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Cultural Arts Updates: What’s happening in the arts around town in December?

cultural arts tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Promenade all decked out for Christmas

December Performances at the Stage on Forest/Promenade:

Thursday, Dec. 1

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Ryan Heflin

Saturday, Dec. 3

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Felisha Dunne

Sunday, Dec. 4

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Adam Lasher

Friday, Dec. 9

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Jodi Siegel

Saturday, Dec. 10

5:30- 7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Ava August

Sunday, Dec. 11

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Andrew Corradini

Friday, Dec. 16

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Beth Wood

Saturday, Dec. 17

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Kelly Fitzgerald

Sunday, Dec. 18

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Molly Bergman


Current art exhibitions at Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum’s (LAM) 10th annual Art & Nature Festival is currently on view through February 15, 2023. The Art & Nature festival raises environmental awareness and explores the cross-sections between nature and the arts. 

 Art & Nature exhibitions include The Sea Around Us by artist Rebeca Mèndez, an immersive 360-degree video art installation, that transports viewers to an area of the Pacific Ocean located 30 miles from the Laguna Beach coast, portraying the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interconnectedness for all living things. Using scientific footage, the video shifts to thousands of oozing barrels of DDT on the seafloor being sampled by robotic arms. Pyramidion by artist Kelly Berg is an interactive sculptural experience that invites viewers to contemplate the layered history and unique geology of Laguna Beach. 

current art the big one

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Photos courtesy of LAM

“The Big One” by Robert Young

The Big One by artist Robert Young is thought to still hold the record as the largest painting ever created in Laguna Beach and is on display in the California Gallery. Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition, is presented in partnership with MacGillivray Freeman Films and Coast Film Festival in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic surf documentary, including a sneak peek of the film and historic imagery, clothing and items from the era of the film.

current art DeVerley

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Artist Ivy DeVerley (1879-1963) “Mask,” Dr. Iliana Rosen, c. 1925, Pastel on board, 22” x 15,” Gift of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

  In addition to the Art & Nature festival exhibitions, Her Great Gift: The Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection is on view through February 12, 2023. The collection includes 40 artworks made from the 1830s through the 1970s that trace how artists documented the California experience. Her Great Gift is the first presentation of the Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection and features some of the earliest known oil paintings made in Southern California, California plein air paintings, watercolors from the WPA period, mid-century abstractions and explorations into Light and Space. Artists include Mabel Alvarez, Karl Benjamin, Norton Bush, D.J. Hall, Roger Kuntz, Fernand Lungren, James McCray, Arnold Mesches, Charles Rollo Peters, F. Grayson Sayre, Stanislav Szukalski, John Law Walker, Julian Bracken Wendt, William Wendt and many others.

current art torse

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“Torse” (Torso), c. 1935, by William Mortensen, Gelatin silver print from Mortensen’s Portfolio series; 5.14” x 6.5,” Courtesy of Dennis Reed Collection

The museum also presents Photography & Seduction: William Mortensen’s Laguna Beach, on view through January 15, 2023. The exhibition honors the Laguna Beach resident and is one of the only museum exhibitions of his work, illustrating his ascent as one of the most famous photographers of his time. Photography & Seduction is a journey through Mortensen’s career from his star-studded Hollywood beginnings to his teachings, as well as influences, processes and more. The exhibition aims to share Mortensen’s contributions to and influence on American photography, while also sharing his connection to Laguna Beach.

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

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


Pageant Legacy Society: Every plaque tells a story

With Giving Tuesday just around the corner, the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters celebrates the art of giving this holiday season with an opportunity to join the organization’s Pageant Legacy Society. The Pageant Legacy Society began in 2020 as a way for donors to support the Festival of Arts during financially challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a way to leave a permanent mark in the Pageant’s iconic Bowl in Laguna Beach. When joining the Pageant Legacy Society, members select one of the 2,600 red seats in the amphitheater to have an engraved plaque installed on it, which acknowledges their gift.

There are now 250 members in the Pageant Legacy Society. Proceeds from this campaign helps to subsidize student scholarships, cultural and education programming and operational costs. “We are very grateful for the support received so far through this program. It has been such a great pleasure meeting and talking with our Legacy members and discovering that each plaque installed has a story to tell,” said Sharbie Higuchi, director of marketing/PR at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach.

Seats have been reserved and named in memory of loved ones, recognition of a milestone, or a celebration of memories spent together at the Pageant of the Masters. Below are the stories behind five of the engraved plaques. Learn how you can join the Pageant Legacy Society and add your story at www.foapom.com/legacy-society.

 Colin King from Highland, Calif. requested two specific seats for his plaques to go on. His grandmother, Mary-Ann, had brought him to the Pageant of the Masters nearly every year since he was 10 years old until she passed away in 2021. “The Pageant holds a special place in both mine and my grandma’s hearts. It was the last event we had attended together, so I decided to make a donation to add our names on our last seats, so we can watch the show together in spirit, in perpetuity,” King said. Their names are engraved in plaques permanently installed into the seats they last shared together, Row H, seats 33 and 31.

Jade-Addon Hall of Redondo Beach wanted to give a truly special and memorable gift to his grandfather for his 90th birthday this past October. As big fans of the Pageant of the Masters, he had two plaques engraved with the name of his grandfather Raymond and grandmother, Lolita. His grandfather was surprised and grateful for this meaningful gift. The number 90 also holds a special significance this year for the Festival of Arts, which celebrated its 90th birthday as well in 2022.

Luciana Coutchie of Laguna Beach donated to the Pageant Legacy Society in recognition of her beloved son, LBPD Motor Officer Jon Coutchie, who died tragically on duty in 2013. She picked Row M, seat 13 in the Irvine Bowl in honor of Jon’s call sign M-13.

Pageant Legacy Society Malino and Waldron

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts

Julie Malino and Lynn Waldron sitting next to their Pageant Legacy Seat in the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach

Pageant of the Masters super-fan, Julie Malino of San Diego, donated to have her name engraved alongside her significant other, Lynn Waldon. “For the last 10 years we have driven up from San Diego and stayed in Laguna Beach just to see the Pageant of the Masters. When we learned about the Pageant Legacy Society, we had to get involved,” shared Malino. “We wanted to be a part of something that is bigger than us and helped us feel like we’re part of the larger community. To be able to leave our mark with the Pageant, and help make sure it returns year after year – it’s truly the best gift there is.”

 Longtime supporter of the Festival and Pageant, Lois Mastrocola generously donated to reserve a block of seats in Row M of Loge Center. While some seats are engraved with names of her family members and friends, there are a few that she left blank. These plaques will be engraved with the names of her future grandchildren – the first, Chiara Loren, was added to her family this past August.

Other seats in the Irvine Bowl have been named for current and former Pageant volunteers, Laguna Beach high school graduates, local arts organizations, art lovers, patrons, family members and friends.

This holiday season, consider joining the Pageant Legacy Society and sharing your story. Tax-deductible donations begin at $500 for a seat in the Director’s Tier, $1,000 for Main Tier and $2,000 in Loge. Specific seat requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. In recognition of donations, a plaque will be attached to a seat in the Irvine Bowl and the engraving will be listed in the annual souvenir program and on the Festival’s website. A printable certificate is also available to gift the lucky recipient. To become a Pageant Legacy Society Member, visitwww.foapom.com/legacy-society.

“Dedicating a seat is a timeless gift that can enrich the life of the recipient for years to come. Your plaque will remind future audiences of your loved one, or company, and be a reflection of your personal commitment to help make the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters possible for future generations,” concluded Higuchi.

To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show, visit www.foapom.com, or follow @FestivalPageant on social media. To support the Festival of Arts, visit www.foapom.com/supportnow.


Music Preserves Foundation brings The Dupp Brothers to Thurston Middle School for a live performance

Music Preserves Foundation wrapped up their American Music History 10-week enrichment program at Thurston Middle School by hosting a live music performance by local Americana bluegrass band The Dupp Brothers

The foundation hosted The Dupp Brothers with special guest Andrew Corradini during a lunchtime concert on Friday, Nov. 18, to cap off their American Music History education program. 

The Dupp Brothers performed traditional Americana classics including Jambalaya and Wagon Wheel at the outdoor amphitheater. 

Music Preserves Dupp Brothers

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Courtesy of Thurston Middle School 

The Dupp Brothers performed traditional Americana classics at the Thurston Middle School outdoor amphitheater

“This concert was the finale to our 10-week American Music History program at Thurston. It was amazing to have the talented and beloved local legends, The Dupp Brothers, perform at the picturesque outdoor amphitheater,” said Patti Compton, president and co-founder of Music Preserves Foundation. “We truly appreciate the generosity of our local musicians to give back to our town and help us educate and expose the students to authentic Americana music. I am grateful to the band for their dedication to the preservation of American music.” 

Music Preserves Foundation was co-founded in 2018 by Patti Compton and Anthony Small. Their mission is to inspire and educate the community through the preservation and presentation of music. Through their innovative education programs, students explore the history and cultural significance of American music and discover the pioneers who created America’s art forms. To learn more about Music Preserves Foundation and support their programs, visit www.musicpreserves.org.


LagunaTunes rocks the house

It wasn’t a stadium packed with thousands, it was the Laguna Beach High School theater. An enthusiastic crowd, standing, waving lighted cell phones and literally dancing in the aisles, rewarded LagunaTunes (not your father’s community chorus) on Sunday, Nov. 20 with a rock-star-worthy ovation. 

Directed by Bob Gunn and backed up by a band (Alexander Niles on keyboards, Richard Niles on guitar, Garrett Wolfe on bass and Kurt Hamernik on drums), LagunaTunes launched into a string of high-energy ‘80s hits such as “Beat It,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Footloose.” Decked out in ‘80s outfits (and ‘80s hairdos), the group finished with popular titles from the Swedish group ABBA. 

LagunaTunes singers and band

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Photos courtesy of LagunaTunes

LagunaTunes singing with the band, led by Bob Gunn

LagunaTunes John and Jeff

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(L-R) John Holcombe and Jeff Whittiker show off their ‘80s gear

LagunaTunes backstage

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Hanging out backstage

Props, sight gags and “choralography” during crowd favorites such as “Mamma Mia,” “Money, Money, Money” and a show-stopping “Dancing Queen” drew audience laughs in all the right places. And an all-girl medley of tunes including “Honey, Honey,” “Does Your Mother Know” and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” prompted announcer Pat Kollenda to quip, “This probably set back Women’s Lib 50 years!” 

LagunaTunes city council

LagunaTunes singing at City Council

Sunday’s concert capped a busy week in which LagunaTunes sang their thanks in City Hall to meetings of both the Arts Council and the City Council for cultural arts grants they received from Festival of Arts and the City of Laguna Beach. 

LagunaTunes will reconvene in early 2023 to prepare for a June concert commemorating 20 years. Past, present and new members are welcome to participate – with no auditions – to “build community through the joy of group singing.” 

LagunaTunes Chorus is led by Bob Gunn, known for his past years as director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and, currently, as director of Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone (no auditions). Financial support is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and the City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts funding. 

For more information, visit www.lagunatuneschorus.org, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


“Kids Night Out: Surfing Into the New Year” added to LAM event line-up

In addition to the already exciting list of events coming up, Laguna Art Museum (LAM) has added a smashing way to celebrate the impending new year, “Kids Night Out: Surfing Into the New Year.” Parents and caregivers can have a night out as well, since the education team will lead the participants on a fun evening of adventure.

kids night leaf bookcover

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Photos courtesy of LAM

“If You Find a Leaf” by Aimée Sicuro

Saturday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m.

Storytime Saturday

If You Find a Leaf 

Bring literature to life during a participatory storytime that will have you making and moving! On the fourth Saturday of each month, you’ll craft a storytelling experience inspired by a museum artwork or exhibition to foster children’s understanding of art’s role in their lives. Read-alouds will be supplemented with mindfulness exercises, art-making projects, or in-gallery activities that promote meaningful connections with caregivers and others. Sessions are designed for PreK-2 learners and their families.

If You Find a Leaf by Aimée Sicuro, featuring a collage activity that inspires participants to creatively interact with the nature around them.

Museum members: $7; Non-members: $14.

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

kids night widow book cover

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Book launch and signing on December 1

Thursday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.

Book Signing, The Widow with Kaira Rouda 

Join award-winning USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author, Kaira Rouda, for a discussion and signing of her latest novel, The Widow. Visceral and alluring, The Widow is a riveting novel of marriage, privilege and lies in the cutthroat world of international politics. The event will consist of a brief talk with Rouda about the novel, Washington, D.C., the tradition of the widow’s mandate and suspense. You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase the novel and have it signed. Grab a signature “Widow” cocktail and enjoy the rest of the evening at the museum.

This is a free event, but register by clicking here.

kids night paul frank

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Paul Frank Art Workshop on December 4

–Sunday, Dec. 4 at 12 p.m.

Art Workshop: Paul Frank 

Create a one-of-a-kind Christmas tree topper inspired by the colorful and playful world of Paul Frank. The creator of Julius the Monkey, and many more whimsical characters, Frank is an iconic California designer, artist and maker. Join Frank as he leads the workshop and gives you the opportunity to let your own creativity shine by adding your special touches to your Julius-themed holiday decoration. Supplies included with a ticket.

Masks/Face coverings are requested to be worn for the duration of the workshop. Limited space is available. Advance tickets recommended.

Youth 12 & under: Free; Museum members: $100; Non-members: $120.

For tickets, click here.

kids night alma nova duo

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Alma Nova Duo 

–Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

Live! At the Museum: Alma Nova Duo

Join this flutist and guitarist duo as they perform a Christmas program in the museum. Arrive early and enjoy the museum’s exhibitions and social time.

Live! at the Museum is presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live!
Laguna Live! concerts are partially funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Advance tickets are recommended. Laguna Art Museum members and Laguna Beach Live! members: Free; Non-members: $14 per person.

For tickets, click here.

kids night dec 29

Surfing into the new year 

–Thursday, Dec. 29 from 6-9 p.m.

–Kids’ Night Out: Surfing Into the New Year

Celebrate the new year with a Kids’ Night Out! Kids take over the museum for a special, fun-filled night with dinner, art activities and an interactive surf-themed scavenger hunt around the museum. Caregivers and parents can enjoy a night out, too, as our education team takes over to guide the young learners on an exploration of the museum exhibitions and provide opportunities for hands-on artmaking activities. 

–Registration is open to children ages 6-12 only.

–Advanced registration is required. Additional paperwork regarding policies and registration will be sent to guardians of registered students directly and must be returned on the day of the event.

Museum members: $80; Non-members: $90.

If registering two or more children, they offer a discounted price of $70 per child. To register, click here.

For more information about Laguna Art Museum, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org

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


Film festival celebrates an enduring love of surfing and the people who capture the moments through the years

By THERESA KEEGAN

It’s no surprise the Coast Film & Music Festival has a special focus on water. But this year’s event also featured the evolution, passion and commitment to capturing surfing through the generations.

From the opening night’s intimate showing of Five Summer Stories at the Downtown Hobie Surf Shop, to its sold-out showing (with live music) at the Festival of Arts and right on through to awarding the prestigious Follow the Light surf photography award, the love of this sport was evident throughout the festival.

Both esteemed filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, who in the 1970s was breaking into new film territory, as well as Follow the Light Surf Photography Grant Program (FTL) winner Kalani Cummins, spoke of the magic of capturing surfing as well as the wonder of filming the powerful ocean. The universality of their experiences may span decades, but it is timeless. 

“I had a hankering to do one more film, just for surfers,” MacGillivray recalled of his 1972 film. At the time, he was working with the late Jim Freeman, and they’d just connected with Hollywood assignments and were ready to move onto the big league. But as a Laguna resident, surfer and ocean lover, MacGillivray wanted to capture what was occurring in the surfing – and larger world – at the time. 

film festival honk

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

The popular band Honk, which provided the music for the original film, gathered again to accompany the sold-out showing of “Five Summer Stories” at the Festival of Arts 

 “Surfing was undergoing a shift of its own – boards were smaller, speed was becoming much more important,” MacGillivray recalled. “The culture was changing. There were various aspects of surfing that were controversial at the time, such as competition and losing surfing spots.” 

In addition, the country was changing. The Clean Water Act was signed into law, people gathered en masse for the first Earth Day, women were demanding equal treatment and there was a new sense of responsibility about the environment. 

“It was such a big change in society,” said MacGillivray. “There was a new attitude toward the ocean and the air as resources and that they needed protection.”

film festival greg

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Courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films

Following the showing of “Five Summer Stories” at Hobie Surf Shop, film director Greg MacGillivray signed copies of his new memoir “Five Hundred Summer Stories,” which chronicles his experiences producing movies for the past 50 years 

Five Summer Stories reflects these changes in the various movie sections, with each story lovingly capturing one aspect of surfing. While many thought MacGillivray was developing a new movie style, in fact he admits the separate stories were dictated more by necessity than inspiration.

“We kept going back to Hollywood and then would shoot this when we had the time and money,” he said. 

The movie became a cult-like hit upon its release in 1972. For years, people would return to the theater annually to celebrate the surf culture and lifestyle it celebrated. They’d dance to the joyous music of Honk, and often, would even be treated to a new addition of the film. Five Summer Stories ultimately became stories within stories with the additional footage.

“Everyone loves having the various sequences,” said MacGillivray. “Some are funny, some serious, some were straight surfing and commenting about styles. For the first time, there was a lot of slow motion and people could really see the sport.” 

film festival Kalanis rainbow

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Photo by Kalani Cummins

When a 14-year-old surfer was overcome with emotion, after successfully riding a wave in Tahiti, photographer Kalani Cummins captured the moment, complete with a rainbow, courtesy of Mother Nature

Decades later, Cummins was finding his own way and discovered, at age 15, the power of photography – especially that magical moment when water and surfing was the subject matter.

“At first I’d just shoot surfers from land,” he said. But he wanted to get closer, so he secured a waterproof housing unit for his equipment.

“When I was shooting in the water the first time, it was definitely scary,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in the water when the waves are that big. But you get a perspective that 90 percent of people don’t get.”

film festival opening show at hobies

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Coast Film Festival kicked off the 2022 event with an intimate – and sold-out showing of the film “Five Summer Stories” at Hobie Surf Shop. The crowd was introduced to the event’s lineup and then a discussion with people involved with the film before the showing began. 

Cummins spent his formative years being driven by his parents (he wasn’t old enough for a license) to The Wedge in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach or Salt Creek in Dana Point. He soon realized capturing surfing was a lifetime calling. 

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Winter Fantasy: Sawdust launches holiday festival with snow, song and spirit

By THERESA KEEGAN

It was hard to tell who was more excited with the opening of the Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival this year – the kids, the artists or the parents who were able to let their children run around with cautionary warnings of “Remember, Santa’s watching.” 

After three long years of cobbling together an event due to COVID restrictions, the excitement of being able to freely wander around fully stocked art booths, sipping beverages and listening to live music was evident during opening day of the 32nd winter festival on November 19. The event included the official lighting of the Christmas trees and melodic music performed by the Top of the World Elementary School Honor Choir.

“It’s always nice in the winter because you get the locals who don’t come in the summer,” said Marcus Thesing, glass blower and longtime exhibitor at the Sawdust. “And they tend to buy more with the holidays.” 

New faces

Also, because the winter festival is open to artists outside Laguna Beach, there are often new faces and exhibitions. This year, 165 artists offer everything from bronze doorbell covers to finely crafted jewelry and glass sculptures. 

Art exhibitions, hands-on creative opportunities, a petting zoo, community Christmas trees decorated by local groups and, of course, Santa himself, enhance the festive atmosphere. 

winter fantasy santa

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf had a heart-to-heart with Santa during opening day festivities that included an afternoon ribbon cutting at the 32nd Annual Winter Fantasy 

Heather Reichard was so inspired by the art scene in Laguna Beach that, when she moved to California from the East Coast four years ago, instead of quitting art, she went at it with a vengeance.

“It’s just so exciting here. I can’t pass up this opportunity,” she said. Upon landing in the area, Reichard quickly went back to her chosen passion of creating whimsical scenes from vintage and forgotten items. Many reflect a homey, folksy East Coast upbringing. A potato masher that now doubles as a tree topper reminds her of her grandmother’s kitchen. Crescent-shaped bolts become moons that adorn fun night scenes.

“My works keep morphing and changing,” she said. “It blends my two loves: vintage items and bright, loud colors.” 

winter fantasy vintage

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Artist Heather Reichard, who creates art from vintage items including rulers and kitchen tools, is thrilled to participate in this year’s Winter Fantasy

After moving to the West Coast and seeing the desert for the first time, cacti started appearing in her scenes. Ocean themes are also now infiltrating her usual landscapes and the gathering of Reichard’s work on the wall at booth #603 is a fun cornucopia of intrigue and beauty. 

“It’s been a dream to be in this show,” she said, crediting the crowds and fellow artists as creating a uniquely supportive environment. “I know a lot of the folks and it’s really good people.”

winter fantasy vintage closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Reichard’s whimsical art is inspired by an East Coast upbringing and focuses on family and country homes 

Glass artisans Shea Roberts and Nathan Olvera, first-time Winter Fantasy artists, are having a hard time believing they’re actually exhibiting at the festival. 

“Until the art was actually up it just didn’t feel real,” said Roberts. She spent the night before the November 19 opening day painting their names on the walls of booth #234. Her stained-glass pieces – ranging from intricate astronauts to flowing jellyfish and even wildflower scenes – are neatly propped along the shelves. On the opposite side, Olvera has a variety of glass bowls and sculptures neatly displayed, as well as a bowl filled with colorful hand-blown glass balls. As a 2020 college graduate, he’s had plenty of COVID-era struggles, but since connecting with established glass blowers, including Thesing, it’s been easier to pursue his craft and find time in a glass studio. He looks forward to his scheduled demonstrations at the festival – in addition to thrilling passersby with the wonder of his craft, it’s also the warmest spot to be, should the nights get cold, he laughed.

winter fantasy glass balls

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The hand-crafted artwork of glass blower Nathan Olvera is available for purchase. This is the first year he is exhibiting at the festival. 

Roberts, who works mainly on commission pieces and portraits, is thrilled to move her artwork from her parents’ garage to the Sawdust Festival. 

“I can really collaborate with clients,” she said, and on opening night, already had one piece commissioned to create a lava lamp sculpture with whales. “It’s just so amazing to connect with potential customers.”

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32nd Annual Winter Fantasy filled with holiday magic opened November 19

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The 32nd Annual Winter Fantasy opened on Saturday, Nov. 19 on the Sawdust Art Festival grounds, kicking off five weekends filled with art and festive cheer in Laguna Beach. Winter Fantasy is a one-of-a-kind art festival that offers a distinctive shopping experience during the holidays, highlighted by its 165 local artists who create and exhibit a variety of handcrafted art onsite. Every Saturday and Sunday through December 18, visitors are invited to shop for unique gifts in an enchanting outdoor wonderland, transformed by hundreds of lights and decorations.

32nd Annual Winter Festival Soliz, Kempf and Santa

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(L-R) Sawdust Festival President Andrew Soliz, Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf and Santa Claus cut the ribbon to officially open Winter Fantasy 2022 on November 19

Winter Fantasy features a jubilant schedule of entertainment throughout the show with three stages of live music, community performances, balloon artistry, magic acts, a petting zoo and marionette puppet shows by the renowned Rene’s Marionettes. Photo opportunities with Santa are available every day in Towne Square, between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Additional activities include an exciting program of complimentary winter-themed art classes for all ages, with hands-on experiences in ceramics, painting, mixed media and more.

32nd Annual Winter Festival catching snow on your tongue

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Catching snow on your tongue at Winter Fantasy…simply magical

On Opening Day, the first 100 guests who entered at 10 a.m. had the opportunity to vote on their favorite community trees, which are decorated by 18 local organizations. The community tree-lighting ceremony took place at 5 p.m. with a performance by Top of the World Elementary School Honor Choir, followed by the lighting of the trees at 5:30 p.m. Laguna locals received free admission after 3 p.m. on Opening Day with valid ID.

Winter Fantasy is open every Saturday and Sunday through December 18, and select Fridays, November 25 and December 16, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

For more information on exhibiting artists, entertainment and art classes, go to https://sawdustartfestival.org/festivals/winter-fantasy/.

32nd Annual Winter Festival Christina Scheffee

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New potter Christina Scheffee, Booth 118 with Steen Ceramics

Tickets are available in advance online or in person at the Box Office: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (65+) and $5 for children (6-12). Admission is free for veterans, and children five years and younger. Season passes are $20.

32nd Annual Winter Festival petting zoo

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An alpaca, goat, sheep and more animals await visitors at the petting zoo

Free parking and trolley options are available to Winter Fantasy guests to help alleviate limited parking on Frontage Road due to the channel construction. Guests may park at Lot 16 Act V for free and take the trolley between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. An alternative option is available to those driving in from Interstate 405, Sand Canyon Avenue exit. Patrons may park for free at Umass Global, located at 16355 Laguna Canyon Road, and take the Winter Express directly to Sawdust, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information on parking and trolley access visit https://sawdustartfestival.org/about/directions/.

Winter Fantasy is located on the Sawdust Art Festival grounds, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.


American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222 decorates Christmas tree at Winter Fantasy

American Legion Auxiliary group

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Photo by Franky Duschane

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222 members gathered to decorate their red, white and blue patriotic Christmas tree at this year’s Sawdust Winter Fantasy. Their unit looks forward to this event every year. Interested in joining their Auxiliary? Contact Sandi Werthe at 949.494.6016 for more information. Pictured (L-R): Sandi Werthe, Kathie Cain, Sharon Ashauer and Beth Johnsen.

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