spotlight on this influential art form through our exciting programming the rest of the year.”

For more information, click here.

Laguna Beach Arts Alliance

The Arts Alliance, which is an umbrella group for almost two dozen art groups in town, will continue to serve as an advocate for the arts. LBAA looks forward to hosting its 16th Annual Art Star Awards at the Festival of Arts grounds on Friday, April 26. Last year’s event featured a re-envisioned pop-up festival format showcasing visual and performing arts by LBAA member organizations such as the Laguna Beach Community Concert Band, LCAD, Laguna Dance Festival, the Pageant of the Masters, No Square Theatre and LPAPA, as well as demonstrations by local artists. The 2024 event will build on this well-received event concept as well as continue to honor the achievements of Laguna Beach nonprofit arts organizations and individual artists.

For more information, click here.

Festival of Arts

Expect an enhanced patron experience and expanded outreach efforts from Festival of Arts in 2024. This exceptional celebration of art and culture is a main stay of the summer art experience in Laguna Beach with its juried art exhibit, high-quality musical entertainment and the Pageant of the Masters show featuring a live re-creation of classic art pieces.

The 2024 Pageant of the Masters theme, À La Mode: The Art of Fashion, will transport audiences through history’s most iconic fashion trends. The show will incorporate diverse influences, from classic painters like John Singer Sargent and Edouard Manet to contemporary trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, said David Perry, Festival of Arts president. The integration of three-dimensional works, sketches and movie posters from legendary Hollywood designer Edith Head will add a dynamic and surprising element to the show. There will be an enhanced commitment to utilizing technology and showcasing pieces never before presented in the pageant to ensure a truly unforgettable experience for the audience.

The Festival, as always, is dedicated to presenting fine art and enhancing exposure for the 120 selected exhibiting artists, many of whom will be first-time exhibitors. There will also be new special events, art classes and musical entertainment to engage and inspire attendees. The Festival will be nurturing up-and-coming talent through the Emerging Artists Program, which allows college-level art programs in Orange County to showcase their students’ artworks and expose them to the workings of a world-class juried art festival.

Perry said the goal is to continue to create broad-based interest and participation in their summer Festival by seamlessly blending traditional programs with contemporary elements and at the same time preserving the historical essence of the festivities.

For more information, click here.

This story is a part of our Arts section. Visit www.stunewslaguna.com/arts for more arts stories as well as our arts calendars.

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