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Festival of Arts’ FOA Foundation awards over $100,000 to 22 Arts Grants Recipients

The FOA Foundation helps fund the many art-related nonprofits in the Laguna Beach community, emphasizing the enrichment of children and young adults in all disciplines of art.

“During these challenging times, arts organizations suffer greatly. The FOA Foundation is proud to be able to assist Laguna Beach communities’ nonprofit art organizations,” said FOA Foundation President Bob Earl. “We hope that these funds help to continue the programs that educate our community on the importance of art and cultural experiences.”

Festival of painters

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Courtesy of Jeff Sewell, LPAPA

FOA Foundation awards grants to local nonprofits 

The 2020 Art Grants recipients are:
--Art for Kids, Inc

--Arts Orange County

--Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

--Festival of Art Education

--Laguna Beach High School Art Department

--Laguna Beach High School Drama Department

--Laguna Beach High School Music Department

--Laguna Beach High School Ceramics Department

--Laguna Beach Chamber Singers

--Laguna Beach College of Art and Design

--Laguna Beach Live

--Laguna Beach Museum of Art

--Laguna Beach Seniors

--Laguna Community Concert Band

--Laguna Dance Festival

--Laguna Playhouse

--Laguna Plein Air Painters

--LagunaTunes

--LOCA (Laguna Outreach for Community Arts)

--No Square Theater

--Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund

--Thurston Middle School Drama

For more information on the grant application process, contact Bob Earl at (949) 494-4132.

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LPAPA hosted 16th Annual “Best of Plein Air” virtually

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) recently hosted its first “Virtual Reception” to celebrate the organization’s 16th Annual “Best of Plein Air” juried art show, with live-streamed gallery tours broadcast on Facebook as well as live Instagram interviews with participating artists. This new gallery reception concept was enjoyed by artists and art lovers from all around the country. 

LPAPA announced the following award winners to the virtual audience on March 14:

--First Place: Through the Canyon (11” x 14” oil) by Laguna Beach artist Michael Obermeyer

--Second Place: Laguna Spring (8” x 24” watercolor) by Keiko Tanabe

--Third Place: Crystal Cove Heritage (16” x 20” oil) by Mark Fehlman

--Honorable Mention and Facebook People’s Choice: Back in the Saddle Again (9” x 12” oil) by Fernando Micheli

LPAPA hosted second

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Second place winner “Laguna Spring” (8” x 24” watercolor) by Keiko Tanabe

There were a total of 269 paintings created by 94 artists entered for jurying, with 47 of the top scoring paintings being eligible for the final awards judging and gallery exhibition at the Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach.

LPAPA presents its annual juried art shows at its “LPAPA in Residence” home at the Forest & Ocean Gallery located in the heart of Laguna’s art district. Proceeds from the sale of artwork benefit the artists and nonprofit LPAPA, whose mission is dedicated to preserving Laguna’s artistic legacy established by plein air painters. LPAPA strives to enhance the livelihood of its artist members and inspire the next generation of plein air painters through its youth education programs.

For more info, visit www.lpapa.org.

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No Square streams old shows

No square streams

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No Square Theatre will begin streaming videos of old shows, starting with a not-so-old show, Laguna Palooza’s opening/closing night. No fee, but donations are welcome. Everyone who wants to watch it should go to www.nosquare.org on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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Laguna Beach Live! announces additional cancellations and postponements of shows

By Cindy Prewitt, President of Laguna Beach Live!

It is impossible to keep up with all that is happening and no doubt you are feeling the same. At first, we were optimistic about needing only to cancel one concert, March 25, and then we felt it was imperative to cancel three more: Jazz on April 8 and 15 and Live! at the Museum on April 9. You have been very understanding of the situation and many of you have been extra supportive through donating your ticket refunds to help us pay the artists and support staff. Thank you!

Laguna Beach Cindy

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Cindy Prewitt and Bijon Watson of Laguna Beach Live! 

We continue to monitor as best we can, not only the WHO and CDC, but also the other performing arts groups, many of whom have canceled the rest of their seasons. Looking ahead to our Benefit Show on April 29 with Billy Valentine and to May 13 with Seffarine, we feel it is best to postpone, giving the artists, staff, and venue as much notice as possible. With special thanks to the artists and to [seven-degrees], we are postponing the two concerts to the fall.

We want to thank all of you for your patronage and support. Your many comments of encouragement have really meant a lot to us.

P.S. If you bought tickets to the canceled concerts and have not contacted

us, please let us know if you would like to donate the cost of your ticket (and get a tax donation letter) or receive a refund.

You can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 715-9713.

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Legacy Ball transitions from “live” to “virtual” event

By Cody Engle, President, Board of Directors of LBS, and Nadia Babayi, Executive Director

Laguna Beach Seniors (LBS) focuses on the well-being of our senior community. Since early January, we have been tracking the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, putting in place recommended policies to protect the health and safety of our participants, staff, volunteers, and friends. 

In response to rapidly developing changes and serious concerns for everyone’s safety, LBS has decided to transition the Legacy Ball, scheduled for April 4, 2020 at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, from a “live” event, to a “virtual” event – “Legacy Ball Stays Home.” The spread of this virus and its potential impact on the community, particularly older adults, is not something we can ignore or underestimate. In response to the virus’ spread, LBS is currently organizing a task force to serve the needs of local, quarantined seniors. 

Our Legacy Ball fundraiser provides more than 35 percent of LBS’ annual revenue. Now, more than ever, we rely on you, our supporters, to help continue our vital services and programs through your donations. Though we will miss seeing you all on April 4th, we look forward to continuing our valued partnership. You are the reason LBS is able to provide life-changing programs and services.

What will the “Legacy Ball Stays Home” consist of? 

As a “virtual” event, “Legacy Ball Stays Home” will provide an opportunity for our generous donors to continue their support of the important work of Laguna Beach Seniors. We will be providing a “Legacy Ball Stays Home” program book honoring all of our supporters of the event. We’re happy to report our local Fireman’s “Now You’re Cookin’ Dinner For 8” will be auctioned off online! 

What if I’ve already purchased a table or a ticket? 

We thank you for your generous support of LBS. Our team will reach out to everyone within the next week to ask if you prefer to leave your fully tax-deductible donation with us, or if you prefer to have your gift refunded. Should you have more questions, contact LBS executive director, Nadia Babayi, by calling (949) 715-8102 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How can I support the “Legacy Ball Stays Home”? 

Very shortly we will provide a website link opportunity to buy a “ticket” to the “Legacy Ball Stays Home.” Tickets will be at several pricing levels. Your support will be recognized in the program book. Given the expected demands of providing services to the Laguna Beach Senior community during this pandemic, your support is especially needed and appreciated.

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Laguna Beach Live! cancels upcoming shows

It is with great reluctance that Laguna Beach Live! announces the cancellation of its March 25, April 8, and April 15 jazz concerts at [seven-degrees].

“Music is needed even more now in this high-stress time,” says Laguna Live! President Cindy Prewitt. “But we do not want to take the chance to put anyone’s health at risk and we will strictly adhere to the CDC guidelines.” 

Laguna Beach concert

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Jazz Wednesdays will be rescheduled for later dates 

The nonprofit organization is supporting the musicians and staff who were scheduled for these dates by paying them 100 percent of their fees. “There is no live music without musicians,” Prewitt remarked, “And ticket buyers have been donating the cost of their ticket to help with the compensation.” 

All ticket buyers for these April concerts are being contacted individually and given the choice of donating and getting a tax donation letter or getting a refund on their credit card. The Benefit concert on April 29 with Billy Valentine is being rescheduled to a later date and an announcement will be made in early April.

To donate, click here.

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Laguna Playhouse postpones annual gala

On March 18, Laguna Playhouse announced that it will be postponing its annual gala that was scheduled for March 28, 2020 until October 31, 2020. 

In accordance with all local and state government requests to cancel all large gatherings, Laguna Playhouse has postponed its gala and has canceled the twelve remaining shows of Barefoot in the Park, which had been performing in front of full audiences. 

“This was a very tough decision for our leadership to make, but considering the potential spread of the coronavirus and our concern for the well-being of our patrons and donors, we are confident this is the right decision,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director. 

This year’s gala honoring Board of Trustee Emeritus and Past Board Chair Otis M. Healy anticipated more than 250 in attendance, but is anticipated to draw in more with the new date and Halloween theme. “Thanks to Fashion Island Hotel and our amazing event vendors as well as our incredible sponsors, we were able to carry forward our event to this new and opportunity filled date. We anticipate increased interest and fingers crossed, even greater success,” said Gala Chair Lisa Hale. 

While Laguna Playhouse looks forward to its 100th year in operation beginning in July, the recent restrictions due to the coronvirus have resulted in Laguna Playhouse closing its doors for the first and only time since WWII when it allowed the USO to use its original Ocean Avenue location as barracks for soldiers. This non-voluntary closure is anticipated to have a dire impact on the Playhouse’s annual budget with a decrease in revenue of as much as one third of its annual anticipated budget. 

Laguna Playhouse relies on a great portion of earned income, but more than half of all revenue comes from donations. “We hope that through our outstanding programming and the generosity of our outreach programs in the last year, we inspire donors to consider giving at a higher rate to support the performing arts in their community,” said Doug Vogel, Director of Development at Laguna Playhouse. 

For more information on the gala or how donors can support the Playhouse, contact Doug Vogel at (949) 204-5341 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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LOCA temporarily suspends classes and events, suggests it’s time to get creative

By Carla Meberg, president of LOCA Arts Education

LOCA Arts Education is committed to the safety and health of our community and has been closely monitoring the ever-evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it develops. In view of the fact that all our schools are closed, most business are curtailed, and many of our patrons will be sheltering in place, we are suspending all of our classes and events for the near future. You will be the first to know when we are back up and running. 

For now, we ask your patience as we work through this.

LOCA temporarily kid

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Revisit your inner kid and paint away…

We have also decided to postpone our Birthday Bash, originally scheduled for March 29. We will miss playing “Pin the Ear on Van Gogh” and “cake walking” with you. As yet, we have not secured a date, but look forward to celebrating in late September. 

Time to do something creative

It’s time to do something creative – rehang your artwork, break out your sketchbook, paints or whatever you enjoy playing with. Creativity is contagious…pass it on!

To quote the writer, Neil Gaiman: “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”

LOCA values our members, our students, our teachers and contributors, and our board members who volunteer to guide and expand our organization. We thank all of you individuals who give generously and the organizations from whom we receive grants. Take care of yourselves and those around you.

We will keep you up to date. 

Stay in touch with us at (949) 363-4700 or www.locaarts.org.

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Sparkle Films launches crowdfunding campaign for indie horror film, The Canyon

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Laguna native Cory Sparkuhl, founder and director of Sparkle Films, and Screenwriter Alex Sosi – who grew up here – are excited to announce that crowdfunding for their indie horror short film, The Canyon, has officially begun on the fundraising website Seed&Spark here. 

Sosin wrote the screenplay for the film and is directing the project, and Sparkuhl will serve as Producer and Director of Photography.

Sparkuhl says, “I’ve had a passion for filmmaking since I was a kid. Running my own business for 10 years and producing commercial video content is rewarding. I want to take it to the next level and make a movie that could eventually lead to us producing a full-length feature in Hollywood.”

The Canyon aims to jolt viewers with an unsettling message about the consequences of war and the demons military personnel bring home. The ultimate goal is to enter the finished film into festivals, horror and non-horror alike, as a project worthy of a full-length version. 

Anti-war message with a supernatural twist

The Canyon takes place in 1976 and is an anti-war message with a supernatural twist: Four friends meet one year after the end of the Vietnam War and run afoul of a demonic presence in the creepy wilderness of California, unleashing a haunting truth none of them are ready to face.

Sparkuhl says, “Alex and I go way back. We have known each other since we were at Laguna Beach High School. We became really good friends in the last couple years through filmmaking and movies. I am a business owner of Sparkle Films, and he is a screenwriter that has worked on several films in the industry. We teamed up after quite some time, when he came up with the idea for The Canyon. We both love horror movies and respect old-school cinema and chose this approach to move forward on The Canyon. We have our amazing cast and crew and have already worked together on shooting the initial trailer for The Canyon. Now we are moving to the next phase, which is crowdfunding to produce a film for festivals, etc.

Sparkle Film's poster

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“The Canyon”

“Our plan for The Canyon is to create a short film that will thrust audiences into the same unnerving visual style and aesthetic as classics like The Duel, Deliverance, and Picnic at Hanging Rock.” 

 “It will go back to the classic style of cinema that we witnessed in the early days of the 70s and 80s. It shows the consequences of war, and how our demons can become physical,” Sparkuhl explains.

Sosin adds, “While obviously I wasn’t alive for the Vietnam War, I heard chilling stories from those who served and was always fascinated with that moment in time, specifically with the PTSD soldiers felt even after coming home. Those stories had already been depicted in many gripping motion pictures like Coming Home, Platoon, and First Blood. I wanted to take it further, and horror films of the seventies were where to turn. 

“Even in an era of ‘sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll,’ there still clearly was an underlying trauma felt by the United States and its veterans. I wanted to explore that trauma from a more supernatural aspect and toy with the idea that trauma could be more than a psychological condition. It could, if we weren’t careful, become the ‘monster under the bed,’ a physical demon that stalked us. I thought that aspect was powerful and would give audiences viewing this project a very unique jolt viewing our campaign video.”

Another Laguna Beach connection

The Canyon has another local association. “This was actually shot in Laguna Beach in Laguna Canyon, right by the property line of Anneliese School,” says Sparkuhl. “We give them a special thanks in the trailer for the location. It couldn’t have been more ideal with what we are looking for as far as mood. We intend to film the feature at Whiting Ranch here in Orange County.

“We would love for movie fans to join our campaign and be a part of this thrilling adventure. Click here to access our Seed&Spark page, become a follower, and contribute whatever you can, any amount, large or small.” 

To thank donors for their contributions, Sosin and Sparkuhl are offering plenty of incentives – from social media shout-outs and copies of the poster to screen credits, set visits, premiere invites, and much more.

The filmmaking duo says, “We want to thank donors in advance for your support in bringing The Canyon to life. We truly appreciate any and all contributions and can’t wait to see you on our campaign page. Let’s go make a movie!”

For more information about Sparkle Films, go to www.sparklefilms.net.

To view the campaign video, which fully explains the project, see below.

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Laguna Art Museum temporarily closes

By Malcom Warner, Executive Director of LAM

In the interest of protecting the health and well-being of our community and staff, and to support efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19, Laguna Art Museum is temporarily closed to the public as of Saturday, March 14, until at least Thursday, April 2. Events and programs at the museum are canceled during this time. 

If you have purchased a ticket for an upcoming event, you may receive a full refund, or make it a tax-deductible donation to the museum. We would be grateful for your support. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your preference. 

We will continue to evaluate the situation as information develops. Please visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org for updates, and we will also share information by email and social media. 

We encourage you to be healthy and well-informed, and we hope to see you at the museum again soon.

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