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Laguna Art Museum announces special guest performance for Gala 2019

On Saturday, Sept 21, Laguna Art Museum will launch its second century with its Gala 2019 event from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach. More than 350 guests will enjoy dancing, exquisite wines, fine dining, and an incredible performance created especially for the event.

Jasmine Albuquerque and Lita Albuquerque will perform a duet of sculptural installation and dance, Ash, as a dynamic artistic element during the Gala reception. 

The sculptural installation will consist of ash-covered remnants that survived the fire when Albuquerque’s home and studio were burned in the 2018 Woolsey fire. Mother and daughter will offer this original piece to honor their past and signal the next stage of their lives. 

Jasmine will emerge in periodic dances to interact with Lita’s sculptural work, disappearing between movements to allow guests to witness the installation within and beyond the dialogue between dance and art.

Lita Albuquerque is Laguna Art Museum’s Wendt Award recipient for 2019. Albuquerque has created an expansive body of work that ranges from painting, sculpture, poetry, and multimedia performances to large-scale ephemeral projects in sites around the globe.

Laguna Art lights

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Lita Albuquerque, “An Elongated Now,” 2014

Active since the early 1970s, and often associated with the Light and Space and Land Art movements, she has developed a unique visual and conceptual vocabulary using astronomical images, the earth, the body, color, motion, and time to explore human identity in its relation to the universal. 

She was the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for her Stellar Axis: Antarctica project, which culminated in the first ephemeral artwork created on that continent. In 2014 her outdoor performance An Elongated Now was the centerpiece of Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature, complementing the installation Particle Horizon inside the museum. Since 2015, Albuquerque has served on the museum’s Board of Trustees.

Jasmine Albuquerque is a choreographer, dancer and teacher based in Los Angeles. She is co-founder of WIFE and has performed with companies such as Hysterica, Blue13 Bollywood Collage Dance Theater, and Ryan Heffington’s Fingered. Other performances include Soft Sex, Istanbul Light Festival, TEDx SoCal, KTCHN, We Are The World, Frequency Festival, Jane’s Addiction, and Hecuba at venues including the Hammer Museum, Zebulon, the El Rey, the Wiltern, MOCA, The Ford, The Orpheum, and LACMA. 

Jasmine has choreographed music videos for St. Vincent, Devendra Banhart, Ry X, and Monica Dogra, and has danced in videos for Beck, Laura Marling, Rodrigo Amarante, Lawrence Rothman, Verve Records, Fitz & The Tantrums, MIKA, and Morcheeba. She has a degree in History from UCLA and trained in contemporary dance at The Edge Performing Arts Center and in Budapest, Hungary. She has taught dance in Los Angeles for thirteen years and is currently working on a new piece for the Walker Museum, 2019.

Laguna Art Museum stands just steps from the Pacific Ocean in beautiful Laguna Beach. The museum is proud to continue the tradition of the Laguna Beach Art Association, founded in 1918 by the early California artists who fostered a vibrant arts community. 

For more information including tickets to Gala 2019, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr. 


Watch artists paint platters at Festival of Arts tonight

A special nighttime glazing demonstration will be offered at Festival of Arts tonight, Tuesday, Aug 6 from 8:30 - 10:30 p.m. Visitors to The Art Center will enjoy watching 12 exhibitors paint signature designs on ceramic platters. 

Watch artists Hugo

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Courtesy of The Artists Fund 

Hugo Rivera is among 12 artists painting platters at FOA tonight

The fired platters will be available alongside the Art-To-Go display in mid-August. Artists include Sandra Jones Campbell, Kate Cohen, Hugo Rivera, Vinita Voogd, and more. 

Proceeds from sales support the Artist Enrichment Grant, a program of The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts. The event is free with regular Festival admission (free for Laguna Beach locals with ID) and sponsored by Laguna Clay Company. 

Watch artists eyes

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Courtesy of The Artists Fund 

Platter by Hugo Rivera 

For information visit www.theartistsfund-foa.org or call (949) 612-1949. 

Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Pageant of the Masters featured on The TODAY Show Monday morning

On Monday, Aug 5, Laguna’s very own Pageant of the Masters was featured on The TODAY Show. Reporter Natalie Morales interviewed with Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy about this year’s show and then subbed in as volunteer cast member. 

Then, Natalie went backstage to become living art herself as she went into make-up and costume to be the Cleopatra’s handmaiden in the Cleopatra painting. 

Pageant of Natalie

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Natalie Morales was on the scene for The TODAY Show to feature Pageant of the Masters

“What an incredible honor for the Pageant of the Masters to be featured on The TODAY Show. TODAY reaches more than 5 million people every day though its broadcast, and millions more through TODAY.com and social media platforms. We are thrilled to give their viewers a glimpse of the artistry and the volunteer spirit of the Pageant of the Masters,” stated Sharbie Higuchi, Festival of Arts Marketing & PR Director.

To view The TODAY Show segment, click here. 

Pageant of chairs

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Natalie interviewed Pageant Director Diane Challis Dave about the Pageant

The 2019 Pageant of the Masters performance, themed “The Time Machine,” is filled with more surprises and special effects than ever before. Every night, volunteer cast members step into famous works of art by artists like Vermeer, Dali, Rockwell, and Da Vinci to bring art to life.

Pageant of costume

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Natalie even dressed the part and subbed in as a cast member 

The Pageant of the Masters offers nightly shows through August with tickets available starting at $15 per person for general admission.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.pageanttickets.com.


Laguna Dance Festival celebrates 15th season with three acclaimed dance companies

For its 15th season, the Laguna Dance Festival will present a trio of performances September 27-29, featuring Parsons Dance company from New York City, RUBBERBANDance Group from Montreal, and Ballet West from Salt Lake City, hosted by the 750-seat Irvine Barclay Theatre. 

“We’re excited to present these three acclaimed dance companies, hosted at the Irvine Barclay Theatre,” said founder and artistic director Jodie Gates. As for the change of venue, she said, “We have long enjoyed a warm, mutually beneficial relationship with the Laguna Playhouse. As a result of the Playhouse’s success and expanded programming, fewer dates exist on their booking calendar in the fall months, and we were unable to receive a confirmation in time to announce our festival.

“The upside is the opportunity to expose more Orange County arts lovers to our performances and mission, and the Irvine Barclay Theatre is an exceptional dance house. We are still all about our hometown, Laguna Beach, and are looking at the 2020 season with new partnerships and exciting collaborations. We have also confirmed performances in unconventional venues such as Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Bridge Hall, where Colombia’s Sankofa Danzafro performed in October to a delighted audience.”

Laguna Dance jump

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Photo by Lois Greenfield

Parsons Dance company will wow audiences at upcoming Laguna Dance Festival 

Jerry Mandel, president of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, said, “We are thrilled to be able to host the Laguna Dance Festival for its 15th anniversary performances. Jodie Gates has built something truly special for the community and it is the perfect complement to what we do with our dance series, Dance@theBarclay.

Parsons Dance is a contemporary company, internationally renowned for its energized, athletic ensemble work. The New York Times called artistic director David Parsons “one of the great movers of modern dance” and noted of his company, “this is a ‘dance your heart out’ (at all times, no excuses) kind of enterprise.” 

Parsons and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley founded the company in 1985. It has toured to more than 30 countries and five continents. Laguna Dance Festival brought Parsons Dance to Laguna Beach in 2008 and 2013 to perform “Caught,” Parsons’ signature work. 

Leaping more than 100 times in six minutes, a high-powered soloist appears to never touch the ground as a precisely timed strobe light catches the dancer in midair. “Caught” will once again be performed at the Laguna Dance Festival on September 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Laguna Dance move

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Photo by Bill Hebert

RUBBERBANDance performing Vi’s Mix 

RUBBERBANDance Group is an exciting Montreal-based company exploring the fusion of contemporary ballet and hip-hop. The company was founded in 2002 by choreographer Victor Quijada, a Los Angeles native. 

To watch the group’s performance, visit https://youtu.be/Wosws7nkzEg.

To describe the company’s style, The Guardian wrote, “Super-stretched jumps morph into crouching rolls; top-rocking footwork muscles in on high stepping bourrées; and below the movement’s surface, silky classical phrasing is worked into the choppy rhythms of street dance. The result is a unique dynamic that’s both tough and elastic…true to their name, the group’s performers move together as if connected like a rubber band.”

Ballet West was established in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1963, and has since toured the world to present its remarkable repertoire, including works by renowned contemporary choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, and Twyla Tharp. 

Under the guidance of artistic director Adam Sklute, Ballet West also preserves its American classical ballet legacy. Barclay audiences will see Africa Guzmán’s “Sweet and Bitter,” which received excellent reviews at New York’s Joyce Theater and as a world premiere at the National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City.

Tickets are $45 with student ID, $65 for general admission; $100 VIP tickets include prime seating and a reception in the Barclay’s Jade Room during intermission. 

In addition to the Irvine Barclay Theatre performances, the 2019-20 Laguna Dance Festival includes its signature educational programs, a summer intensive dancer training June 24-28, a master class series, a free summer show at the Festival of Arts, free First Thursdays Art Walk performances, and a November 3 Merce Cunningham centennial celebration in collaboration with the Laguna Art Museum. Not to be missed is a dance lecture-demonstration by New Zealand’s outstanding contemporary dance company, Black Grace, on Sunday, Nov 10. 

Laguna Dance Festival, celebrating its 15th season, is one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. 

Its founder and director is ballerina Jodie Gates, who also currently serves as vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Laguna Dance Festival’s mission is to present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education. 

2019 Laguna Dance Festival Schedule:

--Thursday, Sept 5 at 6:30 and 7 p.m. – Two free performances at First Thursdays Art Walk. Dancers and choreographers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr.

--Friday, Sept 27 at 7:30 p.m. – New York-based Parsons Dance Company at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Pre-show talk at 6:30 p.m.

--Saturday, Sept 28 from 10 a.m. to noon – Educational dance workshop by Parsons Dance Company, Laguna Beach High School, 625 Park Ave.

--Saturday, Sept 28 at 7:30 p.m. – Parsons Dance Company, RUBBERBANDance Group, and Ballet West, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Combined program of excerpts from respective repertoires.

--Sunday, Sept 29 at 10 a.m. – Master class with RUBBERBANDance Group founder Victor Quijada onstage at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine.

--Sunday, Sept 29 at 2 p.m. – RUBBERBANDance Group at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. Pre-show talk at 1 p.m. Master class by the company at 10 a.m.

--October – date TBA – Master class

--Sunday, Nov. 3 – Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr.

--Sunday, Nov. 10 – Lecture demonstration by Black Grace from New Zealand, drawing on Maori and Pacific Islander dance, modern, and hip-hop. Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Dr. 

For more information, visit www.lagunadancefestival.org

The Irvine Barclay Theatre is located at 4242 Campus Dr, Irvine.


AlmaNova to perform at Live! at the Museum on Aug 8 

On Thursday, Aug 8, at 7 p.m., Laguna Art Museum in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! will present Live! at the Museum featuring the AlmaNova duo.

AlmaNova is a talented, classically trained flute and guitar duo presenting an eclectic program of music from all over the world. Jessica Pierce plays the flute and Almer Imamovic plays the guitar. 

AlmaNova to perform at

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AlmaNova graces the stage at LAM on Aug 8 

This innovative duo has been trained in the classical tradition while exploring other types of music. AlmaNova’s great love of all musical genres shines through to their audience by way of dynamic performances and mesmerizing stage presence. 

AlmaNova has traveled all over the world playing their unique blend of classical repertoire infused with music from the Balkans, Spain, Latin America, and the British Isles.

Live! at the Museum is generously sponsored by Compass.

Tickets are included with admission. Advance tickets are recommended.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.


JUDA! Judaic Arts After-School Program begins on Sept 10

JUDA! Judaic Arts After-School Program kicks off on September 10 at Chabad of Laguna Beach. The program will inspire Judaism through the arts with Laguna Beach artists, chefs, musicians, woodworkers, fitness specialists, and nature enthusiasts.

At JUDA after-school program, Chabad strives to keep the curriculum diverse by exploring the full beauty of Jewish traditions, history, values, and culture. At JUDA, students will discover and celebrate holidays together, with local artists bringing the learning to life. 

JUDA Judaic kids

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Courtesy of chabadoflaguna.com 

Chabad’s Juda after-school program starts on Sept 10 

JUDA outdoors makes the whole world the classroom, and through Chabad’s outings will instill Jewish values of kindness, empathy, respect, and joy of living. JUDA kids will take part in the highly acclaimed Aleph Champion program, a highly motivational system time tested and proven to be the fastest and most effective method of teaching Hebrew reading.

The program will be held on Tuesdays from 4:30 - 6 p.m., September to June, for ages 3-13.

For more information, visit www.chabadoflaguna.com or call (949) 499-0770 and ask for Perel. 

Chabad of Laguna Beach is located at 30804 South Pacific Coast Hwy.


Watch artists paint platters at Festival of Arts on Aug 6

A special nighttime glazing demonstration will be offered at Festival of Arts on Tuesday, Aug 6 from 8:30 - 10:30 p.m. Visitors to The Art Center will enjoy watching 12 exhibitors paint signature designs on ceramic platters. 

Watch artists Hugo

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of The Artists Fund 

Hugo Rivera is among 12 artists painting platters on Tuesday, Aug 6

The fired platters will be available alongside the Art-To-Go display in mid-August. Artists include Sandra Jones Campbell, Kate Cohen, Hugo Rivera, Vinita Voogd, and more. 

Proceeds from sales support the Artist Enrichment Grant, a program of The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts. The event is free with regular Festival admission (free for Laguna Beach locals with ID) and sponsored by Laguna Clay Company. 

Watch artists eyes

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of The Artists Fund 

Platter by Hugo Rivera 

For information visit www.theartistsfund-foa.org or call (949) 612-1949. 

Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Three Festival of Arts exhibitors recall their start in art at the Festival’s Junior Art Exhibit

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Thanks to the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, exhibiting artists Molly Hutchings, Anthony Salvo, and Cheyne Walls were able to accomplish just that.

Since its inception in 1947, the Junior Art Exhibit has come to be regarded as one of the highlights of the Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show. Selected by art authorities from thousands of submissions representing schools throughout Orange County, works by over 300 students (PK-12) are on display in the Junior Art Gallery. 

The exhibit has become not only a showcase for new generations of young Orange County student artists, but also a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of continuing arts education in our school systems. The 2019 Junior Art Exhibit is sponsored in part by California First National Bank and Mark Porterfield of Laguna Beach.

The artwork by Orange County students, grades PK-12, never ceases to inspire with its originality and obvious evidence of emerging talents. Watercolorist Molly Hutchings, oil painter Anthony Salvo, and photographer Cheyne Walls remember their first showings in the Junior Art Exhibit many years back, and this summer, they’re all featured exhibitors in the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show.

Three Festival frame

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Festival exhibitors Molly Hutchings, Anthony Salvo (holding his artwork displayed in the 1975 Junior Art Exhibit), and Cheyne Walls

When Molly Hutchings was a tenth grader in 1967, her art teacher at San Clemente High School submitted her first watercolor painting to be considered for exhibition at the Junior Art Exhibit at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts. 

When she found out her painting had been chosen, it was not just a surprise to her; it was the first time she imagined that she could become a professional artist. Molly has been exhibiting and selling her paintings at the Festival for the last 20 years. She has also acted as a juror for the Junior Art Exhibit for the past 10 years, selecting the work of young artists.

Anthony Salvo has lived in Southern California since the age of twelve. That’s when he discovered oil painting. Always drawing and painting as a young child, he knew that art would be his vocation. When Anthony was 16 years old, his art teacher Richard Smith submitted his artwork and it was selected to be in the Junior Art Exhibit at the Festival of Arts. 

“Because of this experience, I fell in love with the Festival, and always thought I might be an exhibitor one day. This summer will be my third time to be in the Fine Art Show,” said Anthony. He is also a juror for the 2019 Junior Art Exhibit. His subject matters range from vintage cars to landscapes and he has been remarkably successful in painting competitions.

In 2000, when Cheyne Walls was a junior in high school, his photograph of a car’s wheel was chosen to be in the Festival of Arts Junior Art Exhibit. Five years later, he became a photographer for Motor Trend magazine. Then he began traveling the world photographing cars for several top automotive brands. 

It was during these trips that he fell in love with landscape photography. In 2012, he juried into the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show. Specializing in panoramic images of the Northern American landscape, he is now an international award-winning photographer.

This year’s annual Junior Art Awards is scheduled for Sunday, Aug 11 at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend and celebrate the talent, creativity, and hard work of these Orange County Students.

The 2019 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will continue through August 31 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person (free for Laguna Beach residents with ID). To see Molly Hutchings’ work, visit exhibit booth #48. Anthony Salvo’s work is on display at booth #35 and Cheyne Walls is exhibit booth #2. 

To learn more about the Junior Art Show, the exhibiting Artists, and the Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show, visit www.foapom.com.


Laguna Playhouse receives $5K grant for youth education programs from FOA Foundation

Laguna Playhouse was recently awarded a 2019 FOA Foundation grant of $5,000 to support its year-round, award-winning Youth Education Programs: Youth Theatre, Conservatory, and Workshops.

“The Youth Education Programs at Laguna Playhouse are perfectly aligned with the mission of the FOA Foundation. Making the arts accessible to the youth of our community is our primary goal and the Youth Theatre, Conservatory, and Workshops help fill that purpose,” said Scott Moore, Board Member of the FOA Foundation.

“The FOA Foundation remains an important partner in support of our Youth Education Programs. We are convinced that participation in the arts is necessary and highly beneficial for all youth. Playhouse Youth Programs provide the joy of live theatre based on classic children’s literature and innovative, high-quality arts education for youth. Grant support also enables low-income children to participate. It is often their first exposure to live theatre,” added Ann E. Wareham, Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director.

Laguna Playhouse chairs

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The Laguna Playhouse stages many outstanding performances annually 

“Support of our Youth Education Programs helps us provide innovative, high-quality arts education for thousands of children throughout the year. Arts education improves critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills, while encouraging creativity and stimulating imagination. Theatre training encourages discovery and innovation, offering children a more complete picture of their own identities and an expanded view of the world around them,” explains Donna Inglima, former Playhouse Director of Youth Programming.

Laguna Playhouse is widely noted for its Youth Theatre, Education, and Outreach programs. The Youth Theatre has been recognized as an “Outstanding Children’s Theatre” by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and Donna Inglima was named Arts Educator of the Year in 2009 by Arts OC. The THEATEREACH program, which brings books to life on stage for elementary school children, was awarded the “Outstanding Arts Entity Award” by Arts Orange County.

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, cutting edge, and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 100,000 patrons each season.

Laguna Playhouse educational programming includes year-round classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre), and is one of the few companies in the region that offer a curriculum-based professional theatre-touring program, TheatreReach, which aligns with the California State Standards for literature, history, and performing arts curriculum. 

Learn what’s going on at the Playhouse at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.   

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Laguna Beach Chamber Singers receive FOA Foundation grant

The Laguna Beach Chamber Singers recently received a $2,000 grant from the Festival of Arts (FOA) Foundation. The choir is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Laguna Beach, performing a spring and holiday concert every year. 

The Laguna Beach Chamber Singers successfully blend historic and anecdotal context into their performances, accomplishing their mission which is to entertain and educate.

Laguna Beach singing

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Courtesy of lbchambersingers.org

The talented Laguna Beach Chamber Singers 

The group’s eclectic repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary, popular to obscure. As venues and outlets for small choral groups continue to dwindle, the Chamber Singers place an emphasis on reviving the classics, resurfacing great yet forgotten pieces, and introducing new compositions. 

The Laguna Beach Chamber Singers is looking for new singers to join the choir by audition. Visit www.lagunabeachchambersinger.org for more information, including rehearsal and performance times.

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