Newest CAP show transforms City Hall walls into a colorful gallery show, available for all to view

By THERESA KEEGAN

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

The halls of City Hall often perform double duty as they are transformed into a gallery showcasing local art. Currently, the show is an exhibition by Community Art Project.

It only makes sense that a public forum in an art town features artwork, so few people are surprised to know Laguna Beach’s City Hall often showcases local artists. But the exhibitions themselves are often intriguing. Currently, the Community Art Project’s Real & Imagined is being displayed at City Hall.

“The goal of CAP is to expose people to art – to make them not afraid of it and to talk about it,” said the nonprofit group’s president, Charlie Ferrazzi. She said City Hall is an ideal location to make that happen, because many people are there who aren’t necessarily expecting to discover artwork. But the people applying for building permits, seeking parking passes or wondering how to establish garbage pickups do find themselves surrounded with a smorgasbord of art.

“I think it’s great the city does this, and they also involve other organizations,” Ferrazzi said of the rotating exhibits. “It shows they really do consider art as part of the fabric of the city.”

Real & Imagined, which features the work of eight CAP artists, runs through July 27, with a reception to meet the artists on Thursday, July 11 from 6-7 p.m. Displayed media include oil, photography, acrylics and graphite.

“It’s always nice to have a good mix, rather than make it boring

like wallpaper,” said Ferrazzi.

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

Although many pieces in the “Real & Imagined” show feature water, such as Joan Gladstone’s “Tranquility,” there are other subjects as well

While there’s certainly an abundance of water and beach scenes, the diversity of the work is mesmerizing.

David Kizziar’s Crescent Bay is a detailed, colored-pencil piece that offers an aerial view of the bay, looking into the land. Signature palm trees dot the landscape while homes in varying shades of white and gray fill the hillsides.

In contrast, Joan Gladstone’s framed oil of Lifeguard, Diver’s Cove offers bold, bright colors. The lifeguard’s red shorts and the big, bold red lifeguard chair contrast brilliantly with the yellow, brown sand and just a glimpse of blue water at the top of the print. Down another hall, her Tranquility oil is mostly blues and greens of the water, lapping along a brown sandy edge.

Carole Boller also celebrates the outdoors in her work. From the vibrant white, detailed Dancing Dahlia or the colored umbrellas featured in a scene of folks at the beach in Beach Tribe, she captures a moment in time that transports viewers.

Ferrazzi said the City Hall setting is a welcome opportunity to offer art to people in everyday settings, making the pieces more accessible.

“Someone could be at City Hall, and it may not be the best time for them, but as they turn around and look at different pieces, they can be surprised,” she said, adding that it’s often a nice twist, as so many public buildings are decorated with “prints that are 600 years old.”

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

A detail of Elizabeth McGhee’s “Fairy Garden” includes a child donning her own set of fairy wings while visiting the site by the library

Everyday scenes from life in Laguna Beach are beautifully captured by artist Elizabeth McGhee. An oil of diverse folks eating at the patio at Zinc Café is a realistic scene anybody who walks along Ocean Avenue encounters, while her rendition of the Fairy Garden is a setting that always brings a smile to those who pass in front of the library. The detail in McGhee’s work is evident upon close inspection and seeing these everyday moments displayed at City Hall links a segment of people and government in a new way.

“We’ve been really lucky to work with some really good artists who have given us some quality work,” said Ferrazzi.

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Courtesy of Cheyne Walls

The colorful desert scene in Cheyne Walls’ “Echoes of the Desert” offers a beautiful natural setting that is not the beach

Fine art photographer Cheyne Walls has large pieces that defy a Laguna-only theme in the show. His masterful Echoes of the Desert features a sun on the horizon through a naturally formed rock arch. The dry landscape with rock spires, canyons and far-off mountains, as well as the deep reds, browns and oranges are a world away from a small beach town. But it’s a moment that captures nature at its finest.

And Patrice Miller’s photography also reveals natural moments. Her large Passionate Hummingbird photograph printed on metal shows the tiny bird up close, mid-flight, reaching toward a bright red flower. Everything about the image is delicate, from the bird’s tiny tail feathers to the flower’s fine petals.

Lynn Welker’s abstract acrylics add a sophisticated dimension to the show, and Ellen Rose’s mixed media The Newlyweds offers a complex piece portraying a couple on their wedding day who may, or may not be, happy about their situation.

“This show is giving somebody a chance to look at something and also see something,” said Ferrazzi. “People can think you need to be all sophisticated about art. But maybe you simply like the artist, or the art just makes you feel good. When people start talking about art, and really looking at it, the fear goes away. At CAP we just want to keep the conversation going.”

For more information about the Real & Imagined show or the Community Art Project, click here.


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