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Spirit Possession: Celebration of Ghanaian Faces, African Culture & Heritage at LBCAC



When I found I had crossed that line [to freedom], I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was glory over everything. The sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven. –Harriet Tubman, after crossing the Pennsylvania border in 1849

Textile artist Allyson Allen memorialized Tubman’s words on a quilt entitled “Jo’s Harriet” in 2012. The quote surrounds Tubman, who dances under the sun, arms stretched skyward into an open field ahead.

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Jo’s Harriet” (2012). Machine pieced and quilted. Cotton and ethnic prints. Glass bead and cowrie shell embellishments.

The quilt is part of Spirit Possession, a three-person show on display at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) through July. Allen is joined by photographers Tom Lamb and Thomas Fynn.

The exhibition intends to draw attention to Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, which happened on June 19, 1865. A companion show of the same name is also currently on exhibit at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana through June 29. The same exhibition showed in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, in May.

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Courtesy of OCCCA

(L-R) Tom Lamb, Allyson Allen and Thomas Fynn at OCCCA opening of “Spirit Possession.” In the background is Allen’s “75% HEArt – Helping Earth Art” (2024).

Spirit Possession puts an intimate and modern face on West Africa and the origins of the slave trade. Fynn, a documentary photographer from Ghana, has visually recorded his country’s tragic history alongside its rich culture and beautiful people.

The transatlantic slave trade from West Africa to the Americas lasted centuries. For nearly 150 years, Ghana was its epicenter. Approximately 10 million enslaved people were transported in the transatlantic slave trade at rates of up to 100,000 persons per year. The remnants of that haunting period still exist in dozens of forts and castles built by Europeans between 1482 and 1786. Cape Coast, east of Accra, contains more than 30 dungeons where slaves were held by Europeans before transport to the United States, South America and the Caribbean. Images of these dungeons, as well as “The Door of No Return” (the last place Ghanaians would touch their homeland), are on display in this exhibit.

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Photo by Tom Lamb

A visitor looks at Lamb’s images of Ghana’s holding cells for African women enslaved in the transatlantic slave trade

Since the mid-1970s, Fynn’s photography has celebrated cultural heritage, high-profile personalities, Ghanaian national events, eco-tourism and everyday modern life. His portraits capture the essence of his subjects. His landscape and architectural pieces portray a country both grappling with its own past and honoring its many rich traditions.

Through Fynn’s photographs, viewers can discover Ghana’s many traditional festivals. The annual Aboakyer (Deer Hunting) Festival, celebrated by the Simpa (now known as Winneba) people, occurs the first Saturday in May. The Homowo (“Hooting at hunger”) Festival began after a period of famine following a lack of seasonal rainfall to nourish the crops. The annual Feok Festival, occurring in northeastern Ghana, celebrates the victory of the Builsa warriors in the late 1800s when they fought off invaders and avoided enslavement. The Simpa Aboakyir Festival marks the migration of the Simpa people in the central region from the ancient Western Sudan Empire. And the Abangye Festival marks an annual activity in pre-colonial times when men went into the bush, singing and chanting, to cut sticks to fence the abode of their gods.

Spirit Possession provides both a beautiful way to explore another country’s cultural practices and painful history while reflecting on our nation’s own complicated and shameful past.

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Thomas Fynn poses with a wall of his photographs at OCCCA depicting various Ghanaian people and festivals

Lamb met Fynn on his first visit to Ghana in 1993. Lamb was part of an international design charrette team that intended to create sustainable tourism for the central region, including the first canopy walkway in Africa. He returned in 2002 and, most recently, in 2023. Some of Lamb’s early work can be seen in the OCCCA show. All the images at LBCAC are from 2023.

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Multi-day Juneteenth observations planned for Laguna Beach will include movies, panels, concerts


Juneteenth celebrations are spreading throughout Laguna Beach this year, with a focus on the cultural elements of this observation.

“Juneteenth is much larger than the celebration of Emancipation,” said Rick Conkey, executive director of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center and coordinator of most of the events. “It’s a celebration of humanity.”

The events include films, panel discussions, concerts and a photography exhibit, all with a focus on the impact of Juneteenth within the community and society. The federal holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the country. (It observes the day when Union Army General Gordon Granger told slaves in Galveston and throughout Texas, they were free. It was 1865, more than two and a half years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.)

The selected events for the Laguna Beach observations address the current and long-term implications of racism in our society.

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Courtesy of Dorothy Randall Gray

Writer and activist Dorothy Randall Gray will be participating in a panel during Laguna Beach’s Juneteenth celebrations

On the actual holiday, June 19, there is a free screening of Summer of Soul at the Cultural Arts Center and then more involved programming follows.

“A lot of fear, anger, concern and grievances have shaken this country to the core,” said Dorothy Randall Gray, a writer and activist who will lead the discussion panel following the showing of Ted Hawkins – Amazing Grace at the Rivian on June 20.

Hawkins was a talented musician who grew up in abusive situations and started singing while in reform school at age 12. Despite his many talents, he could never hold onto success and spent much of his adult life as a busker on a milk crate in Venice Beach.

Randall Gray says the societal hurdles that affect so many African Americans are only increasing and it’s imperative that people educate themselves about what is happening, and not just on Juneteenth.

“Whatever equity, balance was sought to be put into play is being uprooted every day,” she said. “Voting rights that were initiated after (President Lyndon B.) Johnson are being demolished. History is being rewritten.”

She cites redistricting that splits up politically powerful black communities, relocation of polling places, laws that prohibit anyone giving water to people waiting in line to vote. The rewriting of history books in Florida, where slavery is described as benefitting the slaves and in Texas, where slavery is being redefined, frightens her.

“I think these discussions are more timely than ever,” said Randall Gray. “You have this on-going denigration of power. There has to be a recognition this is happening.”

As a writer she conducts workshops designed to empower people and admits the past year has been overwhelming. War, the lies that are being embraced as truth and attacks on institutions that support black culture, initially left her unable to formulate a workshop.

Ultimately, she created her current series “Writing and Resistance in a Broken World.” She connects people by making the political personal. Instead of just telling her students to write about gun violence she gave each student a shell casing and asked them to write about it.

“I just want people to really think about and connect with issues that are larger than themselves,” she said. “There has to be a recognition of all that’s happened (and happening.)”

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Courtesy of Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas with Sister Leola and the Gospel Ambassadors will perform an acapella concert Friday, June 21 in Laguna Beach at the Cultural Arts Center

In addition to the screening and panel discussion, Laguna’s Juneteenth celebration will include a concert with two-time Grammy nominated musician Earl Thomas, who says he is currently in his “third act” of life. As a successful songwriter and touring musician, he will be performing acapella on Friday with Sister Leola and The Gospel Ambassadors.

“I always stayed away from gospel,” said Thomas. “It was too much brimstone.” But as he looked into his ancestral background – he’s a direct descendent of slaves in Tennessee – he gained a new perspective.

“The music they made was really their only free expression,” he said. “Once I saw it from that perspective, I felt it necessary to continue this tradition – it’s continuing the speech of my forebearers.”

While they are just back from a London tour, and will be performing in Norway in August, Thomas is thrilled the Laguna Beach concert at the Cultural Arts Center will be acapella.

“I love singing acapella. This is the way I learned these songs,” he said. “No instruments, just voices and the body singing. It’s all traditional. We’re using the voices as instruments.”

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3340 Recital Series

City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

Coast Film & Music Festival

Community Art Project (CAP)

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

First Thursdays Art Walk

Friends of the Laguna Beach Library


Gallery Q at THE SUSI Q

Laguna Art-A-Fair

Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC)

Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

Laguna College of Art + Design

Laguna Concert Band

Laguna Craft Guild

Laguna Dance Festival

Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association


LOCA Arts Education

Music History Hall Foundation

Neighborhood Congregational Church

No Square Theatre

Pacific Vocal Series

Sawdust Art Festival

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts

The Honarkar Foundation

Third Street Writers

Visit Laguna Beach

The sun sets on Sunset Serenades

Photos by Scott Brashier

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The Friday, June 14 performance by Jessica Fichot ended the Sunset Serenades series for 2024. It drew a big crowd, and all those in attendance seemed charmed by the group’s eclectic style. Music at the Park kicks off on July 7 at Bluebird Park.

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Los Angeles-based chanteuse/songwriter Jessica Fichot drew from her multi-ethnic French/Chinese/American upbringing. Her music takes the listener on a twisting journey out of the French chanson tradition, into the land of 1940s Shanghai jazz, gypsy swing, international folk, and into the wilderness of her imagination.

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Chloe Feoranzo

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Fans enjoyed the performance

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(L-R) Tom Moose (guitar), Alexis Soto Jr. (upright bass), Jessica Fichot (vocals, accordion, toy piano) and Chloe Feoranzo (clarinet, sax)

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How to get there


Funds for this calendar are provided by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.


LCAD MFA Work on Display: Reflections of Resilience at LAM and Emerging Masters at LCAD Gallery (Part II)


On April 26, we introduced you to three of this year’s Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) MFA graduates (click here for that story). Today, we bring you the final four. Now through August 25, Laguna Art Museum (LAM) is showcasing a rich sampling of work by these up-and-coming artists. An additional exhibition, Emerging Masters, opens this week at the LCAD Gallery on Ocean Avenue.

Reflections of Resilience is an apt title for students grappling with today’s shifting world. COVID disrupted their education. Rising housing costs put the American dream out of reach for most of them. Climate change threatens their childhood homes, while others have been displaced from their homeland by politically oppressive regimes.

The graduates we previously profiled focused their artistic lens on interrogating standards of beauty (Janaise Sanchez), confronting death (Ryanne Phillips) and exploring vulnerability (Amber Foote).

Their contemporaries profiled today investigate notions of home, displacement and climate change. Some accomplished this through architecture, both structural (Kevin Yaun) and physiological (Eric Theodore). Others through symbolism (Sara Khakpour) and magical realism (Cara Baxter). But the umbrella of resilience binds the thematic strands of their work together.

The graduates invited Stu News inside their studios and inside their process, and their advisor – Professor Peter Zokosky – joined me to talk about their work.

Kevin Yaun reimagines the definition of home

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Photo by Ryan Howard

Kevin Yaun at work in his studio

Home may no longer hold the same meaning it once did. Especially for young adults just entering the work force, realizing the American dream isn’t as attainable as it once was.

But they’re not all wholly discouraged by the idea. Instead, some are choosing to reinvent the notion of home. Rather than planting backyard gardens, this generation invests in potted plants they can take with them from place to place.

Searching for Home sprang from Kevin Yaun’s nomadic lifestyle. Prior to entering LCAD, Yaun worked as a graphic designer and traveled the world, living in Amsterdam, Singapore, London, Thailand and elsewhere. “Travel allowed me to experience living in a lot of different places and learn what I thought was important,” he said.

But settling in Southern California made Yaun realize that even as we yearn for home, it’s not always financially feasible. “I’m looking at architecture from the point of view of a serial renter,” he said, noting the daunting reality of home ownership. “How can I showcase that idea in a way that shows positivity? There’s still a lot of beauty in Southern California, so it’s finding that balance.”

He strikes that balance in his use of light. Are the glowing windows an inviting promise of comfort and security? Or are they a mocking reminder of The Great Gatsby’s unattainable dream?

Incorporating elements of Rothko and invoking ideas from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”), Yaun’s paintings pay homage to architecture while indicting the systems that conspire to keep swaths of our population from obtaining it.

“Like Carroll’s book, which was a sequel for Alice in Wonderland, ‘Twice as Fast’ was intended as a sequel for ‘Houseplant.’ It shows a ghosted figure, engulfed by traffic lights, and even further disconnected from the distant homes. I chose soft warm sunset lighting to create a colorful but haunting mood,” Yaun wrote.

“Kevin already has a gallery. He’s got shows lined up. He’s achieving the kind of success that validates being in one place for a while and finding a home,” Zokosky said.

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

“Twice as Fast,” oil on canvas, 2024

Cara Baxter’s whimsical waning world

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Cara Baxter inside her studio with “Prophet” (2023)

Growing up on the floodplains of Eastern Texas gave Cara Baxter a front row seat to climate change. Intense hurricanes have battered that region for decades. They increase in both frequency and intensity each year, even as many Texan residents resist the science of climate change. Witnessing what’s happened to her homeland gave rise to Baxter’s latest series and the subject of her LCAD thesis, The Flooded World.

But Baxter is an optimist, and it shows in her paintings. Using mythical figures like foxes, bears and snakes, Baxter responds to her anxieties about our climate and her own loneliness using the language of fantasy. “I graduated from college just as the stay-at-home orders happened. It’s been a journey, processing that loneliness and anxiety while remaining hopeful, which is why I love the title, Reflections of Resilience,” she said.

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Experience the magic of Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival, June 28 through September 1

The enchanting Sawdust Art Festival returns for its 58th season, June 28th through September 1. Nestled in the heart of Laguna Beach, Sawdust Art Festival transforms into a unique artist village where visitors can shop for handcrafted treasures along sawdust-covered paths, enjoy lively musical performances on three entertainment stages and indulge in complimentary art classes or mesmerizing glass-blowing demonstrations. Sawdust Art Festival celebrates the arts in all forms, a diverse array of artistic mediums created by more than 180 local Laguna Beach artists, makers and musicians.

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Photos by Mary Hurlbut

2023 Sawdust Festival

“I am honored to be among the many artists who have contributed to this multi-generational art festival, sharing our work with the community amidst this ancient eucalyptus forest,” said Andrew Soliz, president of the Sawdust Art Festival board of directors. “On behalf of the artists and entertainers who came before us, and all of us present today, I extend a hand of friendship to everyone attending the 58th Annual Sawdust Festival,” Soliz added.

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Visitors enjoy the art (2023)

In addition to immersive artistic experiences, the Sawdust Art Festival offers a feast for the senses with the legendary Sawdust Saloon and four outdoor dining venues. This year marks the highly anticipated return of Chef Rebollar’s Taco Loco, a Pacific Coast Highway staple for 37 years before closing in 2023. Attendees can also enjoy a variety of specialty coffees, craft beer and Jackson Family Wines.

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Just one example of the treasures to be found at the Sawdust

Sawdust Art Festival offers a vibrant blend of experiences for all ages. Live music all day, every day, featuring local musicians, known as the heart and soul of Laguna Beach. Tickets start at $5 for children and $12 for adults and can be purchased by clicking here.

One legendary grove of eucalyptus trees. Sixty-six days of pure creativity. And endless opportunities for making favorite memories. This is where art meets magic. This iconic gathering brings together art lovers of all types for a summer celebration of art, music, food and community. Come for the magic, stay for the memories. See you at Sawdust.

The Sawdust will run from Friday, June 28 – Sunday, Sept. 1, 2024. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday – Saturday. The Sawdust is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. For more information, visit

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FOA classes and workshops

Youth Art Classes

Fridays-Sundays, 12:30 p.m.

July 5 – August 25

Bring out that creative spark in your young artist at the Youth Arts Classes this summer at the Festival of Arts. Kids ages 5-12 will enjoy art classes taught by professional artists in mixed-media, ceramics, sculpture and more. Meanwhile, parents will have free time to view the artwork on display throughout the Festival grounds.

Art instructors will share some of their creative techniques in a fun and friendly environment that will inspire your kids to come back every week.

For a full listing of the class schedule and to register, click here.

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Photos courtesy of FOA

Youth Art Classes – Ceramics

Teen and Adult Art Classes

Fridays-Sundays at 3 p.m.

July 5 – August 25

Let your creativity run wild this summer in Laguna Beach! Discover your inner artist at the Festival of Art’s Adult and Teen Art Workshops! Award-winning talented artists will lead you step-by-step through the process of creating your own masterpiece.

These classes are perfect for vacationers and locals alike looking to try something new, have fun, and soak in the artistic atmosphere.

For a full listing of the class schedule and to register, click here.

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Teen and Adult Art Classes

Prints and Pinots Art Classes

Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

July 11 – August 22

Create a beautiful one-of-a-kind print!

Using a variety of colorful handmade papers and hand-cut relief blocks, students will learn the basics of monoprint, collage and overprint techniques in this creative printmaking class.

Beginners and all levels are invited; take home your finished masterpiece.

For a full listing of the class schedule and to register, click here.

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Prints and Pinot Art Classes

Paint and Sip Art Classes

Fridays at 8:30 p.m.

July 12 – August 23

Uncork your creativity this summer at the Festival of Arts.

Enjoy a fun painting workshop, while surrounded by beautiful art. Learn easy painting step-by-step processes, as taught by Nikita Young.

Beginners and all levels are invited; take home your finished masterpiece.

For a full listing of the class schedule and to register, click here

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Paint and Sip Art Classes

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Festival of Arts announces 2024 Summer Concert Series

From July 3 through August 30, join Festival of Arts (FOA) for live music on the Festival’s Concert Stage. This year’s concert line-up features Grammy winner Poncho Sanchez; jazz all-stars Grace Kelly and Gregg Karukas; Eric Clapton-approved tribute band, The Cream of Clapton, funk legend Greg Adams and more. Concerts are free with Festival admission.

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Photos courtesy of FOA

Greg Adams and East Bay Soul perform July 6

The daily schedule for Festival of Arts Summer Concert Series is now available online by clicking here.

All concerts are free with Festival admission.

For select concerts, limited “nightclub” seating is available in the reserved section for an additional fee. To reserve seats, click here.

Wed., July 3, 5:30-7 p.m., Street Corner Renaissance, Acapella

Fri., July 5, 5:30-7 p.m., Terry Wollman, R&B/Jazz

Sat., July 6, 1-2:30 p.m., Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, Jazz Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 6, 5:30-7 p.m., Missiles of October, Blues, $45

Sun., July 7, 1-2:30 p.m., The Afro Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, $20

Sun., July 7, 5:30-7 p.m., Melanie Taylor, R&B/Jazz, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 8, 5:30-7 p.m., Shawn Jones, Rock/Blues, Americana, $30

Tues., July 9, 5:30-7 p.m., The 133 Band, Rock, $30

Wed., July 10, 5:30-7 p.m., Kay-Ta Crypto String Society, Jazz, $30

Thurs., July 11, 5:30-7 p.m., Téka, Brazilian Jazz, $50

Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate, sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery

Fri., July 12, 5:30-7 p.m., The Cream of Clapton Band, Rock/Blues, Tremendous Tributes, $45

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Grace Kelly performs July 13

Sat., July 13, 1-2:30 p.m., Grace Kelly, Jazz, Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 13, 5:30-7 p.m., Josh Nelson, Jazz, $45

Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano, Sponsored by City of Hope

Sun., July 14, 12-3 p.m., Family Art Day, Special Event

Sun., July 14, 5:30-7 p.m., Paris Chansons, French, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 15, 5:30-7 p.m., Miskey Mountain Boys, Bluegrass, Americana, $30

Tues., July 16, 5:30-7 p.m., Slim Man, R&B/Jazz, $30

Wed., July 17, 5:30-7 p.m., Laguna Community Jazz Band, Jazz, $30

Thurs., July 18, 5:30-7 p.m., The New Jet Set, Jazz – Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery, $50

Fri., July 19, 5:30-7 p.m., The Eagles Allstars, Country Rock, Tremendous Tributes, $45

Sat., July 20,1-2:30 p.m., BP.M. (Brian Bromberg, Paul Brown, Michael Paulo), Jazz Concerts on the Green, $60

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John Proulx Trio performs on July 20

Sat., July 20, 5:30-7 p.m., John Proulx Trio, Jazz, Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano

Sponsored by City of Hope, $45

Sun., July 21, 1-2:30 p.m., Laguna Community Concert Band, Jazz

Sun., July 21, 5:30-7 p.m., Raffia Thomas, R&B/Soul, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 22, 5:30-7 p.m., Buzz Campbell and the Heartaches, Rockabilly Americana, $30

Tues., July 23, 5:30-7 p.m., Quarteto Nuevo, Jazz, $30

Wed., July 24, 5:30-7 p.m., Beth and Steve Wood, Folk/Rock, $30

Thurs., July 25, 5:30-7 p.m., Spencer Day, Jazz – Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery, $50

Fri., July 26, 5:30-7 p.m., Tony Guerrero – A Tribute to Chuck Mangione, Jazz Tremendous Tributes, $45

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Poncho Sanchez – July 27

Sat., July 27, 1-2:30 p.m., Poncho Sanchez, Latin Jazz, Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 27, 5:30-7 p.m., Scott Wilkie Trio, Jazz, Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano

Sponsored by City of Hope, $45

Sun., July 28,12-3 p.m., Miskey Mountain Boys, Bluegrass

Sun., July 28, 5:30-7 p.m., Lia Booth, Jazz Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 29, 5:30-7 p.m., Eugene Edwards Band, Country/Rock, Americana, $30

Tues., July 30, 5:30-7 p.m., “Listen to the Seventies” – Folk/Rock, $30

Wed., July 31, 5:30-7 p.m., Opera Laguna, Opera, $30

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Laguna Live! presents Live! at the Museum on July 7

Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m.

Live! Music Matters, free children’s program returns

Laguna Beach Live! is delighted to announce another series of their free, children’s program “Live! Music Matters.” An interactive music class for ages up to 6 years old, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill leads the sessions while attendees sing, dance, and play child friendly percussion instruments.

​The Tuesday morning sessions are held at Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St.

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

Taso Comanescu and Anastasia Malliaras – July 7

Sunday, July 7, 1 p.m.

Live! at the Museum

Laguna Live! welcomes Taso Comanescu and Anastasia Malliaras guitar and soprano to Laguna Art Museum.

American guitarist Taso Comanescu is a colorful performer full of subtle nuance and strong musicianship. His programs present a variety of repertoire that creatively captures his audiences. He is an in-demand solo performer, ensemble artist and instructor whose accomplishments have taken him around the globe.

Soprano Anastasia Malliaras is gracefully exploring new depths of her artistry and voice. With a beautiful blend of warm and bright colors, her timbre is distinguishable, and vocal tone elegant and natural. Her voice has led her to play the classic operatic roles of Nannetta, Olympia, Zerbinetta, Marie and Frasquita, to name a few. In 2017, she was seen in the world premiere of the opera Tesla where she portrayed the role of Marie Astor Hampton.

Advance reservations are recommended. Come early to enjoy the art.

For tickets, click here.

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LBCAC adds Juneteenth events

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Summer of Soul – June 19

Wednesday, June 19, 5 p.m.

Summer of Soul

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary-part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.

Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten – until recently.

Summer of Soul shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

To RSVP, click here.

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Ted Hawkins: “Amazing Grace” documentary – June 20

Thursday, June 20, 6-8:30 p.m.

Screening of Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace

Join LBCAC at The Rivian Theater for an unforgettable Juneteenth Celebration screening of Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace in partnership with the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center.

This rare 1994 documentary is a cherished gem that not only entertains but also uplifts the soul. It beautifully captures the remarkable odyssey of a man who stayed authentic to his music and himself until the very end. While waiting for the day, his narrative graces the silver screen; this film continues to ignite inspiration in all who experience it, underscoring the enduring values of resilience, dedication and an unwavering devotion to the art of music-making.

Following the screening, prepare to be mesmerized by the captivating storytelling performance by Dorothy Randall Gray. Join LBCAC in commemorating Juneteenth with this heartwarming celebration of music, storytelling and compassionate discussion.

Featured Speakers:

Rick Conkey – Artivist & Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center Founder/CEO

Dorothy Randall Gray – Poet Provocateur and Bestselling Author

Pastor Rodrick Echols – Neighborhood Congregational Church

Cadillac Zack – Southern California’s premier blues music promoter

Grant funding made possible by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

To RSVP, click here.

Courtesy of

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Earl Thomas and Sister Leola – June 21

The Sky and Ocean Aren’t the Only Way to See Inspiring Blues in Laguna in 2024

Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.

Juneteenth Weekend Celebration Concert

The 2x Grammy-nominated Blues Ambassador Earl Thomas featuring Sister Leola

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) has stepped up to preserve one of America’s most powerful and influential art forms, by providing a memorable OC haven for national touring blues legends.

The LBCAC offers their intimate listening room, stellar acoustics, state-of-the-art sound system and a host town recognized as one of the nation’s leading arts-centric resort destinations.

Hailing from the realm of blues stardom, the illustrious 2x Grammy-nominated Ambassador, Earl Thomas, has graced the music industry for more than three decades with his unparalleled voice and style. With a staggering 21 recordings under his belt, he stands as a beacon of influence and productivity in the blues genre, captivating audiences worldwide. Not only has he garnered acclaim from legends like Etta James, Solomon Burke and Sir Tom Jones through his songwriting prowess, but he has now embarked on a new musical journey back to his gospel roots.

In what he dubs his “third act,” Thomas seamlessly blends his legendary status with a modern-day innovation, solidifying his place among the greats of African American gospel. Thomas continues to reign supreme, a living legend and a pioneer in his own right.

For tickets, click here.

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Cultural Arts presents Music in the Park, kicking off July 7

Music in the Park

Sundays, July 7 – August 18, 5-7 p.m.

Bluebird Park, 772 Cress St.

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Courtesy of

Great North Special performs at Bluebird Park on July 7

Music in the Park is a free public concert series held Sunday evenings in July and August, at Bluebird Park. Concerts start at 5 p.m. Set-up is not permitted before 3 p.m. No dogs are allowed at Bluebird Park (LBMC 6.16.020). No smoking (LBMC 7.40.030). No display or sale of merchandise (LBMC 18.04.015). Low-seating beach chairs are encouraged. Alcohol is permitted for guests 21 or older, but must be accompanied by a full meal. Solicitation of any kind is not permitted at city events.


–July 7 – The Great North Special

(Psych-rock, Country, Blues and Funk-soul)

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Courtesy of

Tabu will be featured on July 7

–July 14 – TABU


–July 21 – The Shagwells

(‘60s and ‘70s hits)

–July 28 – Upstream

(Caribbean, Reggae, Calypso, Steel Drum)

–August 4 – 133 Band

–August 11 – Betamaxx

(1980s cover)

–August 18 – The Tina Turner Tribute featuring Debby Holiday


This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For questions, contact Cultural Arts at 949.497.3311.

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LAM introduces Neighborhood Nights

LAM introduces Art Museum Neighborhood Nights

All summer long, locals can take advantage of a free night at the Laguna Art Museum (LAM) with a raffle, tours, local food and drinks (LAM is collaborating with local spots), and activities for the entire family.

Each part of the Laguna community has their own night.

Free nights (5-7 p.m.)

Thursday, June 20 – North Laguna

Thursday, July 18 – The Village

Thursday, Aug. 15 – South Laguna

Thursday, Sept. 12 – Top of the World

A Summer of Fun and Learning, begins in June

Throughout summer 2024, LAM will be welcoming kids into the museum for expanded learning and creative opportunities that can be found only at Laguna Art Museum. Starting off with their Summer Camp, they will announce new phases of LAM Kids Summer on this page. Stay tuned and make sure you register!

For classes, click here.

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Photos courtesy of LAM

Kids Camp runs through July 29

LAM Kids Summer Fridays

Drop in and create masterpieces of your own. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. every summer Friday, their Studio/Lab is open to all kids who want to explore their creativity and participate in hands-on art projects. Members of the Education Staff will be onsite to help kids find inspiration and create their works of art.

Drop ins are free with museum admission.

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Courtesy of LAM

Adam Neeley, “Modern Alchemy” continues through July 29

–Modern Alchemy: The Fusion of Art and Nature in the Jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Adam Neeley is an award-winning artist/jeweler who transforms precious metals and gemstones into wearable art by traditional goldsmith techniques and modern technologies. His unique designs are inspired by the vast variety of shapes and colors found in the natural world. In fact, it was his childhood interest in collecting rocks that eventually drew Neeley to the master goldsmiths in Italy, where he would study the art of jewelry making. Eventually he developed his own style and techniques of goldwork that have won him international acclaim, as well as prestigious awards across the jewelry industry.


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Courtesy of LAM

“Skyward” by Eric Theodore

Reflections of Resilience through August 25

Reflections of Resilience presents a sampling of the artwork from the 2024 Master of Fine Art graduates from Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD). Remarkable artists are attracted to LCAD because of the understanding that time-honored skill joined with personal contemporary concerns can create vital, memorable art.

LAM is delighted to introduce Cara Baxter, Jason Dowd, Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

On the Edge through September 2

Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

Joan and Jack Quinn represent a crucial moment in art history, as Los Angeles came to symbolize an innovative and prolific brand of creative freedom. On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection, explores the experimental approaches to minimalism and new materials from the 1960s through 2000s, the diversification of practices and makers, and the vital role the Quinns played in both documenting and contributing to the story of Los Angeles art. Revealed is a period of artmaking that is pivotal to understanding current practices and the west coast mentality, and collectively exudes a unique spirit of anti-conformity and the “California Cool” ethos.

Thursday, June 20, 9-10:30 a.m.

New Moms at the Museum

Navigating the waters of new parenthood? Join other new moms at the museum to engage and enjoy the art museum in the quiet hour before the museum opens to the public. You will learn from industry professionals about postnatal recovery and baby care – and return home with practical tips to put into practice.

Note: Bring a yoga mat for your baby to lie on and a comfy blanket for extra warmth.

This program is for pregnant moms to one year post-partum, and they welcome new dads. Small bites and beverage are included.

Advance tickets are ecommended. For tickets, click here.

Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18, Children under 12: Free.

Art Workshop – June 21

Friday, June 21, 4-7 p.m.

Art Workshop, Figure Drawing

Join Peter Zokosky, Chair of MFA Drawing + Painting at LCAD, for a figure drawing workshop. Learn the basics and build on your knowledge of how to draw the human form with a live model. Supplies are included with purchase of a ticket.

Class Dates: June 21, July 19

Please note that the model will be nude.

Advance tickets are recommended. Adults (18+) only. Museum members: $30, Non-members: $45. For tickets, click here.

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LPAPA Gallery presents solo exhibition by John Cosby

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John Crosbys-Gallery Solo Exhibition runs through July 1

Photos courtesy of LPAPA

John Cosby, Artist in Residence

John Cosby “Artist in Residence” LPAPA Gallery Solo Exhibition

Looking West, a Portrait of the Places I Love

The LPAPA Gallery is proud to present a special “Artist in Residence” Solo Exhibition featuring major works, and plein air studies, created by Signature Artist and Founding Member John Cosby on June 6 through July 1.

LPAPA’s Annual “From Dusk to Dawn”

LPAPA’s Annual “From Dusk to Dawn” juried nocturne art show will feature both plein air and studio works. Gallery exhibition dates for the juried Finalists are August 1 through September 2 with juried Semi-Finalists to be exhibited at City Hall.

Five cash awards to be given with the top prize of $500. Plus, all submitting members receive $5 in LPAPA Loyalty Reward credits.

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Less is More – Show opens on July 1

18th Annual Less is More

The show opens with an online Art Catalog and Preview Auction on Monday, July 1, followed by the LPAPA Gallery opening for First Thursdays Art Walk on Thursday July 11, 6-9 p.m. (a week after the first Thursday due to July 4th holiday).

Four cash awards to be presented.

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Aimee Erickson Exhibition – July 5-29

Aimee Erickson:  Artist in Residence at the LPAPA Gallery
Online Preview Auction & LPAPA Gallery Show July 5 through July 29.

Online Preview Auction: Opens 10 a.m. July 5 – Ends 8 p.m. July 11.

Gallery Show & Online Exhibition: Friday, July 5 – Monday, July 29.

Art Walk Reception: Thursday, July 11, 6-9 p.m.

Plein Talk at the LPAPA Gallery: Sunday, July 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The LPAPA Gallery is pleased to present their Artist in Residence Showcase Exhibition featuring original works by Signature Artist Aimee Erickson opening with an online preview and auction Friday, July 5 at 10 a.m. followed by the gallery opening at 11 a.m. and a post-holiday First Thursday Art Walk Reception on Thursday, July 11, 6-9 p.m.

The art show and sale continue through Monday, July 29.

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association/LPAPA Gallery is located at 414 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

Click here to access LPAPA’s calendar and event schedule.

For more information, go to

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Sawdust Festival looks forward to more exciting classes

Sawdust Art Classes has many expressive and informative classes offered every week that the Sawdust Art Festival wants to share with you (far too many to mention here!). For more information, click here.

Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Intro to Sewing: Messenger Bag – June 21

Friday, June 21, 10 a.m.

Intro to Sewing: Messenger Bag

Learn how to sew a one-of-a-kind messenger bag on a sewing machine in this introduction to textiles with Carmen Gundelach. Working with a selection of sewing supplies (needle, thread, buttons, webbing, scissors and a sewing machine), Gundelach will show you how to cut out the bag pattern, the basics of sewing on a sewing machine (if you’ve never used one!) and using straight stitches to assemble your pieces. You can choose to bring your own materials if you wish, but upholstery fabric and lining is included in the price of this class.

This class is not suitable for children under 7 years of age; children aged 7-10 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: $125.

Intro to Mosaic Art – July 13 and 20

Saturday, July 13 and 20

Introduction to Mosaic Art

A two-day workshop over two weekends

The ancient art of mosaics is one of the most beautiful and oldest in the history of mankind. Working closely with Ron Shearer, you will create a mosaic that you will be proud to display. It will open a whole new world of creativity that you can easily continue on your own. Step-by-step, he will take you through the process of design, materials, cutting techniques and then carefully guide you through the application, initially using glue for positioning. You’ll have a little bit of fun “homework” to do between classes. When you return to the second workshop, you can home in on the fine details and finishing your artwork. A wonderful, informative and creative workshop, and one that we have had many requests for. This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners or those who want to fine-tune their skills. All materials are provided including supplies from WitsEnd Mosaics.

Cost: $350 per student which is fully inclusive of six hours of intensive instruction over two weekends, and all materials including a pair of nippers that you can keep, mosaic glass tiles, design and backing board. Maximum 10 students per class – if you are a larger group, contact Sawdust directly at

Saturday, July 20, 3 p.m.

Seascape Palette Knife Painting

Painting with a palette knife creates a sense of color vibrancy that is added to the artwork. The viewer is drawn into a visual array of color and texture.

At first it may seem different to learn painting with a palette knife but with little practice and artist-led instruction, students will be amazed at what can be achieved. Join artist Michelle Burt to learn one of the most rewarding techniques that produce absolutely eye-catching effects.

The fundamentals of values, color mixing, atmospheric perspective and composition will be discussed in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Each participant will leave with a completed painting ready to hang.

Cost: $110.

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Artists Fund invites public to visit Art-To-Go FOA

–Tuesday, July 2, 2024 (hours TBA)

“Art-To-Go at FOA Preview Reception” to view 100 originals donated by FOA exhibitors and vote for Art-To-Go People’s Choice!

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Courtesy of Artists Fund

“Necessary Vices” by John Straub, photography

July 2 – August 28

“Art-To-Go at Festival of Arts” View 100 originals donated by FOA exhibitors, new items added weekly. Proceeds support their Hardship Grant fund. Free with regular Festival admission.

Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Coming Up

June 15:  FOA Exhibitor Yearbook (digital) launches.

July 2, 5-9 p.m.: Art-To-Go opens at FOA Preview Night Invitational.

July 2-5: Vote for People’s Choice Art-To-Go piece at the displays.

July 6, 5:15 p.m.: Awards Presentation to winning Art-To-Go exhibitors.

To view them online, click here.

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LCAD’s Emerging Masters 2024 exhibition runs through July 14

LCAD’s Emerging Master 2024 exhibition, which opened on June 6 at LCAD Gallery will run through July 14.

Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) is proud to present Emerging Masters 2024. This diverse and impressive group exhibition features artwork by the most recent graduating students from LCAD’s Master of Fine Arts programs in Drawing and Painting. These skilled creatives are among today’s most promising emerging artists.

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Courtesy of LCAD

Cara Baxter, “The Journey,” acrylic on panel, 36” x 24”, 2024

Students come to LCAD because the college believes that enduring art comes from a fusion of contemporary ideas and time-honored skills. Learning how to draw and paint with a high level of skill is a discipline that enables the artist to truly see and effectively communicate.

Exhibiting Artists: Cara Baxter, Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach.

LCAD Gallery admission is always free.

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Pageant offering matching campaign for Masters at Giving 

Share the Pageant of the Masters magic and double your impact!

For every $45 Director’s Tier Side Section ticket you purchase for the Pageant of the Masters through their Masters at Giving program, they’ll match your donation. This means your contribution is doubled, spreading twice the joy!

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts Laguna Beach

Share the Pageant of the Masters magic and double your impact

–Enchanting Evening for Local Non-Profit Organizations: Your 100% tax-deductible donation gives military families, veterans, at-risk youth, senior centers, art students, community service organizations and more a chance to experience the magic of the Pageant of the Masters.

–Summer-Long Art Access: Recipients also gain entry to the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, enriching their summer with art appreciation.

–Double the Generosity: Your donation goes twice as far, reaching more people in our community.

Join the Pageant to make a bigger impact today. Share the magic of living pictures and art with those who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

To donate now, go here.

The Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. IRS tax ID 95-1964772. Donations are used to support the arts and are tax-deductible.

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Laguna Art Museum gets wild with Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will present Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature, set to showcase the influential work of Southern California native artist, Fred Tomaselli. The exhibition, exploring the intersections of art, nature and contemporary culture, will be on view from October 6 through February 2, 2025.

Tomaselli, who grew up and formed his early artistic sensibilities in Southern California, attended California State University, Fullerton, where he graduated with a BA in Painting and Drawing in 1982. His work is deeply influenced by the fantasy culture and natural beauty of the coastal environment, themes that are prominently reflected in his artworks.

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Photo by Dan Bradica Studio

Fred Tomaselli, “Irwin’s Garden,” 2023, acrylic, photo collage, leaves and resin on wood panel, 48” x 48”, courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York, ©2024

“Fred Tomaselli’s work offers a vital narrative emphasizing the beauty and turmoil of our times. His uncanny ability to incorporate contemporary issues within his unique and eye-catching artistic approach allows for important conversations and deeper enjoyment of his stunning work,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum.

The exhibition, guest-curated by Laguna Art Museum Curatorial Fellow Rochelle Steiner, will feature approximately 50 of Tomaselli’s new and recent works. The works highlight his unique approach to collage-based resin paintings and his engagement with topics such as global warming, the impact of the pandemic and today’s most pressing social issues.

“Tomaselli’s work is a powerful exploration of the world at large through ideas of individual perception, shared reality and the altered states between,” said Steiner, guest curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition promises to provide an insightful look at today’s most pressing issues by considering collisions of nature and culture, humans and animals, science and art and our need to process the fever pitch noise that surrounds modern life.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Laguna Art Museum will publish a fully illustrated catalog authored by Steiner; it will also feature a conversation between Tomaselli and writer Dan Nadel and include images of all the works in the exhibition. Specially designed by Barbara Glauber/Heavy Meta, the catalog provides insights into Tomaselli’s West Coast inspirations and deeper understanding and appreciation of his recent practice. The publication will be available in late 2024.

The exhibition aligns with the museum’s annual Art + Nature initiative and will include public programs such as a talk by Tomaselli on October 6. Further details about the series of talks, and lectures elaborating on the exhibition themes, as well as the launch of the new publication, will be announced.

Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature is organized by Laguna Art Museum and guest curated by Rochelle Steiner. Generous support for the exhibition provided by Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg. Generous support for the publication provided by James Cohan, New York.

For more information about Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

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58th Annual Sawdust Festival early bird discount

Where art meets magic. Sixty-six days of pure creativity and 180-plus artists, makers and musicians, along with endless opportunities for making favorite memories. Laguna Beach welcomes you to the legendary Sawdust Art Festival. Now in its 58th season, this iconic gathering is a vibrant celebration of sights, sounds and community.

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Courtesy of Sawdust

Buy online and skip the line

Come for the magic, stay for the memories.

Until June 27 at 11:59 p.m., enjoy a discount of $2 off tickets with advance online purchase. Use coupon code: SUMMER24.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Open daily: Friday, June 28 through Sunday, Sept. 1.

Hours of Operation: Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.,

Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Single-day admission tickets may be used any day of the summer festival. $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, ages 65 and up. $5 for Children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under receive free admission and do not require a ticket to enter.

Tickets will arrive by email with a QR code.

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