Art is a way of life in Laguna Beach

Nov 01, 2010 by Sandy Schroeder

It starts the moment you catch that first sweeping view of the ocean from Pacific Coast Highway. You’re in Laguna Beach.

It’s still part of Southern California’s surfer paradise, but there’s more here. By the next stoplight, it is obvious; this is a mecca for art:

Galleries are everywhere–brilliant red bougainvillea vines spill over the walls, and if you look to the right, at the end of each street, there is a stunning view of the Pacific, just waiting to be sketched, photographed or painted.

To your left, houses scale the hillside, each one promising a more spectacular view.

On your right is the The Laguna Art Museum, one of the oldest art institutions in California.

I visited the museum mid-week, as workers were scurrying about setting up the upcoming new exhibit (Oct. 31-Jan. 23, 2011):

A zebra striped dune buggy dominates the Museum’s lobby which is the centerpiece for the exhibitor, Sean Duffy–it’s a recreation of the 1964 Baja 1000 racing land cruiser, that Duffy’s father raced in Southern California and Baja years ago. Duffy uses familiar things, like car parts, to capture what it was like to grow up way back then in Southern California.

The other exhibits promise to be equally strong: John Paul Jones, one of America’s leading print makers; Megan Hart Jones, his daughter, A Tribute; E. Roscoe Shrader, post impressionist, and Masterworks, a special selection of landscape paintings.

Right next door, Las Brisas Restaurant is a first rate lunch choice.

A few steps further, and you’ll be at a quaint little park overlooking the ocean. Take a snack or lunch along, and savor the day.

Local artists have always been a focus here.

Founded in 1918 by a small group of local painters, the museum’s emphasis was, and continues to be, on supporting local artists. The current site opened in 1929, and a new addition opened in 1951. In 1996 the museum merged with the Newport Harbor Museum. But by 1997, the pendulum had swung back to Laguna, and the Laguna Art Museum was reinstated.

ArtWalks – November 4th and December 2nd, 6:00 – 9:00pm, is a festive way to sample 40 galleries, artist demonstrations, and related events.

If needed, a tram is available to help you cover all the ground. I would especially like to see more of–the bold steel sculptures featured in the Marion Meyer Contemporary Art Gallery, and I have my eye on the sea turtles exhibit at the Clark Little Gallery.

But if you’re sure to find your own favorites, especially if you are an art lover, it’s hard to narrow the choices.

Laguna’s December 2nd, artwalk will focus on student works from the Laguna College of Art and Design.

The Sawdust Winter Fantasy, is an echo of the traditional summer Sawdust Festival, which is a huge 9-week affair that draws a huge crowd that encompasses art glass, ceramics, sculpture, furniture, prints, jewelry, etc.

It’s very hard to walk away from Laguna empty handed.

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2 Responses to “Art is a way of life in Laguna Beach”

  1. greg urbano says:

    nice informative post, i may never get a chance to visit there but your post took me there for a short time
    greg urbano´s last blog ..Bok Tower and Gardens My ComLuv Profile


  2. Sandy Schroeder says:

    Thanks. I would love to visit Bok Tower and Gardens too.
    Enjoyed your post.
    Sandy Schroeder´s last blog ..Art is a way of life in Laguna Beach My ComLuv Profile


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