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FOA debuts foaVIRTUAL 3D virtual galleries showcasing over 120 OC top artists

The iconic Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is thrilled to announce the debut of foaVIRTUAL, a 3D immersive online gallery experience that allows guests the unique opportunity to explore and purchase artwork from over 120 Festival of Arts exhibitors from the comfort of home.

In May, the 2020 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unlikelihood of mass gatherings this summer. It had a tremendous impact not only to the organization, but to the juried exhibitors whose livelihood and careers depend on this popular annual event. 

FOA debuts boat

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“Tranquil” by Cheyne Walls 

Determined to fulfill its mission and support local artists, the Festival decided to look towards digital and created its first virtual exhibit. This interactive, cyber-exhibition features nine galleries with up to 17 different artists in each gallery.

“Since the cancellation of our shows, we have been hard at work putting together online and art initiatives,” said Sharbie Higuchi, Director of Marketing and PR at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach. “All of us at the Festival of Arts felt that if we cannot, for the time being, bring our guests to the Fine Arts Show to see the incredible work of our artists, then we will find a way to bring our artists to our guests.” 

Encouraging exploration and discovery of art, foaVIRTUAL features a wide variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass, and more. All the artwork is available for purchase from the artist, and just like the Festival’s summer fine art show, 100 percent of each sale goes directly to the exhibitor.

FOA debuts pier

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“San Clemente Pier” by Mitch Ridder 

“We are proud to be able to find new ways to continue to support our local artists and showcase their work, as we have done each summer for the last 80+ years,” said Christine Georgantas, Festival of Arts Director of Exhibits.

Virtual guests may self-navigate around the gallery or take a guided art tour and are encouraged to read the artists’ bios to learn more about their backgrounds and careers in art. Those that prefer a quick overview of all the pieces in the gallery may click on the digital catalog for a full list of art featured in the specific gallery.

“We are already planning future updates, surprises, and user engagement opportunities throughout the summer in conjunction with foaVIRTUAL,” adds Higuchi. “We hope everyone will come back often, visit our virtual galleries and discover what’s new.”

FOA debuts free

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foaVIRTUAL is free to the public now

Organized by Georgantas and produced by Festival of Arts Marketing and PR Team of Higuchi and Meghan Perez, foaVIRTUAL is available free of cost to the public now.

To explore foaVIRTUAL and support the artists of the Fine Arts Show, visit www.foapom.com/foavirtual/

Stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show by visiting www.foapom.com or following on social media @FestivalPageant.

To support the Festival of Arts, visit www.foapom.com/supportnow.

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Laguna Beach Live! Jazz Wednesdays on Forest Ave Promenade postponed

Laguna Beach Live! Jazz Wednesday performances have been put on hold due to recent restrictions.

Laguna Beach Live! announces, “Sadly, we have to postpone our Jazz Wednesdays on Forest Avenue Promenade. As you will know, we are once again being advised not to gather in large groups. The Laguna Beach Live! musicians on Forest have been popular and that very popularity has led to this postponement.”

The City of Laguna and Laguna Beach Live! are concerned primarily for the safety of the community. “In normal times of course, it’s our greatest hope that our musicians will be popular, and our events well attended, but during the pandemic we need to work together to manage social distancing. At this time the music on Forest Avenue needs to be background and ambient in nature.”

Laguna Beach piano

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Pianist Ron Kobayashi put on a stellar performance on Wednesday, July 8

“As frustrating and disappointing as these constantly changing times can be, we hope you will understand that we are working hard with the City of Laguna and our other partners to bring you live music. 

“We very much hope to be able to present on Forest in the very near future and will keep you informed.”

To donate to Laguna Beach Live! and its musicians, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

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Artist and author Ralph Smith remembers his time in Laguna and the creation of cartoons

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Although artist and author Ralph Smith had a studio in Laguna Beach for only a year, the atmosphere in the town sparked his imagination and resulted in the creation of the cartoon characters Lagoony and Hip Hop.

Artist Ralph Orange Inn

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Ralph Smith’s watercolor of the Orange Inn Cafe

Smith says, “I once had an art studio that overlooked the Orange Inn Cafe. And among many other things, I was impressed by the regular flights of pelicans just off shore. This gave me the idea to create a character I named Lagoony, the radical pelican. I recall showing my preliminary sketches of Lagoony to Dennis McTighe while having a coffee in the Orange Inn. Dennis, as usual, was reporting surf conditions to John the owner.”

Artist and lagoony

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Preliminary sketch of Lagoony

Smith grew up in Toronto and was educated at Northern Secondary and The Ontario College of Art. 

“My commercial art period was employment at Sherman Laws and Partners and Sampson Matthews. My art training in watercolors, design, and serious figure drawing represented the fundamentals in art but cartooning was always my passion. 

“For the most part of my business life, I led an advertising agency called Innovators, Inc. This called upon my design and aesthetic abilities to create short-term solutions to marketing problems and opportunities.” 

Artist and hip hop

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Preliminary sketch of Hip Hop

“Another cartoon idea that came out of my stay in Laguna Beach was being in awe of the skill at skateboarding that so many local kids had. This gave birth to ‘Hip Hop,’ the street-wise 10-year-old.” 

Smith has also published two books – an autobiography titled Denouement, Diary of a Lucky Guy and Impressions of the California Desert in Watercolor. 

Artist and books

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Smith has published two books

Smith also had published “Chic’s World,” a cartoon series. Denouement: Diary Of A Lucky Guy includes watercolors of one Laguna Beach’s 10 Oldest Homes, Arroyo Chico, a 1907 house on Cliff Drive, kids skateboarding on Cleo Street, and a picket fence covered Laguna cottage on Ramona Avenue. 

“It’s nice to know that Laguna Beach and the people who help make up its charm have endured.”

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Laguna Art Museum presents online lecture featuring Scott Shields on Thursday

On Thursday, July 23 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum will host an online lecture featuring Scott Shields, Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Art Museum. Shields will discuss the exhibition Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette.

This exhibition includes approximately eighty-five signature paintings. It is accompanied by a substantial, fully illustrated catalogue. Granville Redmond: The Eloquent Palette was organized by the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Calif.

Laguna Art field

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Granville Redmond, “Sand Dunes,” n.d., oil on canvas, Private collection 

Scott A. Shields is the Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He received his PhD from the University of Kansas in 2004 with an emphasis on American painting from 1825-1940. He has twenty years of museum experience in the Midwest and California. 

Having curated more than fifty exhibitions, he has been the primary or sole author of numerous exhibition catalogues, including Artists at Continent’s End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875–1907Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey; A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory KondosArmin Hansen: The Artful Voyage, and David Ligare: California Classicist.

To watch the online lecture, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org/events/scott-shields-on-granville-redmond.

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Artists and poets win at Connecting through Color show 

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts is presenting its Connecting Through Color show now through July 30 online and at Laguna Beach City Hall. Originals by 40 Festival artists are exhibited in 10 color groupings, along with color-themed poems submitted by the public.

Artist awards were juried by Maria Hall-Brown, Executive Producer of Arts and Culture Programming at PBS SoCal. Top prize, best in theme, went to Susan Hoehn for her painting Afternoon at the Met in the red color group. Elain Twiss won First Place for her still life painting of a mason jar filled with crayons. 

Artists and Susan

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Top prize, best in theme, was awarded to Susan Hoehn for “Afternoon at the Met”

Second Place went to Bruce Burr for his surrealist painting in the blue category, featuring ravens and the title creatively painted into the frame. Third Place went to Casey Parlette for his dramatic Hercules Beetle bronze and wood wall sculpture in the brown category. 

 Hall-Brown was challenged with narrowing the choices to four winners. “I am in awe of artists and the miracles they create, so deciding on just four caused me pause time and again,” she said. As a result, she added two Honorable Mentions. These included Migration, a vignette of flying bird in the black and white group by printmaker Noriho Uriu, and Nephi Window by photographer Mitch Ridder. 

Artists and Casey

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Photo by Mike Tauber 

Third Place went to Casey Parlette for “Hercules Beetle” 

 Poems, submitted by the public, were curated by Lojo Simon, Laguna Beach Literary Laureate Emeritus. Fifty-seven poems were received, and 10 were selected. “It was quite a challenge to pick finalists, the quality of submissions was quite high,” Simon said. The curators prize went to Janis Settle Murray for her piece titled “Laguna”. 

Richard Kendrick Ferncase won Honorable Mention for his yellow-themed submission. Additional writings are by Lisa Hughes Anderson, Jan Friend, Jennifer Irani, Ellen Girardeau Kempler, Logan Leeds, Karen Petty, Tom Swimm, Patrick James Whalen, and Grace Wilson.

The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Laguna Beach Community Foundation. To receive announcements, poems, and links to a video slid-show, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To view Connecting Through Color on Facebook, click the Online Gallery link at www.theartistsfund-foa.org

Laguna Beach City Hall is located at 505 Forest Ave. Visits are restricted to business activity.

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Laguna Dance Festival’s “Dancing Solo Together” Thursday series on pause 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut  

Laguna Dance Stern

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The Thursday series has been postponed and will resume live performances in a few weeks. Amaria Stern dancing at last Thursday’s Laguna Dance Festival “Dancing Solo Together” at the Promenade on Forest Ave. As her work deals especially with the movement traditions of the African diaspora, Amaria aims to facilitate environments that emphasize the importance of community and cultural exchange through interdisciplinary collaboration, conversation, and performance.

Laguna Dance Wilkerson

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Lenai Wilkerson embodies what it means to be a 21st century ballerina, defying the inequality that bound many Black ballerinas before her. She is currently dancing as a company member with ballethispanico. 

Laguna Dance Flynt

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Ardyn Flynt has dedicated herself to social dance practices, fusing her conservatory training with vernacular house and hip-hop movement

Laguna Dance Walton

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Rachel Walton is signed with Go2 Talent Agency and has performed with Kybele Dance Theater, Psychopomp Dance Theater, and Traverse City Dance Project

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Patrick Guyton Gallery opens on Forest Ave just steps away from The Promenade

The Patrick Guyton Gallery has just opened its doors at 266 Forest Ave, right at the Forest entrance to the Promenade. It took the space formerly occupied by Lindsey Rapp’s gallery.

Gallery Director Brian Stewart says, “This location was selected prior to the Promenade being approved. The Promenade has been a pleasant addition to the already great location on Forest Ave.”

This is Guyton’s first gallery of mostly all his own work, however, the gallery does carry a few other artists. He is featured in multiple high-tourist locations (Las Vegas, Key West, Maui, Scottsdale) around the U.S. and has an international collector base. 

Since moving to California in 1987, Patrick Guyton has worked as a fine and commercial artist creating airbrush illustration, murals, and signage. In 1997, Guyton joined Linda Jones Enterprises/Warner Bros as a background painter for legendary cartoonist and animator Chuck Jones. 

In his works, Guyton fuses his experience as an animation background artist and sign painter with ancient leafing and glazing techniques to create contemporary masterpieces.

patrick guyton exterior

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Patrick Guyton Gallery at 266 Forest Ave

Stewart says, “The artist has been waiting for a location to open up in Laguna for at least five years so he is very excited to be a part of the downtown business community. He has always had a love for Laguna and its close art community.”

During this time, he was privileged to study under Maurice Noble, who played a role in shaping the animation industry since the 1950s. Guyton designed and painted many background scenes for Jones, the most notable being the background scene for What’s Opera, Doc? – a limited edition animation celluloid (cel). 

This animation cel was included in the film’s preservation in the National Film Registry and was the first cartoon deemed by the United States Library of Congress as being among the most culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant films of our time. 

Guyton was also commissioned by Looney Tunes/McKimson Productions where he became the background painter for classic animator, Robert McKimson, working on McKimson’s Limited Edition Sports Animation Cels. 

patrick guyton interior

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Patrick Guyton fuses his experience as an animation background artist and sign painter 

Guyton’s career has encompassed many different fields. In addition to various book illustrations, the artist designed thousands of milk caps during the POG craze for industry leader Trov Inc., he was the lead character development artist and animation assistant for Honeytree Productions, hand-painted commercial billboards, interior design murals, and has taught fourth grade art at Vineyard Middle School in Anaheim. 

He has expanded to other precious metals in his artwork, such as copper, platinum, and palladium. Since metal will normally expand and contract in different temperatures, Guyton had to develop a way to keep his paintings intact. He experimented for a year on creating the perfect formulation for his boards, eventually creating boards that are metal with a special plastic core. These special boards are now manufactured exclusively for him to use in his art. 

“We have taken all the necessary precautions order by the City of Laguna Beach to ensure the gallery is safe and our visitors and employees feel comfortable working and enjoying the gallery,” says Stewart. 

For more information on Patrick Guyton, click here.

Currently, the gallery hours are from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; and 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Patrick Guyton Gallery is located at 266 Forest Ave.

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Laguna Playhouse Education presents online youth summer camps 

This summer, Laguna Playhouse Education is bringing its signature drama program straight to students’ living rooms, now through August 13. 

In three, two-week sessions, students will immerse themselves in classes led by industry professionals, including: acting for camera, singing, dancing, audition preparation, and playwriting.

Enrolled students will receive ongoing coaching from professional working actors, choreographers, directors, musical directors, playwrights, and screenwriters who are trained theatre educators as well as masters of their craft.

Students will develop skills in the morning and create/star in a full virtual production in the afternoon, presented the final day of class for all friends and family to see online.

Laguna Playhouse outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Playhouse offers virtual summer camps for youth 

This summer’s offerings include (Monday - Thursday):

Session 1: July 6 - 16

Session 2: July 20 - 30

Session 3: August 3 - 13 

--Morning Masterclass session runs from 9 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 

--Afternoon Production session runs from 1:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Youth Workshops (ages 9-13):

--Acting Workshop (Possible productions include: The Internet is Distracting…Oh Look a Kitten, Alice in Wonderland)

--Musical Theatre Workshop (Possible productions include: Alice; The Show Must Go Online!)

Teen Intensive (ages 14-18)

--Playwriting/screenwriting intensive (Production participants create an original performance)

--Acting Intensive (Possible productions include: Snow Angel, The Outsiders)

--Musical Theatre Intensive (Possible productions include: Alice; Edges; Failure- A Love Story)

For complete schedule, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com

Online class requirements (Zoom meetings): students will need a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a camera (built-in or plug-in), speakers, microphone (or telephone), and a broadband internet connection (1 mbs/sec or greater).

Courses will not be recorded. Students must attend during scheduled meeting times.

For more information, contact Dylan Russell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Laguna Dance Festival artists dazzled at The Promenade last night

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Dance Wilkerson

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Lenai Wilkerson – Every Thursday through September 3 from 7 - 8:30 p.m., Laguna Dance Festival presents “Dancing Solo Together,” a series of free live dance solos at The Promenade at Forest with professional dance artists from across the country performing for shoppers, diners, and pedestrians

Laguna Dance Flynt and Stern

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Ardyn Flynt (in background) and Amaria Stern – Each performance is unique, highlighting solo dancers and their creative work. The four performers last evening were all from USC’s Kaufman School of Dance.

Laguna Dance Walton

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Rachel Walton – The dance presentations are intended to enhance the artistic experience embedded in the Laguna Beach lifestyle by offering dynamic and thought-provoking dance performances, while practicing social distancing and promoting the health and safety of all guests on The Promenade on Forest

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Laguna Art Museum receives FOA Foundation grant in support of educational programs

Laguna Art Museum has been awarded a grant in the amount of $3,000 from the Festival of Arts Foundation in support of the museum’s arts education programs. The funds will be used to support school tours, professional teaching artists, adult art education, online programs, and other educational activities throughout 2020.

The museum’s educational programs reach a broad range of audiences, including students and families, who will benefit from the FOA Foundation’s support. Last year, the museum hosted more than 1,350 students for interactive tours facilitated by highly-trained docents. Tours for all grade levels will continue to be offered free of charge in 2020, including the costs of school bus transportation.

Throughout the year, the museum offers family art-making programs both on and off-site. Inside the museum, LAM+LAB is a space supplied with art-making materials and instructions for visitors of all ages. Activities are included with museum admission, which is free for visitors aged 17 years and under. Since March 2020, LAM+LAB projects have been offered free on the museum’s website, making educational art programs accessible to educators and families everywhere. 

Beyond Laguna Beach, the museum offers a free monthly outreach program to an intergenerational audience at the Santa Ana Boys and Girls Club. Nearly 300 children and their families attended the programs last year, with many returning each month to acquire a new art skill. This program has also become virtual in 2020, continuing engagement with families and students in Santa Ana.

The Festival of Arts and Laguna Art Museum share a commitment to arts education with more than 100 years of rich histories and connections to the artistic community of Laguna Beach. The museum is grateful to the FOA Foundation for its important support of the arts and for its generous grant to help fund the museum’s educational programs

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

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