New year, new programs: Laguna Beach art programs build upon past success while expanding offerings for 2024 – a look at LOCA


While the new Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center has been popular with various sports programs, this winter will see an added element when serialized art classes will be offered at the South Laguna location.

“Now that we have secure classrooms, we can offer on-going, extended learning classes,” said LOCA Arts Education marketing specialist Mike Tauber. “This allows students to learn in-depth.”

Before LOCA secured these studio classrooms at the former St. Catherine’s building, the organization was limited to offering just one or two classes to address any one art style. Historically, many LOCA classes are offered in a more pop-up tradition, with various studios and community sites being used for a session before everything is packed away so the facility or site could be used for its original purposes.

Now, with a series of offerings at the Recreation Center, art skills can be built upon to create more extensive and professional outcomes.

“This allows students to learn in-depth,” explained Tauber as the multi-session classes allow the learning process to proceed sequentially. “Once you know one step, we can move onto the next step in the creative process.”

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Courtesy of LOCA

Offering multi-session classes with one topic will allow LOCA instructors to build on techniques, such as this leaf image from an Art on the Wild Side class

LOCA Education Coordinator Sherry Bullard believes the multi-session offerings will assist enrollees’ long-term art skills.

“Presenting classes in a series…allows students time to perfect each technique one at a time and create a ‘toolbox’ of skills to work with,” Bullard said in a press release announcing the programs at the center.

The initial winter offerings, which start this month include classes for both youth and adults with morning and after-school schedules. Tauber believes the location of the center in South Laguna will also be a boon for outreach to people who live in Laguna Niguel and Dana Point who don’t want to navigate Laguna Beach traffic. The site also offers on-site parking.

In keeping with a LOCA goal to make art accessible for all, the class prices are well below what private lessons would cost. Class prices range from $25-$50 per class for the multi-session programs.

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Watercolorist Lydia Delgado will be able to address different aspects of the painting process in her three-session program offered at the Community and Recreation Center

Adult classes include the Connect with Nature Through Watercolor, which is a three-session class offered by Lydia Delgado on Tuesday mornings. It will address the fundamentals of watercolor, while also addressing color and design.

“She’ll be actually teaching the techniques of watercolor,” explained Tauber. “It will be a place to try things out, and that way if you make some mistakes, you’re not going to ruin your whole painting.”

The Painting Nature with Oils class, offered Fridays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., is an eight-week class that will offer new tips and techniques each session. It’s designed for both the novice as well as established painters who want to capture the area’s natural beauty. The extended sessions will focus on composition, color mixing and brush work.

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Courtesy of LOCA

The eight-week program, Art on the Wild Side, will include a conservation element, as well as addressing a variety of artistic techniques for area youth

The youth programs at the recreation center will include the far-reaching Art on the Wild Side, an eight-week program on Monday afternoons that will address ocean and canyon conservation efforts with a variety of art mediums and techniques. A new project will be created each week.

And, thanks to the former art studio at St. Catherine’s, LOCA will be able to now offer a ceramics class.

“LOCA has been looking for a kiln for a long time,” said Tauber. Hands on With Clay will be offered for youth ages 6 -11 on Wednesday afternoons. Bullard will demonstrate a new technique each session, including coil bowls, handmade plates, sculpture animals and tiles.

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“The students get to know one teacher, which builds a comfort level for them,” said Tauber. “And the instructors get to know students’ strengths and weaknesses, so they’re able to help them express their individual creativity, and also what to do to make their strong points better.”

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Courtesy of LOCA

Thanks to a kiln that was left from the former St. Catherine’s school, LOCA will be able to offer a multi-session ceramics class for youth ages 6 and up

Tauber explained the on-going, extended learning classes at the Community and Recreation Center offer a happy medium for a variety of artists. The offerings aren’t as intense as a community college class, but they’re more evolved than the one- or two-session programs LOCA has been able to offer, he explained.

“It’s in the middle of those two,” Tauber said. “It allows the student to learn in-depth and get so much better. Ultimately, people will be making more sophisticated artwork.”

For more information or to register for these classes, visit

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