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The art of the hustle: Michael Savas’ LCAD exhibition showcases the diverse range of a working artist

By MARRIE STONE

Back in the 1970s, when Michael Savas was still deciding on a profession, it came down to music or art. Like a lot of 20-somethings in the ‘70s, he played in a band and took classes at Orange Coast College. But he figured art might be the better long-term choice. So, without any technical training – but a lot of talent, hard work and relentless determination – Savas began building a 45-year art career from the ground up.

“I put together some promo materials, found a mentor and – slowly but surely – started building a freelance business,” said Savas, who has taught at Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) since 1996 and served as Chair of the Illustration Department since 2005.

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Courtesy of Michael Savas

Michael Savas has taught at LCAD since 1996 and served as chair of the Illustration Department since 2005

Now through March 17, Michael Savas: Variety of Creation is on exhibit at the LCAD Gallery. The show spans several decades of Savas’ diverse and prolific career including technical illustrations, digital prints, acrylic portraits, oil paintings and airbrush work. Unfortunately, there wasn’t space for his many watercolors, sculptures, children’s book illustrations, gouache, reduction cut prints and other works.

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Michael Savas: Variety of Creation” is on display at the LCAD Gallery on Ocean Avenue through March 17

In addition to a few dozen outstanding pieces on display, the exhibit conveys the full life of a working artist, the art of the hustle and what it can take to make a living in an ever-evolving field. It also demonstrates how quickly Savas had to pivot his skills and adapt to new technologies that threatened to drive him out of business. When Savas saw how digital tools were coming to take his job in the 1990s, he learned to use them to his advantage and was soon hired by LCAD to teach.

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Reuland Electric Motor Co.” (1996), acrylic and airbrush on board. Companies initially resisted digital technology. As an early adopter, Savas convinced them change was inevitable. He taught his first LCAD class on computer imaging.

Savas began as a self-taught portrait artist at amusement parks like Disneyland and Marine Land. He refined his ink and technical skills during the ‘80s, finding lucrative work in the aerospace industry as a technical illustrator. His clients included companies like McDonald Douglas, Hughes Aircraft and Northrop Grumman. That paved the way for jobs with other manufacturers including Rainbird Sprinklers, Reuland Electric Motors and several others. He also worked in advertising for companies like Mars Candy, Quaker Oats and Carl’s Jr.

“I hadn’t taken any technical or perspective classes. I learned that on my own. I went to the library and studied books on perspective, dimetric drawing, isometric drawing – which is what they did back then.”

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Photo by Marrie Stone

“Meter” made for Beckman Instruments (1997), acrylic and airbrush on board

The technical aspects of art weren’t the only skills Savas learned. There was also the business of art. He taught himself how to pitch clients by stuffing envelopes and selling himself to agencies. He learned how to invoice, pay taxes and get a business license. He even discovered how to sue a client when they stiffed him on a bill. And he won.

“I was a hustler turned artist,” Savas said. “I needed money. I would do anything anyone paid me to do, and I didn’t turn anything away. If I didn’t know how to do it, I would research and learn. But when you’re self-taught, you always feel like an impostor. What legitimized my career was getting the degree.”

Savas returned to school in the 1990s, earning his BFA from LCAD and his MFA from California University Long Beach.

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Cultural opportunities: Two concerts at Cultural Center will feature classical music and world-famous blues performer Guy King

By THERESA KEEGAN

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) has become a harbinger of the arts, welcoming a diverse group of artists to our community. This upcoming week’s performances highlight that versatility.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, a Ukrainian pianist who helps traumatized children through music will take the stage with a violinist and a Chinese soprano singer to produce Lunar Lullaby and on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the internationally famous blues performer Guy King will kick off a series celebrating this all-American genre.

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Courtesy of Lyena Atonyicq

(L-R) Lyena Atonyicq, vocalist and pianist, lived and performed in New York before moving to California seven years ago. She is joined by soprano Diana Skavronskaya after the show.

“Pretty much we’re all foreign born, but we all moved here and live here,” Lunar Lullaby organizer Lyena Atonyicq said of her performers. “But music is international and has its own unspoken language of peace.”

She will be joined on stage with soprano Elaine Huang and violinist Xenia Deviatkina-Loh. The three women are creating a night of “enchantment and impact” according to Atonyicq, who hopes to raise funds for her nonprofit, Artomya.

They will feature some of her own compositions, as well as many classical pieces and some lively pieces by George Gershwin.

“Music is my life,” said Atonyicq. “It offers me a different perspective on the world. Many people travel the world and go to museums to learn about culture. To me, music is the same way. It opens your eyes to the world around us.”

She left her home country of Ukraine 24 years ago to pursue a music education in the United States. But it was her world travels in 2003 that solidified her focus on the healing power of music – especially for children.

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Courtesy of Lyena Atonyicq

(L-R) Lyena Atonyicq joined harpist Alisa Sadikova in New York

“Classical music heals your nervous system,” she said. “It raises your vibration and it regulates your auto immune system.”

While she spends time teaching students piano and voice in person, Atonyicq also offers online Zoom sessions. Getting parents involved is key to a program’s effectiveness she says. A goal is for the practicing to continue throughout the week.

“It’s a relationship when you teach students,” she said.  “Every child has difficult days, so I give parents very easy ways to calm them down.”

In addition to her trio, the Lunar Lullaby evening will also feature Laguna Beach’s own Eric Henderson. The gifted guitarist who has trained under Andres Segovia always presents an amazing show that pushes musical boundaries.

“The whole night should be fun – and delicious,” said Atonyicq. “I am bringing Ukranian cakes (known as Kyiv cakes) to share.”

When Guy King starts playing the blues at the Cultural Arts Center on Wednesday, he will be the inaugural act of a monthly blues series the center is offering. It will also be one of King’s first concerts since returning from a tour in Switzerland with his band earlier in the month.

The trio will be performing some of the songs King has written and composed, as well as other blues favorites.

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Chicago-based Guy King is a quintessential performer of the blues. He writes, composes and arranges many of his own pieces.

It’s a long way from his youth in Chicago when he’d read liner notes on his older siblings’ albums and be carried away by the music of Marvin Gaye and Eric Clapton and an ever-evolving line-up of musicians.

“Then the blues came in and swept me off my feet,” said King. “All the elements pulled together. I understood how they worked.”

With the innocence of youth, he decided he’d become a musician.

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” he said. But he practiced continually, and felt he was getting better. As others affirmed that he was good, and improving, he kept at it. Although his family was always musically inclined – his parents insisted all their children would learn an instrument – King didn’t receive formal training in mastering the blues. As a youngster, he sang with big bands, and he took naturally to performing.

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ORGANIZATION INFO

City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

www.lagunabeachcity.net

Community Art Project (CAP)

www.caplaguna.org

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

www.foapom.com

First Thursdays Art Walk

www.firstthursdaysartwalk.com

Friends of the Laguna Beach Library

 

Gallery Q at THE SUSI Q

www.thesusiq.org

3340 Recital Series

www.thirtythreeforty.com

Laguna Art-A-Fair

www.art-a-fair.com

Laguna Art Museum

www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC)

www.lbculturalartscenter.org

Laguna Beach Live!

www.lagunabeachlive.org

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

www.lagunabeachsistercities.org

Laguna College of Art + Design

www.lcad.edu

Laguna Concert Band

www.lagunaconcertband.com

Laguna Craft Guild

www.lagunacraftguild.org

Laguna Dance Festival

www.lagunadancefestival.org

LOCA Arts Education

www.locaarts.org

Laguna Playhouse

www.lagunaplayhouse.com

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

www.lpapa.org

LagunaTunes

www.lagunatuneschorus.org

No Square Theatre

www.nosquare.org

Sawdust Art Festival

www.sawdustartfestival.org

Coast Film & Music Festival

www.coastfilmfestival.com

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts

www.theartistsfund-foa.org

Third Street Writers

www.thirdstreetwriters.org

Visit Laguna Beach

www.visitlagunabeach.com

Neighborhood Congregational Church

www.ncclaguna.org


LagunaTunes is now accepting new members

LagunaTunes Community Chorus will resume rehearsals on Saturday, Feb. 24, in preparation for the June concert, Showtunes! The season kicks off with a potluck brunch at 10 a.m. on Saturday Feb. 24 at St. Mary’s Guild Hall (428 Park Ave., Laguna Beach). Prospective new members are invited to come, enjoy brunch and sing. Returning members will provide the food.

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Courtesy of LagunaTunes

LagunaTunes members at brunch rehearsal

Both new and past members are welcome, and there are no auditions. If you sing in the shower or sing along with the car radio, you’re eligible. All you need is a desire to sing and learn with a fun group of people and a great director. Recorded rehearsal tracks are available for all parts. Listen to them in your car, while exercising, any time you want to learn effortlessly between rehearsals.

The free June concert will feature songs from The Great White Way to Tinseltown, Broadway to Hollywood. It will be Sunday, June 9 at 4 p.m. in the Artists Theater at Laguna Beach High School.

Regular LagunaTunes rehearsals are on Mondays, starting February 26 at 7-9 p.m. at Thurston Middle School (2100 Park Ave., Laguna Beach). Bring a check for $90 (music fee) and a willingness to sing. COVID vaccinations, though not required, are encouraged.

The chorus is led by Bob Gunn, former long-time director of the Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone. Funding is by the FOA Foundation, the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For more information, visit www.lagunatuneschorus.org, or email lagunatuneschorus@yahoo.com.

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Cultural Arts invites public to dedication of temporary sculpture installation on March 7

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Photos courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

“Dream Big” by Elizabeth Laul Healey

–Thursday, March 7, 5 p.m.

Dream Big Public Art Dedication

The Arts Commission invites the public to attend the dedication of the temporary sculpture installation Dream Big by Elizabeth Laul Healey on Thursday, March 7 at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The sculpture will be installed on the front lawn at City Hall and be on display March through May 2024.

Sunset Serenades Artwork

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“Sunset Beats” by Kimberly Duran

Kimberly Duran’s design was selected by the Arts Commission for the Sunset Serenades Promotional Artwork competition. The 2024 Sunset Serenades concert season starts the first Friday in May.

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

Year in Review

The Arts Commission and Cultural Arts review their 2023 accomplishments. To view, click here.

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2023 banner by Tatyana Zen

Banner Competition

Deadline: March 4

Honorarium: $4,000

Watch the new “Artist Perspective” video (click here) featuring local artist Al Esquerra sharing his best practices for the City of Laguna Beach annual Outdoor Banner Competition. The Arts Commission is also accepting design submissions for the 2024 Banner Competition. You can participate and be a part of Laguna Beach’s artistic community by applying today.

Open to residents of Orange County, 18 years of age or older. The completed banners are displayed on lampposts throughout the city of Laguna Beach during June, July and August and celebrate the summer season.

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

Click here for the 2024 Banner Competition program guidelines. The deadline to apply is March 4.

Art That’s Small at City Hall

Deadline: March 9

1st – $600 | 2nd – $300 | 3rd – $150

The Arts Commission invites artists to participate in their temporary public art and exhibitions opportunities.

These programs are funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Public Art Ordinance & Policy

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission will present its concept and recommendations for policies for public art to the City Council on February 27. The purpose of the report is to provide a consolidated and updated set of policies that could become a comprehensive program guideline available online for all artists, stakeholders and the public.

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LAM collaborates with California artists for 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) announces the highly anticipated 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash continuing through March 4 with both online and in-person auction events. The auction will feature works of prominent California artists, on view to preview in person at Laguna Art Museum with paid admission, now through March 2, or via Artsy beginning today. Bidding for the annual auction is open online via Artsy.

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Courtesy of LAM

Sarah Genn, “My Heart is a Thousand Colors” (Light Punk) and (Hickey), 2024

On Saturday, March 2, the museum will host the annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash, promising an unforgettable evening from 6:30-10 p.m. Join more than 100 California artists in support of raising money for Laguna Art Museum during a night that brings the vibrant spirit of California to life. The proceeds generated will play a pivotal role in fueling the museum’s exciting phase of growth. Exclusive artworks will be available for purchase on Artsy both before and during the event.

“The 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash stands as a testament to the boundless creativity and generosity within our community. We are eager to welcome guests to the museum on March 2 for this extraordinary event in support of our exhibitions and education programs,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum. “With an impressive array of artworks and an esteemed guest list, the evening promises to be unforgettable.”

The impressive line-up of prominent California artists includes Laddie John Dill, Shepard Fairey, Ed Ruscha, Astrid Preston, Elizabeth Orleans, Cristopher Cichocki, Blue McRight, Ed Moses and many more. To keep the night lively and extra entertaining, friend to Laguna Art Museum, and the best in the business, auctioneer Zack Krone has been recruited for the event.

Registration for the online auction will open today via Artsy. For more information, registration and to purchase tickets to the exclusive event on March 2, click here. Presale tickets to the event on March 2 are available for $215 through March 1. Pending availability, tickets for the event will be available at the door on March 2 for $225. To participate in the online auction via Artsy, register by clicking here.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction + Benefit + Bash supports Laguna Art Museum’s mission through the generosity of the participating artists and attendees. Through artwork donations, these artists have shown their love and support of Laguna Art Museum as a leading arts organization in Southern California.

Laguna Art Museum is seeking additional sponsors for the 42nd Annual Art Auction + Benefit + Bash. Gain exclusive access, preview the art and receive an invite to a VIP event – all while supporting the museum’s mission. For more information, contact Crystal Tosello, development manager, at ctosello@lagunaartmuseum.org.

For more information about the 42nd Annual California Cool Art Auction and Laguna Art Museum, visit https://lagunaartmuseum.org/.

Event Sponsors: Artsy, Barbara and Tad Danz, Elliott Kornhauser and Joe Baker, Katrina Foley, Ken and Jan Kaplan, Lori and Harley Bassman, Nolet’s Gin and Kettle One Vodka, Wendy Aird, WGB Insurance and William Gillespie Foundation.

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

The Art Auction will be on view in all galleries on the Main Floor.

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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!).

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Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Pottery Wheel Experience – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 p.m.

Pottery Wheel Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit at a potter’s wheel and actually throw a pot?

Robert Jones will take you through the process step-by-step, allowing you to gain confidence so that, with his help, you will make your own pottery pieces on the wheel. Each student will make two pieces that he will then fire and glaze in his own studio so that you will end up with a beautifully glazed mug or bowl which you can truly call your own. Please note, the firing and glazing time will take approximately 3-4 weeks before ready to collect. If you wish your items to be mailed, there will be an additional cost to cover postage and packing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary to take this class, however closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing are recommended. All materials are included in the cost.

Cost: $105.

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Art Meets Technology – February 23

Friday, Feb. 23, 1-2:30 p.m.

Art Meets Technology

A brand-new pop-up class where you can really let your imagination fly! With AI technology, you will create a computerized image using your ideas. This printed image will be the basis for your painting. You’ll transfer this image onto paper using a printing plate.

The process is simple with really satisfying results. You will learn to use different types of mediums in this fun class, including gelli plates, posca markers, acrylic paints, and other mixed media including Mica powder and stencils. A great way to loosen up those creative juices. Suitable for both adults and children over 10 years of age. Once you have registered for this class, you will be asked for a few sentences that best describe what you would like to paint so that the instructor can prepare your digital image. If you wish, you may bring your own image or design.

Cost: $45 per student. Cost is inclusive of all materials, a colored digital print and a finished acrylic painting that will be framed in a mat board for you to take home.

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Ski Week Art Camp – February 23

February 23, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 23: Linocut Printing

Each class will explore a different technique in the art of printmaking. Some classes may have two or three different activities, giving students a better understanding of how that art material and method works. Students can take an individual class for $50.

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Magical Diorama – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 12 p.m.

Magical Diorama

Transport yourself to a miniature world of magic in a box. Each two-hour class is held in the artist’s home studio filled with all the elements that you will need to create your little world of fantasy. You can choose from an array of intriguing elements to build a unique creation that is evocative of whimsy and magic. Feel free to bring your own memorable tokens, scraps of letters or mementos to add your own personal touch. Figurines, broken jewelry, trim, or buttons all add interest to your fantasy realm. No experience is necessary, just a desire to have fun and play. This is a fun, funky class where the only requirements are enthusiasm, patience and a smile!

Cost: $100.

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Alice by Heart: A Musical presented by No Square Theatre from March 8-17

To the naked eye, Alice by Heart may seem like another take on the famous Lewis Carroll story, but this musical is anything but. Set in 1941, in the debris after the London Blitz of World War II, the life of teen Alice Spencer is disrupted, as she and her best friend Alfred are forced to take shelter in a London underground tube station. However, Alfred, suffering from Tuberculosis, is quarantined. Alice urges him to escape with her into their cherished book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but the nurse destroys Alice’s book as a punishment for visiting Alfred, despite his quarantine. Alice becomes very defiant and declares she knows it “by heart” and will read to him anyway. The people hiding in the shelter slowly change into some of the book’s characters. This magical coming of age story explores the poignancy of first love, coming to terms with loss and finding the courage to move forward.

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Courtesy of No Square Theatre

(L-R) Sydney Penticuff, Erica Farnsworth, Rob Harryman, Diego Huerta-Gutierrez, Precious Montgomery, Marco Lapayese-Calderon, Kito Garcia, Roni Dvir and Owen Stapp rehearse a scene from “Alice by Heart”

Directed by Ella Wyatt, choreographed by Sabrina Harper and music directed by Roxanna Ward, this show, with a rousing book and score by the writers of Spring Awakening, Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater and Jessie Nelson, will be one of the first Orange County productions of the musical. The cast includes Brennan Eckberg, Diego Huerta-Gutierrez, Erica Farnsworth, Kito Garcia, Lexi Maerov, Marco Lapayese-Calderon, Maverick Wyatt, Owen Stapp, Precious Montgomery, Rob Harryman, Roni Dvir and Sydney Penticuff.

Alice by Heart will run March 8-17 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.) and will have a special Theatre on the Spectrum performance on Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m.

No Square Theatre is located in historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St., Laguna Beach, two blocks south of Laguna Beach High School. The high school has ample free parking. Seating is extremely limited, and the theater has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. Drinks and refreshments are available for purchase.

No Square Theatre is generously sponsored by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach, Carolyn & Tom Bent, Carol Normandin in Memory of Emily Normandin-Parker, Chris Quilter, Jon Cobain, Mary & Carl Winefordner, Hall Charitable Foundation, Goldstein Family Fund and the FOA Foundation.

For additional information on events, auditions, classes and to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.nosquare.org.

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Laguna Live! kicks off Jazz Wednesdays on February 28

Tuesdays through May, 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

Jazz Wednesdays returns:

Jazz Wednesdays feature world-class musicians in the cabaret setting of [seven-degrees] 891 Laguna Canyon Road. Held every two weeks, the six-part series kicks off on February 28 with powerhouse Jazz and Blues Vocalist Maiya Sykes and her sensational Tribute to Musical Legends.

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Maiya Sykes performs on February 28

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Soul of Jazz, Bijon Watson

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience, or to gift the experience, of some truly outstanding music.

Ticket prices for individual concerts remain at only $37.50 in advance; $40 at the door; $225 for the full season. Concerts are 6-8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. for bar and social hour. Drinks and food are available for pre purchase.

Click here for tickets, or call 949.715.3713.

The Line-Up

March 13: Matt Johnson and The New Jet Set: “Swingin’ the Disney Songbook” featuring Adryon de Leon.

March 27: Brazilian Guitarist and Vocalist, Téka, Quintet featuring Saxophonist, Robert Kyle.

April 10: Black Market Reverie with their “speak easy” jazz, a mix of jazz, classic French pop and Americana.

April 24: Renowned Soul, Jazz and R&B vocalist, Raffia Thomas brings stunning vocals and soulful vibes along with her quintet.

May 8: Grammy award winner Bijon Watson’s Latin Jazz Syndicate, featuring sizzling Cuban vocalist, Adonis Puentes.

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Flucello, (L-R) Antonina Styczen and Pola Benke – March 3

–Sunday, March 3, 1 p.m.

Live! at the Museum, Flucello with Antonina Styczen and Pola Benke

Flutist Antonina Styczen comes from the small town of Bielsko-Biala in Southern Poland, and at the age of 5, set her mind on having a career as a flutist. By age 6, she had enrolled in a local flute class, and since then has had experimental performance art rarely seen in glamorous concert halls.

Pola Benke, an esteemed cellist hailing from Poland, commenced her musical journey with the cello at the tender age of 8. She debuted as a soloist with the University Orchestra in 2007, rendering a

captivating performance of “Grave” by Lutoslawski. Her quest for musical excellence led her to earn a master’s degree in orchestral training from The Boston Conservatory, and later, to pursue postgraduate studies under the tutelage of the acclaimed Marek Szpakiewicz in Los Angeles.

The concert is performed at the Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

Cost: Free for members, $14 for non-members. Email ava@lagunabeachlive.org for reservations.

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Steve Wood and Beth Fitchett, Beth’s Tuesdays – March 5

Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays

Joel Rafael and Grace Freeman

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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LBCAC adds new events to 2024

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 1-5 p.m.

A Celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts & Culture

31372 Guadalupe St., San Juan Capistrano

Lovers of culture, the arts and the history of San Juan Capistrano,

join your friends from the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) in a music-rich celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s Arts and Culture. This exclusive event is being held in an adobe home built in 1929 by Dr. Paul Esslinger, a well-known doctor in both San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach.

Welcome Reception with Artivist | Ricardo Duffy

Guests will be welcomed by its current owners with a home and property tour by Carmen Escamilla and by Chicano/Indigenous artist Ricardo Duffy.

Opera Reimagined Host & Tenor | Rick Weber

Classically trained vocalist and host of “LBCAC Presents: Opera Re-Imagined,” Rick Weber is inspired by the world’s most beloved tenors, like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Mario Lanza.

Storyteller/Historian/Naturalist | Barefoot Joel

“Barefoot Joel” is the director of Naturalist for You, a 17-year-old environmental educational nonprofit, based in Orange County. Guests will be amazed by his retelling of San Juan Capistrano’s living history, based on his personal experiences restoring habitats, conducting biological surveys and guiding nature walks in the local wilderness.

Musician | Ryan Heflin

Heflin recently released a music video for his popular “California Dreamer” – a thoughtful, romantic song about the California of yesterday.

Supergroup | Tremoloco

Tremoloco is a SoCal-based band that draws from the sounds of Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk and blues in a blend of original and traditional songs, best described as Gulf Coast Folklorico.

Due to the intimate setting, space is limited, so please buy tickets now.

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

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Lunar Lullaby – February 25

Saturday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.

Lunar Lullaby, Musical Event Artomya

Join LBCAC for an unforgettable evening of classical enchantment as they present a special concert featuring world-renowned performers, including Eric Henderson, who promise to captivate your senses.

Diana Skavronskaya: A Lyric Coloratura Soprano Extraordinaire

Prepare to be mesmerized by the award-winning lyric coloratura soprano, Diana Skavronskaya.

Tal Vaknine: The Spellbinding Harpist from Jerusalem

Elevating the evening with ethereal harp melodies is the exceptional Israeli artist, Tal Vaknine.

Lyena Atonyicq: Pianist, Philanthropist and Opera/ Piano Coach

Completing their trio of musical virtuosos is LBCAC’s own Lyena Atonyicq, a concert pianist/coach with four masters in music.

Special Guest

Eric Henderson: Guitar Virtuoso and Composer

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Henderson covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.

For tickets, click here.

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Guy King – February 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Guy King Trio

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

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center 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 its 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.

Guy 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. Not long after Kent died, King began his solo career. King is known for his eclectic style and unusual technique of plucking the strings with the side of his thumb.

For tickets, click here.

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Photo by Barbara MacGillivray

Steve Wood and Beth Fitchett, Beth’s Tuesdays – March 5

Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays

Joel Rafael and Grace Freeman

Cost: $20. For tickets, click here.

Thursday, March 7, 6-9 p.m.

Art Walk featuring the music of James Clay Garrison

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Chris Cain – March 12

Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m.

Laguna Blues, Chris Cain

Among the greatest compliments a musician can receive is praise from his fellow artists. With more than three decades of touring and 14 previous albums, master blues guitarist and vocalist Chris Cain has earned his reputation as a musician’s musician.

Cost: $30. For tickets, click here.

LBCAC is located at 235 Forest Avenue.

Checkout the calendar at www.lbculturalartscenter.org.

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LOCA has something for every art lover and artist

Art lovers will meet Laguna Beach’s most fascinating artists and industry professionals at LOCA Art Talks. Events are Thursday evenings, now through May in Downtown Laguna Beach. Attendees will receive a post-event coupon for 15% off dining at nearby restaurants.

LOCA Art Talks schedule:

March 14: Art and Jazz – The iconic imagery of Blue Note Records, with jazz singer and historian Elena Gilliam. Registration is open.

April 25: Andrew Myers – Career Retrospective, with Andrew Myers. Registration is open.

May: Public Art in Downtown Laguna Beach, with Mike Tauber and guest artists. Registration opens soon.

Become a LOCA member and enjoy free admission to all LOCA Art Talks, and many other benefits.

LOCA’s newest teaching location is in the south end of Laguna Beach, easily reached from Downtown, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel and San Clemente.

The expansion allows LOCA to offer “extended learning” series of classes whereby students, both adults and families, can build a “toolbox of skills” over several weeks.

LOCA students will enjoy the hilltop location, panoramic ocean views and free onsite parking. Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center, 30516 S. Coast Highway. Enter on Cardinal Drive, just south of Nyes Place.

Know someone who loves art and Laguna Beach? Surprise them with a LOCA 2024 membership and they’ll enjoy a full year of art experiences of their choice! Your $50 purchase ensures them a bounty of benefits including free admission to six LOCA Art Talks lectures, an exclusive Membership Sunday Brunch and Art Talk, a shout-out feature in their eNewsletter, half-priced registration to LOCA’s workshops taught by well-known Laguna Beach artists throughout the town – and much more.

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Courtesy of LOCA

Give the gift of art experiences for a full year

What they’ll get:

Your thoughtfully chosen gift will be presented as a charming reusable box, topped with a LOCA pencil, and elegantly wrapped with a bow. Inside is a 2024 membership card listing the fantastic benefits. A $250 value!

Buy it now for $50:

Use LOCA’s secure and easy “Gift a Membership” red checkout button on their membership page by clicking here. Your package will arrive by mail in 4-7 business days.

Check out all the Custom Art Escapes LOCA has to offer – there’s something for everyone.

Courtesy of LOCA

Projects have included “Bioluminescence” inspired by recent ocean phenomenon

Families Love LOCA at the Library

LOCA’s Family Art Classes at Laguna Beach Public Library have been a smashing success. The “happy hour” 4:30-5:30 p.m. timeslot has made it convenient for parents and kids to enjoy a creative learning space, led by Allison Keefe. “We encourage parents and kids to work together,” Keefe said.

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Courtesy of LOCA

Art on the Wild Side 

–Through March 4, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Art on the Wild Side

South Laguna Community and Recreation Center

Eight consecutive Mondays (skip February 19): Inspired by nature conservation, Elizabeth McGhee and Allison Keefe will teach drawing, collage, printmaking and painting of subjects native to local coasts and canyons, including insects, plants, animals and tidepool life.

Ages 6-adult. Fee: $195 includes all materials. 30516 S. Coast Highway with free onsite parking. To register, go to www.locaarts.org

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Courtesy of LOCA

Shibori and Indigo Dyeing – February 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 1-4 p.m.

Shibori and Indigo Dyeing with Reem Khalil

This two-session textile workshop will demonstrate the ancient practice of Shibori tying, clamping, stitching and wrapping of silk or paper. This is a two-part class held on two consecutive Wednesdays in the Susi Q art room of the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center.

Shibori will then be dipped in an indigo vat. You will walk away with several pieces of wearable and fine art pieces.

Fee: LOCA Members $50/Non-members $100.

To register, go to www.locaarts.org.

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LPAPA announces 20th Annual “Best of Plein Air” Juried Show on March 4

LPAPA’s 20th Annual “Best of Plein Air” Juried Art Show – a celebration of paintings by LPAPA members created outdoors “en plein air.”

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Photos courtesy of LPAPA

“Best of Plein Air” Juried Show – March 4-April 1

Show Overview & Timeline: (All times shown are Pacific Time)

Online Art Catalog Exhibition (Finalists & Top Semi-Finalists): March 4 through April 1.

Online Preview Auction: Opens 10 a.m. Monday, March 4, ends 8 p.m., Thursday, March 7.

LPAPA Gallery Show (Finalists):  Opens 11 a.m., Thursday, March 7 through Monday, April 1.

Art Walk Gallery Reception & Awards: Thursday, March 7, 6-9 p.m. (awards 7 p.m.) Gallery awards presentation will be live-streamed on Facebook.

Award Winners: Award winners will be announced during the March 7 Art Walk Gallery Reception. The 1st Place award-winning artist also receives a coveted “golden ticket” invitation to participate in LPAPA’s 26th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, October 5-13.

LPAPA is proud to present its Juried Art Shows, Signature Showcase Exhibitions, Signature Artist in Residence Exhibitions and Featured Members at their beautiful gallery located on Gallery Row in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, LPAPA Gallery, 414 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday through Monday, and by appointment. Hours extended to 9 p.m. for First Thursdays Art Walk reception (6-9 p.m.).

To contact, call 949.376.3635 or email info@lpapa.org.

Online Paint Party Paint Alongs:

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New Paint Party Paint Alongs – February 28 and March 6

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Daddy’s Girl – February 28

Online Paint Party

Save more than $35 when you enroll in the series of four, or purchase individual courses for $59/each.

Sunset Sky – March 6

New Paint Party Paint Alongs are here. Grab your paint and easel and join award-winning artist Debra Huse for live, online Paint Parties.

Discover Huse, who will provide the reference photos and guide you from start to finish as you paint together, brushstroke by brushstroke. Enjoy exclusive pro tips and insightful instruction. Paint Parties are fun for everyone, from beginner to more advanced painters. Complete a great little painting in only two hours. See, paint and learn with other artists from across the world.

To register, click here.

Annual Signature Showcase

The LPAPA Gallery features their 3rd Annual “Signature Showcase” gallery exhibition features original plein air and studio works created by LPAPA Signature Artist Members on display until March 4.

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Signature Showcase

Participating Signature Artists: Geoff Allen, Richard Boyer, Carl Bretzke, Cynthia Britain, Brienne Brown, Saim Caglayan, Larry Cannon, Rick J. Delanty, Gil Dellinger, Carole Gray-Weihman, Scott Hamill, Nita Harper, Mike Hill, Catherine Hillis, Charlie Hunter, Debra Huse, Chuck Kovacic, Jason Li, Calvin Liang, Richard Lindenberg, Kim Lordier, David Marty, Eileen McCullough, Terry Miura, Lisa Mozzini-McDill, Robin Purcell, Jeff Sewell, Mark Shasha, Michael Situ, Durre Waseem and Ran Wu.

The LPAPA Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or by appointment, with extended hours to 9 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. For assistance, call the LPAPA Gallery at 949.376.3635, or contact Bonnie Lander at bonnie@lpapa.org, or Toni Kellenberg at toni@lpapa.org, or by phone at 949.291.0882

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

For more information, go to www.lpapa.org.

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LAM adds new February events and anticipates California Cool Art Auction

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Photos courtesy of LAM

California Cool Art Auction announces participating artists

California Cool Art Auction, a sell-out annual event, is just around the corner – March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Experience the live and silent auctions alongside a night of specialty-crafted cocktails & appetizers, a red-carpet experience, live music, artist meet & greets, and more. Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has just announced its participating artists.

The annual California Cool Art Auction and Benefit brings together the art community in support of the museum’s mission to enlighten people of all ages through California art.

 Preview auction artworks in person. Online bidding will conclude on March 4.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Cool Art Auction is powered by Artsy, enabling art lovers from around the world to view and bid online. Artsy is the world’s largest and fastest growing marketplace for buying and selling art, with the world’s largest database of contemporary art.

Preview and get ready to bid on more than 125 original artworks in support of your museum. The majority of artworks are on view now at the museum for you to enjoy during museum hours. Proceeds from the annual auction provide vital support to the museum.

Want a closer look at the artworks available in the Art Auction? Many of the available artworks are on display now at the museum to view with admission. Featured are high-profile artworks at affordable starting bids. For a list of participating artists, click here.

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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.

Through many years of trial and error, Neeley developed a never-before-seen technique that he calls Spectra Gold, which seamlessly changes one color of gold into another. This is accomplished by a labor-intensive forging process to create a subtle gradient, or ombré, of color from yellow gold to white gold and more. This, along with his creation of totally new colors of gold, adds to the sense that his jewelry is created by a modern-day alchemist.

This exhibition will explore both the creative working processes of this innovative jeweler, and some of the raw and faceted gems and minerals used by him to create his art. Collaborating with world-class lapidaries, such as Stephen Avery, Neeley creates truly imaginative pieces that go beyond contemporary designs into the realm of dreams and fantasy inspired by imagination and the world around him. Neeley is a true 21st century alchemist.

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Storytime Saturday – February 24

Saturday, Feb. 24, 11 a.m.

Storytime Saturday, Radiant Child

Bring your little ones to Laguna Art Museum for an interactive storytime and art-making experience unlike any other. Read-alouds will be supplemented with mindfulness exercises, art-making projects, or in-gallery activities that promote meaningful connections with caregivers and others.

This month’s selection is Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe with an art-making activity that celebrates the extraordinary work of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and reminds kids that beautiful art can be outside the lines.

Free with museum admission.

All children receive free admission. Admission fee required for accompanying adults only. For tickets, click here.

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Artists Fund “Special Sale Gallery”

Now through May 2024, view the Artists Fund “Special Sale Gallery” collection of affordable originals. Proceeds from sales support their Hardship Grant fund.

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Courtesy of Artists Fund

“Afternoon Light” by Cliff Wassmann, part of the Special Sale Gallery

All works are originals donated by past and present Festival exhibitors. Prices shown are reduced – to support their Hardship Grant fund for artists in need. Works may be collected in Laguna Beach or shipped at an additional cost.

To purchase artwork, contact curator Mike Tauber, call or text at 949.497.3597.

To view them online, click here.

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No Square Theatre holds auditions beginning on March 12 for Dogfight

Initial auditions (by appointment) for the play, Dogfight, which will open on May 17, at No Square Theatre, will be held:

Tuesday, March 12 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 13 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 14 (TBD, if needed)

To schedule an audition appointment, email Ella Wyatt, artistic director, No Square Theatre at theellawyatt@gmail.com.

Callbacks (by invitation):

Monday, March 18 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19 – 6:30-9:30 p.m.

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Courtesy of No Square Theatre

Auditions for “Dogfight” begin on March 12

Dogfight features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. It is based on the book by Peter Duchan and directed by Karen Rymar. Christopher W. Smith is the musical director, and it will be choreographed by Sabrina Harper.

Rehearsals/Performances

Rehearsals begin March 25 and will be scheduled weekday evenings and weekend days. Final rehearsal schedule will be determined based on cast availability within those options. Cast will not be called seven days a week. Tech rehearsals will begin on Saturday, May 11, and performances begin on Friday, May 17 and continue through Sunday, May 26.

Those who are auditioning should prepare a contemporary musical theater song (not from the show) under three minutes to demonstrate range, musicality and storytelling abilities. They should also bring a headshot, resume and sheet music in the appropriate key; an accompanist will be provided. (Also bring a list of all conflicts from March 25-May 26.)

For more information, click here.

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Festival of Arts now accepting scholarship applications, deadline March 8

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach (FOA) announced that applications for the 2024/2025 academic school year are now open to local students. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior who resides in Laguna Beach or attends Laguna Beach High School. Applications are available online by clicking here. Deadline to apply is March 8 at 4 p.m.

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. Last year, the Festival awarded six students with first-year scholarships totaling $120,000 and renewed scholarships totaling $30,900 for nine students.

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Courtesy of FOA

Original watercolor illustration by Vanessa Rothe, 1988 Festival of Arts Scholarship recipient, for the 1988 Laguna Beach High School yearbook

Many Festival of Arts scholarship recipients pursue successful careers in the arts, including Laguna Beach artist Vanessa Rothe. With many accolades to her name including gallery owner, curator, fine artist, author, editor, lecturer and more, Rothe credits her Festival of Arts scholarship to her career success.

“I was so honored to be awarded the Festival of Arts scholarship soon after winning first place in the 1988 senior art contest at Laguna Beach High School,” shared Rothe. “The Festival of Arts scholarship played a pivotal role in helping me pay for my first years at the University of San Diego, where I took one art class at a time along with my business and literature majors. The scholarship encouraged me to take fine art classes and there was one particular art class, a graphic design class, which gave me a skill I could use for the rest of my life.”

The four-year, highly competitive scholarships are awarded to students who excel in Film, Performing Arts (dance, music and theater arts including performance and production), Visual Arts and Writing. A student may apply for any or all of the four categories, but will only be awarded one scholarship. The Festival of Arts Scholarship Committee includes Chair Pat Kollenda, and committee members Wayne Baglin, John Connolly, Marge Earl, Jacquie Moffett and Jeff Rovner.

“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.”

Rothe added, “My advice for any young artist today would be to learn to draw well first. Do the hard work at a young age, get your classical training in drawing and really understand light logic and ‘values.’”

For general scholarship information, click here. The Festival of the Arts is a non-profit organization that produces the Festival of Arts fine art show and the Pageant of the Masters. Their mission is to support the arts and art education in and about Laguna Beach.

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