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Local artist Bill Atkins wins Hawaii Island Palm Society T-shirt design contest

Laguna Beach artist Bill Atkins found out a few days ago that he won a contest in Hawaii for his T-shirt design for the Hawaii Island Palm Society. 

Atkins says, “I visited a buddy on the Big Island who just moved into a new house, and he is planting many palms on the property. He also joined the Hawaii Island Palm Society, and through the newsletter, he heard about the T-Shirt contest and sent me a link, back in January 2020.”

According to their website, “The Hawaii Island Palm Society (HIPS) is a group of people who simply love palms and who strive to promote their use in private gardens and the general landscape.” The group’s goal is “to perpetuate rare and endangered palms worldwide, through the sharing of seeds and plants.” 

“I am a graphic designer and do entertainment posters, fliers, projects locally and in nearby cities. Most recently I worked with the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and our Public Works department to create a banner to announce the opening of Forest Promenade,” says Atkins.

Local artist T shirt

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Award-winning design by local Bill Atkins

His other design projects include the Dana Point Time Capsule Celebration with OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, and The Whale Tail License Plate design for the California Coastal Commission. 

Atkins’ posters depict iconic local places and events, including Crystal Cove cottages and the Festival of the Arts, as well as famous performing artists such as Cyndi Lauper. Atkins is also a longtime teacher and has taught digital imagery and art at LCAD and Irvine Valley College among other schools.

He’s donated his time and talent to graphic arts campaigns benefiting the Laguna Art Museum, AIDS Services Foundation, and the Human Rights Campaign. His generosity and warm spirit are legendary.

Atkins’ work has been on display on the walls of the Wells Fargo Building and, for the past 18 years, at Vintage Poster Gallery on Coast Hwy, where his work has proved popular among locals as well as visitors.

To see his work, go to www.lagunaposter.com.

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Sawdust opening delayed, some artists cry foul

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Sawdust Festival artists expected to be open for business on Friday. They learned last week that the city had delayed the opening of the pared-down arrangement proposed by festival officials.

City officials are scheduled to review the situation on Wednesday, based on state guidelines and Governor Newsom’s orders related to COVID-19, said Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis on Monday. 

Festival officials learned of the delay in an email on July 9 from Dupuis: 

“In light of recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Orange Country and the Governor’s recent order to close certain sectors, we would like to inform you that we can no longer authorize you to proceed with your planned events to start on July 17.

“We will be evaluating your plan based on the state guidelines on July 27 and will let you know that day if you can proceed with opening on July 31.

“We are very concerned about the number of guests at each location and recommend that you consider reducing the number of guests previously approved in your plan by half.

“I truly appreciate your understanding as we work through these difficult and ever changing times.”

The email was followed by a telephone conversation between Dupuis and Sawdust President Monica Prado in which Prado was informed that the first two weekends the festival lost from its normal beginning on the 4th of July weekend will not be permitted to be tacked onto the normal end of the show in September. 

Sawdust opening outdoor sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sawdust “Outdoor Marketplace” opening postponed

However, Prado was also told that the city is very open to working with the festival on a Fall Marketplace based on the model devised for the 2020 summer show that limited the number of participating artists and the number of people allowed at one time on the grounds. 

“While the delay is unfortunate on many levels, our artists have for the most part received the news with grace, understanding that we have a duty to care for each other, our staff, and our patrons,” said Prado.

However, some artists are claiming the city isn’t playing fair by letting the Promenade on Forest stay open while keeping the festival closed.

“It’s not fair if one is open to all and not the other,” said longtime Sawdust artist Robert Holton.

Artist Karen Petty asked the City Council for an explanation of its policy. 

“Our show was cut down almost 75 percent and was scheduled to open July 17,” Petty wrote. “It is now postponed while the Promenade has become a popular gathering place, utilizing all festival gaieties including our ‘stilt people’,” wrote Petty. 

“For the record I am in total support of the Promenade and have been for many years. My hat is off to you all who pushed this project through. On the level of the business of City Council, the artists are looking for help to guide us and/or appeal to the County/State for advocating equal exhibition space.”

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Laguna Beach Live! welcomes Dan Reckard to the Promenade stage tomorrow

Laguna Beach Live! continues its Summer Jazz Wednesdays this coming Wednesday from 6 - 8 p.m., with pianist Dan Reckard performing Live! at the Stage on the Forest Avenue Promenade in downtown Laguna Beach.

Safety measures are fully in place on the Promenade, including mask wearing and social distancing (required and enforced). There are also hand sanitizer stations. The public is invited to come and enjoy Reckard’s music safely as well as the dining and shopping opportunities.

Laguna Beach Dan

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Talented musician Dan Reckard hits the stage this Wednesday

Pianist, saxophonist, and composer, Dan Reckard co-leads the group Bossa Zuzu, tours with Jamestown Revival, and is music director for Samantha Sidley.

He has played with jazz saxophone great James Moody, Brazilian pop icon Gerônimo Santana, and South African legend Lorraine Klaasen. Dan has recorded and toured with Crystal Bowersox, Crash, Raquel Rodriguez, the Makers, and Michael Cartwright. Dan grew up in Laguna Beach. 

Using donations from its Members, Laguna Beach Live! is able to pay the musicians but these are especially hard times so tipping is encouraged. 

To learn more or to donate, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

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Laguna Dance Festival presents Dancing Solo Together at The Promenade on Thursdays

Laguna Dance Festival will present 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. The site-specific (and socially distant) presentations will take place every Thursday, July 16 through September 3, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. 

Each performance is unique, highlighting solo dancers and their creative work. 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.

The performers on Thursday are from USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance: Lenai Wilkerson (BFA 2019), Rachel Walton (BFA 2019), Ardyn Flynt (BFA 2019), and Amaria Stern (BFA 2020).

Laguna Dance Wilkerson

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Photo by Gregory Worsham, Courtesy of LDF

Lenai Wilkerson

While studying at USC Kaufman, Lenai Wilkerson also completed a minor in political science, finding ways to weave her dancing narrative into today’s political questions. In defying the inequality that bound many black ballerinas before her, Wilkerson dreams of becoming the realization of the 21st century ballerina. She is currently dancing with Ballet Hispánico on their 2019-20 tour. 

Wilkerson says, “I hope to reflect anomalous passion for movement and artistic endeavors seemingly opposed to my physical makeup.” 

In the last year, Rachel Walton performed twice with Kybele Dance Theater at The Broad Stage and at the Los Angeles Dance Festival. She also signed with Go2 Talent Agency and has worked as a teaching assistant for Saleemah E. Knight. This summer, Walton will be dancing with Traverse City Dance Project in Michigan and New York City, as well as participating in a film project for artist Porcelain. Currently, Walton is working on a collaboration with William Forsythe in Germany. 

Laguna Dance Walton

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival

Rachel Walton

She would like to dance professionally in both concert and commercial industries during her career, as well as create technology for dancers. 

Walton works “to fuse art and technology through collaborative projects, in order to share the importance of utilizing creativity within the everyday.” She hopes “to spread a little more joy to the world in order to make a positive impact on friends and strangers alike.”

During the last four years, Ardyn Flynt has put hours upon hours into social dance practices, engaging with house and hip-hop communities in L.A. and fusing her conservatory training with vernacular movement. She has taught her methods at the “Art Of” ballet intensive in Zurich, Switzerland with William Forsythe’s approval, and will teach there again this summer. 

Laguna Dance Flynt

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival

Ardyn Flynt

Flynt will also teach at the Paul Taylor Intensive in Los Angeles, as well as at the Laguna Dance Festival. She aims to continue to explore the synthesis between each of the styles in her arsenal and contribute her research in higher education. 

“I want to illustrate the poignancy of dance as a communicative tool through comedy, movement, music and text,” she said. “In doing so, I also want to celebrate the individuality of each dancer as a corporeal conversationalist.” 

Laguna Dance Stern

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival

Amaria Stern

A native of Dallas, Texas, Amaria Stern is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. At the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she was introduced to a wide array of black vernacular styles and is currently pursuing her BFA in Dance with a concentration in Black Dance traditions. 

In addition to working with renowned choreographers at USC Kaufman, she has worked on film projects with both up-and-coming and established artists, including Solange Knowles. An aspiring educator with a passion for ethnographic research, Amaria recently traveled to Ghana to study traditional Ghanaian dance and music at the Dagbe Cultural Institute. She hopes to utilize her leadership experience with various cultural and religious organizations to create spaces for artists to explore the intersections of culture, art, and spirituality.

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

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Laguna Beach Live! held successful live jazz event at The Promenade on Wednesday

Wednesday, July 8 saw the first of a series of performances from Laguna Beach Live! at the Stage on Forest, Forest Avenue Promenade. Safety measures are fully in place on The Promenade, which allowed listeners to relax and enjoy the lively performance. 

A much-needed and long-awaited Live! performance was given by Jazz Pianist Ron Kobayashi. To the delight of the audience, Jazz Vocalist Debi Raven joined Ron on stage for a couple of numbers. 

Laguna Beach umbrella

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Pianist Ron Kobayashi put on a stellar performance on Wednesday 

The series continues through September 2 on Wednesdays from 6 - 8 p.m. Next up on Wednesday, July 15 is pianist Dan Reckard.

Thanks to the City and the Arts Commission for creating this fantastic space, where Laguna Beach Live! can continue to provide outstanding music, give employment to its artists, and fulfill its mission of making Laguna a music town.

For more information on Laguna Beach Live!, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

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Festival Artists stay connected through color

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. Proceeds from sales support the hardship fund for artists in need.

“It’s really striking to see the gallery organized by color,” said Chris Brazelton, Artists Fund Board Member. “I especially like the green group,” he remarked about an abstract piece by printmaker Anne Moore, a fantasy painting of nocturnal creatures by Yuri Kuznetsov, and a geometric female figure by ceramicist Fred Stodder. 

Festival Artists wall

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Artist Chris Brazelton with his art display 

“Many viewers are surprised by all the sculptural pieces,” said exhibit curator Mike Tauber. Examples include a blue ice necklace by jeweler Sheri Cohen, a Hercules beetle in exotic wood by Casey Parlette, and an expressionist bird sculpture by Kate Cohen. The exhibit is highlighted by a custom wall installation of blown glass spheres titled “Happiness” by Christopher Jeffries. 

Color-themed poems, submitted by the public, will be added in mid-July. Fifty-seven poems were received and curated by Laguna Literary Laureate Emeritus Lojo Simon. “I was impressed by the quality of the writing!” she said. Selected poems, as well as the Curators Prize poetry winner, will appear at City Hall and in The Artists Fund newsletters. 

Festival Artists Bruce

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Artwork by Bruce Burr 

Art lovers everywhere are invited to cast votes for the People’s Choice award category. One voter will win a $150 buyers credit toward the purchase of any item in the show. Voters must be 21, and one vote per person is invited. To enter, email item number and artists name to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline to cast votes is July 17.

The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Laguna Beach Community Foundation. To view “Connecting Through Color,” click the Online Gallery link at www.theartistsfund-foa.org or visit Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave, during regular business hours. Mask and distancing codes apply. 

For more information, call (949) 612-1949.

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Laguna Art Museum presents monthly Film Night online on July 16

On Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum will host its monthly Film Night online for the premier screening of Tony DeLap: An Exhibition and All That Jazz. This documentary is on the late California artist and his 2018 retrospective exhibition at LAM. 

In late February 2018, Laguna Art Museum opened the acclaimed exhibition Tony DeLap: A Retrospective. Tony was an integral part of the design of the show, and nearly a year earlier he began planning the exhibition that would fill the entire museum and celebrate his long and influential career. 

Laguna Art Tony DeLap

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LAM’s Film Night will feature the premier screening of “Tony DeLap: An Exhibition and All That Jazz” 

Dale Schierholt took the opportunity to tag along, camera in hand, to witness as much of the process as possible. From early brainstorming sessions to the five days of installation, he was there to capture much of what went into the making of the exhibition.

Admission is pay-as-you-wish. Pre-registration is required.

To steam online, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

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Laguna Playhouse postpones 100th anniversary season until early 2021

After careful consideration, and due to the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, Laguna Playhouse will delay the start of its centennial season to early 2021. 

Due to the delay of the season, the Playhouse will be making some changes to the previously announced lineup. While this still remains fluid, the artistic team remains dedicated to fulfilling its promise of delivering seven world-class shows during the Playhouse’s centennial season.

The Playhouse looks forward to sharing updated developments as they are confirmed.

Laguna Playhouse outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Playhouse postpones 100th anniversary season due to COVID-19 

In the meantime, the Playhouse is working on bringing the community its favorite artists virtually; the Playhouse plans on offering various virtual programming until it is safe to open the Moulton Theatre doors again. 

Like all theatres, the Playhouse can’t wait to welcome back staff and audiences, to celebrate the Playhouse’s 100th anniversary and enjoy and experience the art we all love so much. Details on virtual programming will be announced shortly.

For more information, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

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New mural for Sawdust

New mural Julie

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

As the reimagined Sawdust Festival readies for opening as an Outdoor Marketplace on July 17, fresh sawdust has been laid down, and the entrance features a new mural by Julie Setterholm. The Marketplace will run through September 6 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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JoAnne Artman Gallery opens second location with inaugural exhibit How The West Was Won

JoAnne Artman Gallery announces a new, additional location on gallery row in Laguna Beach at 346 N Coast Hwy. The new location opened with the exhibition How The West Was Won, featuring the imaginative works of America Martin, Billy Schenck, and Greg Miller. The gallery is open by appointment.

This exciting expansion will enable JoAnne Artman Gallery to continue offering the acclaimed and dynamic shows for which it is known, while broadening its development in showcasing further new arrivals and backroom inventory at its flagship Laguna Beach location. 

Looking to the future, JoAnne Artman will continue delivering thought-provoking exhibitions with exciting and innovative art by some of the world’s best talents in both Laguna Beach and New York.

JoAnne Artman exterior

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JoAnne Artman Gallery – second location at 346 N Coast Hwy

How the West Was Won is abundant in history, landscape, and folklore. The American Frontier was once synonymous with the cowboy’s take on the American Dream. The romance of the Old West and the temptation of corruption and vigilantism that juxtaposes its unbridled purity remind modernity of the freedoms it represents in our imaginations. 

The idealized West of shootouts and damsels in distress has been ingrained into the American identity, and its celebrated culture has tremendous influence on television, movies, clothing, art literature, and poetry. Examining how dime novels, pulp fiction art, comic books, and other forms of visual art created these fictional, often sensational, versions of people, places, and historical events of the West, artists America Martin, Billy Schenck, and Greg Miller examine these themes and incorporate the legacy and fantastical elements of Western Expansion into their art.

JoAnne Artman Martin

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“Untitled Native” by America Martin

L.A.-based artist America Martin draws inspiration from her Colombian heritage, the natural world, as well as the landscape of Southern California. Her work frequently features the human figure shown in relationship to nature, with animals and plants used analogously to traits of personality. Martin works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, yet her unique use of line and portrayal of form is notable across medium. In her recent body of work, she returns to the subject of Native American portraits, mixing indigenous motifs with her signature style and featuring depictions of the human form as solid, grounded, and in tune with its environment and spirit.

JoAnne Artman Schenck

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“Virginia” by Billy Schenck

Billy Schenck utilizes specific frames of reference in his oil on canvas depictions of the American West, establishing visual links between notable moments of American and film history, along with the history of visual modes of production. Stark contrasts, use of pattern, vivid hues, and a pop sensibility imbibe the work with a contemporary edge, while taking on some of the most popular tropes of Hollywood’s film industry. 

Greg Miller’s mixed media approach ties together the history of Pop Art, the processes of collage and assemblage, as well as the concepts of urban decay and collective memory. Utilizing collected paper ephemera, Miller draws on his urban Californian roots to create tangible, evocative, visual narratives across his compositions through both image and text, with moments of poetic juxtaposition and historical allusion. 

JoAnne Artman Miller

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 “True” by Greg Miller

JoAnne and JoAnne Artman Gallery thank their award-winning artists, loyal clients, and everyone who has visited the gallery, for their continued support. They look forward to this exciting new chapter and continuing their relationship with the Laguna Beach community!

JoAnne Artman Galleries are located at 346 N Coast Hwy and 326 N Coast Hwy. To contact JoAnne Artman, call (949) 510-5481 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

For more information, go to www.joanneartmangallery.com.

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