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Plein Air artists paint their hearts out at the Great Paint Out hosted by LPAPA at Heisler Park


At any given time of day or evening, walkers never know what they will come across at Heisler Park; a bearded lizard or a bevy of monks in orange garments (and I didn’t have my phone to document it that time), or a wedding held on rose petal hearts spread across the grass.

Plein air guy with moustache

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Plein air artists enjoy the beautiful day as they paint their hearts out

On Saturday morning, I came across a long line of people with painting gear waiting to sign in for a plein air competition, and of course, I had to investigate. Artists had already set up their easels all along the walkway, so something was obviously in the air.

President of The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) Toni Kellenberg explained that it was the Grand Paint Out, and later provided additional information along with photos of the winning pieces.

Plein air on rock

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Submitted by LPAPA

LPAPA Artist Member Will Thompson perches on the rocks to create his painting

“LPAPA sent out an open call to all artists to come out and paint en plein air with LPAPA Members at Heisler Park from 9 a.m. to noon. The community was treated to exciting demonstrations of plein air painting by more than 70 artists of all levels. The artwork created by a number of LPAPA’s artists at the Grand Paint Out were entered into the Centennial Paint Out Exhibition being held at LPAPA in Residence located at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave, and will be available for viewing and purchase through Sunday, Sept 2, 2018,” Toni explained.

Plein air popular area

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A popular area for painters

LPAPA Artist Member Erich Neubert received the 1st Place Award, LPAPA Signature Artist Member Durre Waseem received 2nd Place, and LPAPA Artist Member Steven Grieco received the 3rd Place Award. 

Kellenberg continued, “Additionally, LPAPA was delighted to be one of Laguna Art Museum’s community partners in commemorating the Centennial Birthday celebrating the official day on which the original Laguna Beach Art Association was founded in 1918.”

Plein air Neubert

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Submitted by LPAPA

LPAPA Artist Member Erich Neubert wins First 1st Place Award for “High Tide”

On Saturday, the museum hosted a free day with art activities, docent-guided tours, community partner programs, and a birthday cake. At the celebration event, LPAPA invited visitors to become part of the legacy of plein air paintings by being photographed putting themselves into the actual paintings. Two of these photos are included in this edition of Stu News. 

Plein air Waseem

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Submitted by LPAPA

LPAPA Signature Artist Member Durre Waseem wins 2nd Place for “On the Bench”

For more information about LPAPA, or to become an artist or supporter member, visit

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your surfboard, the waves are waiting

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Rapunzel Rapunzel

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Great shot of the pirate tower at Victoria Beach one misty morning last week

Laguna Art Museum presents KARBOMBZ! with artist Kenny Scharf

Rev up your engines for Laguna Art Museum’s KARBOMBZ! live event, on Sunday, Sept 16 from 4 - 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Renowned LA artist Kenny Scharf will be painting live on a 2018 Polaris GEM e4, and raffle ticket buyers will have the chance to win it.

This event takes place off-site. To RSVP and receive updates and location information, click here.

Laguna Art Museum presents Car

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Photo courtesy Laguna Art Museum 

Renowned LA artist Kenny Scharf will be painting live on a 2018 Polaris GEM e4; one lucky person will win his “art car”

The artist is known for his participation in the interdisciplinary East Village art scene during the 1980s alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. His works often consist of pop culture icons, such as the Flintstones and the Jetsons, or caricatures of middle-class Americans in an apocalyptic science fiction setting.

For KARBOMBZ!, the artist will paint live, onto the car, which one lucky raffle winner will receive.

Raffle tickets are $100 each and may be purchased online here.

The opportunity drawing will be held the evening of September 29 at the Centennial Ball dinner at the Festival of Arts Grounds in Laguna Beach. Only 550 tickets will be sold. Participants have a 1 in 550 chance of winning. Winner need not be present to win. Proceeds benefit Laguna Art Museum.

Laguna Beach Art Association celebrates its platinum jubilee in style at Laguna Art Museum

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

As of last Saturday, Laguna Beach Art Association is officially 100 years old. Laguna Art Museum (LAM) threw a giant birthday celebration to commemorate the occasion and celebrate the nonprofit’s platinum jubilee. 

Laguna Beach cake

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Impressive cake to honor the occasion

August 25 was the official day on which the Laguna Beach Art Association was founded in 1918, and it was one of joyful observance for Laguna’s art, music and dance communities. LAM hosted a free day with activities, docent-guided tours, community partner programs, and of course, birthday cake, lots of cake. Families enjoyed live music, art activities presented by community art partners, interactive stations, face-painting and more. 

Laguna Beach dancer

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Dancer strikes a pose

There were free docent-led exhibition tours, and a proclamation of the milestone by Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. 

An exhibition of the early days of the Association coincides with the 100-year milestone. It is part of a year-long 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.

Laguna Beach crafts

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Family craft fun from Laguna Beach Dance Festival

Its membership included Laguna luminaries – those artists who exhibited on the national and international fronts – as well as many artists whose reputations never extended far beyond the local confines. 

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

For more information, go to or, or call (949) 494-897.

Square Roots Theatre Education for Kids will hold four upcoming Winter Session classes starting in September 

This year, Square Roots Theatre Education for kids is offering four Winter Session classes to choose from. These classes are open to all levels, beginning to advanced, and will be under the direction of Ella Wyatt. 

The first two classes will take place on Tuesdays, Sept 11 - Dec 18. The first class is titled Musical Performance, intended for ages six and up, from 4 - 5 p.m. This class will focus on learning to perform with your voice. Singing and acting out songs will be one of the main factors, ending with a showcase featuring the final pieces place on December 18.

square roots performance

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Submitted photo

Participants from a recent class perform for an appreciative crowd

The second class in this series is titled Directing 101, for ages ten and up, from 5 - 6:15 p.m. The main focus of this class will be about what goes into directing a show. There will be an opportunity to direct the final showcase on December 18 and potentially be a future director assistant. 

The last two classes will take place on Wednesdays, Sept 12 - Dec 19. This first class is titled Storytelling for ages six and up, from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. This class will focus on story retelling and creating original pieces. 

There will be a final showcase to display created pieces on December 19. 

The second class in this series is titled Audition Technique for ages ten and up, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. This class will focus on learning the fundamentals of auditioning and how to be best prepared. There will be a final showcase focusing on these techniques on December 19. 

For more information or to register for any of these exciting classes, visit

Red Hot Art-To-Go: The sell-out auction will be this Sunday at Festival of Arts

Art collectors who love red will enjoy the 2018 Art-To-Go fundraising sale at Festival of Arts. More than 100 exhibitors donated originals under the theme “Red Hot.” Works are available for purchase daily, now through this Sunday, August 26 while supplies last.

 A sell-out auction will take place this Sunday, August 26, from 6 - 8 p.m. 

“Bids open at 1/3 retail value, so it’s a great chance to start a collection from these prestigious artists,” said Curator Mike Tauber.

Red Hot Art

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Get ready – it’ll be a bidding war at Red Hot’s silent auction

Offerings include jewelry by Lance Heck and Linda Potichke, paintings by Susan Cox, Sue Thompson, David Milton, and Bruce Vanderwilt, plus drawings, photos, and mixed media.

 Proceeds from the Art-To-Go sales will benefit The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts, providing hardship and disaster relief grants for artists in need. Additionally, buyers qualify for a drawing to win a two-night stay at The Tides Inn.

View the online gallery at or call (949) 612-1949 for more information.

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

Fashion Show at FOA: Here are the winners chosen by the esteemed panel of judges

fashion show dog

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Photo courtesy FOA

“Most Exciting Ensemble with Wow Factor” was awarded to mixed media artist Carolyn Johnson, who was accompanied down the runway by her dog Dexter

fashion show light and dark

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Photo courtesy FOA

Painter Kirsten Whalen won “Most Innovative Use of Materials” for her light versus dark ensemble featuring window screens, old light bulbs, wires, cords, sockets, plugs and other fittings that were discarded by local electricians

fashion show bags

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Photo courtesy FOA

Artist Kate Cohen won “Most Creative Concept” with her dress crafted from over sixty designer shopping bags

fashion show lacroix

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Photo courtesy FOA

Adam Neeley received the award “Most Glamorous & Elegant ‘Red Carpet’ Worthy Creation” for his stylish outfit made from more than three hundred cans of La Croix water. Adam’s runway look also took home the highly coveted “People’s Choice Award”

Fashion Show entrants who didn’t receive prizes – but who were winners in the eyes of the audience

fashion show lifejacket

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Photo courtesy FOA

Artist Richard Bohn titled his creation “Healthcare Life Jacket.” The Medicare Donut Hole” is a term that is used to describe the financial hole that one experiences or “falls into” after they have used up their discounted Medicare prescription drug cost allotment.

fashion show wings

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Photo courtesy FOA

While helping to empty out a friend’s apartment, Brad Elsberry came to realize that many of us have amassed excessive collections of cloth shopping bags. These bags are almost all made from recycled plastic bottles already. So, now they are born a second time in this abstract, recycled, “fashion-common” on color and light!

fashion show toilet paper

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Photo courtesy FOA

This dress is ready for the Bathrooms Ball! This ball gown designed and modeled by artist Elizabeth McGhee is made from over a hundred folded toilet paper wrappers. (Note the elegant shoe accessory.)

fashion show plastic

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Photo courtesy FOA

Each week, thousands of people across Orange County take home a new plastic bag and matching hanger along with their dry cleaning. Antje Campbell and Carla Bosch decided to hook up…with a crochet needle and transform these environmental pieces into a gorgeous gown.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Music in the Park – the community’s favorite summer concert series says sayonara for the season Sunday


Photos by Scott Brashier

Last dance, last chance to enjoy Laguna’s best kept secret, the favorite Sunday summer ritual know as Music in the Park will end another sensational season this Sunday with SantanaWays, a Santana tribute band, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bluebird Park.

For many locals, the popular community concert series is a highlight of the summer, a shared tradition for friends and family since 1983, established as a passion project by the late Doris Shields when she served on the City’s Arts Commission.

That first year, Shields had a month to put the inaugural concert together. To facilitate, she called on Leigh Unger, a harpsichordist and music professor at Fullerton College at the time. He was able to gather some of his students and fellow musicians to perform in the first concert.

A lot has changed from those days. Now, the community can thank the Arts commissioners, the Cultural Arts Department, and namely Siân Poeschl, the City Cultural Arts Manager, for making the popular series what it is today. 

“I feel incredibly fortunate to work and live in a community that appreciates the importance of music to our lives. But Music in the Park goes far beyond that, it’s an opportunity to see friends and neighbors, share food, stories, to dance and hang out as a community,” Poeschl said. “That’s very rare and should not be understated as to its importance.” 

music in the one

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Families and friends love to gather at Music in the Park, a local favorite summer tradition since 1983

In 1994, Music in the Park Inc. formed and entered into a public private partnership with the City in 1995 through 2005. The Arts Commission has funded the concerts through the Business Improvement District since 2005.

The concert series started with three concerts at Nita Carman Park. Only four bands played and 30 people came that first summer. Traffic noise was an issue, so the next year, Bluebird Park became its fitting home. 

After the new digs were found, a berm was built for performers. Poeschl kindly gave me a bit of music history, Music in the Park history:

--From 1984 – 1987 the number of concerts increased to four and were held from late June through September.

--In 1986, a sound system was introduced for amplified sound.

--Two years later concerts increased to five with an estimated 800 – 1,000 attendance.

--From 1989 – 1990 the concerts increased to six.

--The following three years the concerts were increased to seven and ran from late July through September.

--The following decade, from 1994 – 2004, eight concerts were held each summer.

--But in 2005, the number of concerts was reduced to seven.

“The concerts are a community orientated event, in a community park setting,” Poeschl said. “Since 2000 a professional audio company has been hired to do the sound. Decibel levels are recorded every 15 minutes throughout the concert.”

Both funded by the City, the beloved sculpture “Laguna Tortoise” was installed by Michele Taylor in 2003 and “Bluebird Park Gate” was installed by Jon Seeman. 

music in the tortoise

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Michele Taylor’s ‘Laguna Tortoise’ is a favorite public art piece adored by people of all ages at Bluebird Park

To find the best entertainment, the Arts Commission reviews hundreds of bands starting in January. Although some concerts are more popular than others, attendance has remained the same over the last five years around 800 to 1,000.

“We are very appreciative to the Bluebird Park neighbors and because of this we encourage audience members to be respectful of where they park,” Poeschl said.

The rules: No dogs are ever allowed at Bluebird Park; there is no smoking in any Laguna Beach park; no set up before 3 p.m.; no open alcohol is allowed outside the park; alcohol is allowed with a meal; no umbrellas are allowed up; and bring only low beach chairs, so that everyone can enjoy the concert. 

“Facilitating Music in the Park requires the collaboration of the Public Works, Police and Cultural Arts Departments,” Poeschl said. “Although the concerts look effortless, it takes months of planning and organization.”

Poeschl has been working with Rick Weirs from Public Works since she started running the series 20 years ago. Last year, Mike McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator, was added to the team.

music in the dancing

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Dancing, laughing, fun and merriment abound at Music in the Park

“Every concert is attended by a member of the Arts Commission, you will see them at the gate handing out the schedule, or hear them introduce the band,” Poeschl said.

Longtime Arts Commissioner Pat Kollenda lauds the series and what it brings to our community.

“MIP is a gift to our wonderful town. I’ve been involved for 25 years and been amazed at how it has grown and how much it is cherished by our ‘Lagunatics,’” Kollenda said. “I am also very proud of the collaboration between City Departments and the support of our City Council! and, of course, much gratitude to Sian Poeschl.” 

The concerts follow the rules of the City’s noise ordinance. To address the concerns of neighbors, the City guaranteed the concerts would be concluded by 7 p.m. with no exception. Although, at every concert, Poeschl or staff get guff from people wanting the bands to play longer. But that’s not an option if locals want the series to continue as they are.

“It is important to retain the community feel of the event, to have generations of family and friends spend two hours together enjoying a variety of live music,” Poeschl said.

music in the musician

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Catch the final Music in the Park Concert on Sunday to savor the sounds

The City funds and presents 16 free concerts – two World Music, seven Music in the Park, and seven Sunset Serenades, which kicks off for the fall with jazz vocalist Valerie Geason at Heisler Park Amphitheater on Friday, Sept 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Until next time…so many City concerts to enjoy, so little time!

Laguna Plein Air Painters celebrate 100 years with Paint Out and Art Show this Saturday, August 25

Join the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) this Saturday Aug 25, as LPAPA Celebrates 100 Years En Plein Air.

Laguna Plein Air Group

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Submitted photo 

To celebrate the official day on which the original Laguna Beach Art Association was founded in 1918, the Laguna Art Museum has invited LPAPA as one of its Community Arts Partners to join the LBAA Birthday Party celebration this Saturday, Aug 25, with a LPAPA Paint Out En Plein Air at Heisler Park. The Paint Out event will begin at 9 a.m. with artists painting en plein air throughout Heisler Park. This is a free outdoor event presented in collaboration with the museum’s LBAA Birthday Party Celebration that starts at 10 a.m. with free docent-led exhibition tours at the museum. 

Join LPAPA at the Laguna Art Museum for the birthday celebration and cake (1 - 2 p.m.). Then starting at 2 p.m., there will be family activities provided by the Community Arts Partners (2 - 5 p.m.). LPAPA will be there with an opportunity for you to step back in time, and become part of Laguna’s artistic legacy and plein air painting tradition all captured in a complimentary photo memory for you. Plan to start your Saturday in Heisler Park at 9 a.m. for the LPAPA Paint Out, then enjoy a full day of art activities at the museum celebrating this historic milestone.

Laguna Plein Air Painting

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Submitted photo 

LPAPA artists’ work created during the Grand Paint Out for the “Centennial Celebration Plein Air Exhibition” will be on exhibit and available for purchase at LPAPA in Residence, at the Forest & Ocean Gallery located at 480 Ocean Ave. Join them Saturday, Aug 25 at 5:30 p.m. as they announce the Paint Out award winners. The artwork will be exhibited and available for purchase at the gallery until Sept 4ember.

For more information about LPAPA, visit

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