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Laguna Dance Festival: four exciting performances on an intimate stage October 4 - 7…and there’s more

As part of the Laguna Dance Festival’s 14th annual summer and fall program, the organization will bring to the local stage a variety of stunning dance performances between October 4 - 7 as well as two master classes. The program will also include a free backstage peek with Complexions, a one-night-only Bowie tribute, featuring international dance stars in their prime.

Prior to those dates, there will be two free performances at the Festival of Arts grounds on July 29 and August 26, and then a bonus show by an athletic Afro-Colombian contemporary troupe on October 25 at Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Bridge Hall.

Introducing the onstage festival on Thursday, Oct 4 at 7 p.m. is a free dance experience dubbed Backstage with Complexions, offering a unique opportunity for audiences to observe the rehearsal process, speak directly with performers, and gain a deeper understanding of the dances being performed during the Festival. In an onstage demonstration, the Director will work with star dancers from Complexions Contemporary Ballet, leading them through a live rehearsal.

laguna dance one

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Photo by Karolina Kuras

Laguna Beach native Skylar Campbell, a principal dancer with National Ballet of Canada, will return to his hometown to appear in Laguna Dance Festival’s “Stars of Dance” performances October 6 & 7 

On Friday, October 5 – one night only – Laguna Beach audiences will experience the brilliance of David Bowie with StarDust, Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s dance tribute to the late rock icon. This production will feature the rhythms, personas and musical drama of nine Bowie songs including “Changes,” “Rock and Roll Suicide,” “Heroes” and “Space Oddity.” StarDust takes the genre-crossing, gender-bending, boundary-breaking music of Bowie and translates it into powerful, poignant movement to create a tribute to his restless artistic invention.

StarDust made its West Coast premiere at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on April 20. Included in the evening program are excerpts from Complexions’ contemporary repertory. Complexions Contemporary Ballet, founded in 1994 by master choreographers Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, mixes methods, styles and cultures to create groundbreaking movement.

Audiences will have the unique opportunity to see current and future stars share the stage in one spectacular program at the Stars of Dance shows on Saturday, Oct 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct 7, at 2 p.m. Onstage in dazzling duets and solos will be principal ballerina and Breaking Pointe TV reality series star Beckanne Sisk and soloist Chase O’Connell of Ballet West, Laguna Beach native Skylar Campbell and Jordana Daumec of National Ballet of Canada, and Dores Andre and Joseph Walsh of San Francisco Ballet.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet will perform excerpts by choreographer Dwight Rhoden, and America’s Got Talent finalist DIAVOLO/Architecture in Motion will present Knockturne by director/choreographer Jacques Heim. In addition, dancers from USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance’s inaugural BFA class will perform a variety of works choreographed by Barak Marshall, Aszure Barton and Laguna Dance Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates.

laguna dance two

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Photo by Rachel Neville

Terk Waters of Complexions Contemporary Ballet will appear in the single performance of “StarDust,” a moving tribute to David Bowie on October 5, part of the Laguna Dance Festival

The festival’s four onstage performances will be held at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road. Tickets are on sale now at and will go on sale August 6 at Laguna Playhouse.

In addition to these shows, the Laguna Dance Festival will present free public dance performances by Entity Contemporary Dance and Contra Tiempo, both based in Los Angeles, on Sunday, July 29 and Sunday, August 26 at 1 and 2 p.m. at the Festival of Arts grounds’ outdoor stage. 

Entity, directed by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, is a professional contemporary dance company that interweaves modern, jazz, and hip hop dance techniques to present dynamic repertory that explores the depths of human emotionality and connectivity. Contra Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theater, founded in 2005 and directed by Ana Maria Alvarez, is rooted in salsa and Afro-Cuban movement and draws from hip-hop and contemporary dance theater. Contra Tiempo’s dancers create an invigorating blend of physically intense performance that pushes the boundaries of Latin dance as an expressive cultural and contemporary form.

Laguna Dance Festival, now in its 14th year, is regarded as 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 mission is to present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education. Visit for more information.

The Laguna Beach Art Association will host a discussion led by Dr. Deborah Solon on July 26

On July 26, art historian and co-curator of Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association 1919-1935, Deborah Solon, will discuss the Laguna Beach Art Association in the context of twentieth century art associations.

The exhibition currently at Laguna Art Museum celebrates the centennial of the Laguna Beach Art Association. It’s a tremendous milestone in both the history of the art association and the art colony in Laguna Beach. The exhibition is part of a yearlong celebration marking the museum’s history and legacy, honoring those early artists who influenced the fabric of the developing community, and surveys the evolution of the art association through the 1930s.

the laguna pioneers

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Photo courtesy LAM

Early pioneers of art in Laguna Beach

Art associations were a phenomenon of the late nineteenth-century, both on the East and West Coasts. But, no two art associations were alike. The Laguna Beach Art Association was a pioneering organization, whose inception helped determine the fortunes of the Laguna Beach art colony and its artists. 

Although monographs have been published on several members of the art association – and some scholarship has focused on aspects of the organization – this is the first large-scale, critical study to focus exclusively on the art association’s growth and development. The exhibition includes over 100 works by 66 artists, including a number of works by major artists that were seen in the original exhibitions.

Dr. Deborah Solon will present a discussion about the historical art association and its relation to modern times. A professor of art history, Solon has a PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Solon has worked as a curator, an auction house professional, and she owns her own business as a fine art appraiser. 

The discussion will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 26 at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive.

Admission is included with museum admission.

To reserve tickets in advance, visit:

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection is a 20th anniversary celebration at Narrative Gallery, August 10 – September 16

Art dealer Robert Chase met Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel, a while back to discuss her late husband’s artwork. While the world knew of Dr. Seuss’s prolific children’s book illustrations, hundreds of major artworks spanning nearly his entire 70-year career had remained unseen. 

This archive included concept drawings and final line drawings painstakingly created for his children’s books, artwork created in the 1930s and 1940s for early commercial projects, and private paintings and sculpture done within the intimate setting of his studio. Both Chase and Geisel believed this Secret Art deserved to be seen and the historic project began nearly two years later, six years after Geisel’s death. 

Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach will share a rare and compelling selection of artworks from 20 years of The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known children’s books, as well as The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, a mind-expanding collection based on decades of artwork, which Dr. Seuss created at night for his own personal pleasure.

The Art of Dr Seuss

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Submitted photo 

Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection are Dr. Seuss’s three-dimensional “Unorthodox Taxidermy” sculptures with names like The Carbonic Walrus, The Two-Horned Drouberhannis, and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian

Wolghast, to name a few.

Each of these Estate-Authorized limited editions has been adapted and reproduced from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s original drawings, paintings or sculptures.

Additionally, each work bears a posthumously printed or engraved Dr. Seuss signature, identifying the work as an authorized limited edition commissioned by the Dr.

Seuss Estate.

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection has become one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken for a deceased artist. Nearly 300 gallery, museum, and public exhibitions have been mounted in this country and abroad over the past 20 years, garnering both critical and popular attention from the art world and the collecting public. Three major coffee table books have been published on The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection and 77 limited editions of Seuss imagery have now sold out. Most importantly, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) has taken his rightful place among America’s greatest artistic talents of the 20th century.

In her preface to the popular coffee table book on this collection, The Cat Behind the Hat, Audrey Geisel (Ted Geisel’s widow) writes: “I’m gratified to carry out Ted’s wishes and have these works revealed to the world.” 

Join the gallery for a fascinating glimpse into the unique artistic vision of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The exhibit runs from Friday, Aug 10 through Sunday, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Narrative Gallery, 417 S Coast Hwy. For more information, visit

Festival of Arts opening weekend kicks off with

Le PeTiT CiRqUe at Family Art Day on Sunday, July 8

Families and children are invited to enjoy a day full of art and entertainment at the Festival of Arts Family Art Day on Sunday, July 8. From 12 - 3 p.m., the grounds will be full of fun activities, hands-on art projects, and more. Family Art Day, sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union, is free with Festival admission, and children five and under receive free admission all summer long.

A special coupon booklet will be distributed to children upon arrival, while supplies last. Kids will be able to create their own works of art at the Festival’s ceramic and mixed media workshops.

Parents and children will enjoy a special performance by award-winning Le PeTiT CiRqUe, one of the most unique, innovative and inspirational shows in North America, recently seen on NBC’s “Little Big Shots.” This troop of world-class aerial/circus arts child prodigies in dance, music, karate and singing have mesmerized numerous audiences worldwide due to their impressive and empowering message, talent, skill level, and young ages.

Festival of LPC

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Le PeTiT CiRqUe performs again at Family Art Day on Sunday, July 8

Live on the Festival’s newly renovated concert stage will be Undecided Future, a pop/funk/R&B band featuring former students of Orange County School of the Arts. They have performed at numerous venues including the 2016 NAMM Show, Honda Center, House of Blues, Disneyland, Angel Stadium and opened up for the legendary band The English Beat at the Coach House.

The grounds will be alive with entertainment for all ages with an interactive treasure hunt throughout the Festival art exhibit, hat making, balloon art, temporary tattoos and more.

“Family Art Day is a great opportunity for families to work together on hands-on creative projects,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “The whole day is designed to introduce kids to different artistic processes and techniques and to encourage them to use their imagination. It’s always one of the most popular events of the summer!”

For a full listing of events, visit The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part by Southern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5, Pavilions and the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. 

Festival of building

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Family Fun Day, Sunday, July 8, is a day full of family fun and activities

Dates & Times: July 5 – September 1, Open weekdays: 12 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., Open weekends: 10 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., Early closing: Aug 25 at 1:30 p.m.

 Ticket Information: General Admission: Weekdays $10, Weekends $15.

Students & Seniors: Weekdays $7, Weekends $11. Children 6-12: Daily $5.

Free admission for children five and under, military, and Laguna Beach residents. 

Passport to the Arts: A special promotion (funded in part by Bank of America): Passport to the Arts can be purchased for only $29. Includes unlimited admission all summer long to the Festival of Arts, the Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair. Guests enjoy works of art by more than 500 artists, 300 hands-on workshops, dozens of special events, plus a one time, all-day free parking pass with each Passport purchased. Order online at Passports are also available for purchase on-site at each festival location during the summer. Offer excludes Pageant of the Masters. Valid June 29 – September 2.

Sponsors: Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part by

Southern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5,

Pavilions and the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

Location: Festival of Arts Grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For Information & Tickets: (800) 487-3378,

LPAPA celebrates its two-decade legacy with plans for a book: Do you remember your first Invitational?

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association is celebrating a special milestone this year – the 20th anniversary of LPAPA’s LB Painting Invitational. Each year the best plein air artists are invited to Laguna Beach to paint and celebrate the legacy of the those artists who first established Laguna as an art colony by founding the Laguna Beach Art Association (LBAA) and opening the first Laguna Art Gallery in 1918.

LPAPA celebrates

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Courtesy of LPAPA

2017 “Best in Show” Winner, “Before Sunrise” by LPAPA Signature Artist Aimee Erickson

LPAPA is considered the steward of this plein air legacy, and is dedicated to preserving the plein air tradition of painting for future generations.

To mark this anniversary, LPAPA plans to publish a hardbound book to tell the full story. This special book, to be authored by Mr. Jean Stern, the leading authority on plein air art, will be a recording of the Invitational history and the top award-winning artists who have helped celebrate Laguna’s artistic legacy and have become part of the tradition. 

If you remember your first invitational, a $30 donation will reserve your copy of the book and you can play a part in history and be in the book. If you make a donation of $250 or more, you will receive special donor appreciation packages, plus be named in the book as a supporter. 

A $30 donation will reserve a copy of your book below the retail price.

For more information or to donate, visit

Festival of Arts, the premier showcase for the arts, runs from July 5 – September 1

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts will let creativity run wild this summer with the prestigious Fine Arts Show on Thursday, July 5 – Saturday, September 1 and Pageant of the Masters’ “Under the Sun” Saturday, July 7 – Saturday, September 1. 

Celebrating its 86th year, the Festival of Arts’ prestigious juried Fine Arts Show showcases original artworks from 140 of Orange County’s finest artists and offers interactive art workshops, demos, special events, live music, wine and chocolate pairings, guided art tours, and more. 

In conjunction with the Fine Arts Show, the Pageant of the Masters world-famous theatrical celebration of art recreated in tableaux vivants – “living pictures”– will awe audiences nightly with spectacular stage illusions choreographed to original, live orchestra performance and engaging narration.

Festival of Arts Fine Art Show runs from July 5 – September 1, weekdays noon – 11:30 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. There will be early closing on August 25 at 1:30 p.m. 

Pageant of the Masters runs from July 7 – Septemger 1, with performances nightly at 8:30 p.m.

Festival of Arts Painting

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Franz A. Bischoff’s painting, Catching Fish at the Beach, at the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show

Festival of Arts Fine Art Show tickets are available online at General Admission tickets are $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends; Student tickets are $7 on weekdays and $11 on weekends; tickets for Children 6-12 are $5 daily; admission is free for Children 5 and under, Military, and Laguna Beach Residents.

For Pageant of the Masters ticket information and to purchase tickets, visit Tickets start at $15 per person. Pageant of the Masters ticket grants access to the Fine Arts Show.

Festival of Arts is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

Community Art Project presents the colorful exhibition, Pastels

The Community Art Project (CAP) is presenting the exhibition “Pastels” from July 2 – August 8. “Pastels” gives viewers the ability to enjoy the vibrant to subtle colors found in the multi-hued palette of the pastel artist.

There will be a reception on Thursdasy, July 5 at the Laguna Beach City Hall, located at 505 Forest Ave, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. 

Meet the artists and see works by artists Mary Aslin, Gianne de Genevraye, Mike Ishikawa, Margaret Lindsey, Sally Strand, Marie Tippets, Elizabeth Wallace, and David Wolfram. 

Admission is free. For more information on this upcoming event, visit

community art mary aslin

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“Beckoning Spring” by Mary Aslin

community art lindsey

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Submitted photo

“Playa Vista” by Margaret Lindsey

community art wolfram

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Submitted photo

“Recreation Point, Laguna Beach” by David Wolfram

CAP’s mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of Art and serve as a catalyst for Art Education. CAP provides ongoing exhibition in The CAP Gallery, in the Rotunda Gallery space located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Avenue. 

The CAP Gallery is a unique space for juried, solo and retrospective exhibitions. For more information, visit

Art-To-Go is Red Hot at Festival of Arts

Art collectors who love red will enjoy the 2018 Art-To-Go collection at Festival of Arts. More than 100 exhibitors donated originals under the theme “RED HOT.” Works are available for purchase daily, now through August 26, during regular Festival hours.

Art To Go Cunningham

Photos courtesy Art-To-Go

Cunningham Haight’s Red Hot Mama

All media are represented, and subjects include Ferrari sports cars, firemen, sunbursts, and pepperoni pizza. Surprises include opposites – such as a moody photo of an ice cooler, and sexy portraits that convey a red hot theme. Visitors may cast votes for the People’s Choice artist through June 7. Ballots are available at the display. All buyers will qualify to win a two-night stay at The Tides Inn.

Art To Go Rivera

Red Hot by Hugo Rivera

Proceeds from Art-To-Go sales benefit The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts, providing hardship and disaster relief grants for artists in need. View the online gallery at or call (949) 612-1949.

Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, visit

Art-A-Fair VIP event was quite an affair to remember


Photos by Scott Brashier

The happy crowd at the VIP opening of the Art-A-Fair this last Friday was having so much fun chatting and drinking that it took speaker and special guest Christian Okoye, Kansas Chiefs all-pro running back and NFL Hall-of-Famer, a while to catch their attention – but catch their attention he did.

He spoke about his childhood in Nigeria and how hard he had to work to achieve his goals – but how lucky he was to have people who urged him on. “This is what we try to do with our Foundation,” Okoye said. “We explain to kids that there’s a new way to set goals and it’s all about attitude.” The nonprofit, California Sports Hall of Fame, which hosts free athletic workshops for underprivileged kids, was the beneficiary of the event.

art a entrance

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The striking new façade of Art-A-Fair set the tone for the VIP event

Locals attending the celebration included the ubiquitous supporter of all things Laguna, the packaged dynamite that is Heidi Miller, as well as Leslie Mogul of the Playhouse, as well as several of the artists whose work is displayed at Art-A-Fair and their families, friends and fans.

Fifteen-year exhibitor Lynn Wiederman was impressed with the Art-A-Fair’s reinvigorated approach to marketing. “I love this area,” she said, gesturing toward the funky furniture that serves artistic as well as utilitarian purposes, connecting fine art with luxury home decor. “The new façade is a real change, too. It’s out of the box, which is what this festival is trying to achieve. It re-engages people.”

art a crowd

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The crowd was loud, happy to mingle with friends, colleagues and celebrities

Star of the show was not a person but a painting – an original Picasso curtained off from the crowd and a frequent backdrop used by the several photographers on hand to capture the moment with the mingling celebs.

Attendee and abstract artist Trudy Connor was checking the place out as a possible location to consider for her art. “The new entrance, it’s, well, it’s hard to miss,” she said. “It’s large, it’s colorful, and it attracts people.”

art a fair models

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Robert Palmer-esque models added glamour to the evening

Many of the people the affair attracted were beautifully dressed (one man was a symphony in pink), with several of the women (including Robert Palmer-style models) wearing stilettos to die for (or from, if a murderer were so motivated). Wide-legged jumpsuits were also much in evidence.

Petite hors d’oeuvres were provided by Maro Wood Grill, Nirvana, Newport Rib Company and Laguna Beach Brewery and Grill.

Art-A-Fair is located at 777 Laguna Cyn Road. For more information, visit

Festival of Arts Foundation grant helps Laguna Beach Live! extend outreach programs to schools

A grant of $2,000 from the FOA Foundation supported the presentation of talented professional musicians at local Laguna elementary schools. 

Festival of Arts group

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The Argus Quartet

This past March, the Argus Quartet performed at Top of the World and students were thrilled by their playing and willingness to talk about their work and to answer questions. The Argus Quartet has been the Graduate Quartet in Residence at the Julliard School and recently made their New York recital debut at Lincoln Center. 

After the school visit, the quartet also performed at the Laguna Boys & Girls Club and then at the Laguna Art Museum as part of the monthly Live! at the Museum music series.

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