Laguna Beach Festival of Arts

Entrance Signage for Festival of Arts, 1999. Photos by John Hazeltine

Laguna Beach, CA

949.494.1145 / 800.487.3378


1999 Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California

Entrance Art for Festival of Arts, 1999. Photos by John Hazeltine

July 4 through August 29, 1999


A Southern California tradition since 1932, the rigorously juried Festival of Arts displays and offers for sale original works of art by 160 of the area's most accomplished artists. The exhibit covers many artistic mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, scrimshaw, woodworking & furniture building, glass and fiber arts.

The 67-year-old Festival of Arts will welcome more than ~ quarter-million visitors from nearly every state and many other parts of the world during its eight-week season run from July 4 through August 29. Offering visitors a full "palette" of art activities, the 1999 Festival has something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Many celebrities and leading art collectors from around the world regularly attend the Festival of Arts to purchase juried art for their collections. Actress Jennifer Tilly, pictured right with exhibitor Stuart Christensen, regularly attends the Festival.

Awards and achievements are bountiful among the artists-some have had exhibitions at notable museums such as the Smithsonian Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Laguna Art Museum. Many celebrities and leading art collectors from around the world regularly attend the Festival of Arts to purchase investment-quality art for their private collections.

The art pieces displayed at the Festival cover virtually the entire spectrum of artistic mediums: paintings, sculpture, pastels, drawings, serigraphs, photographs, ceramics, jewelry, weaving, fiber arts, etched and stained glass, hand-crafted furniture, model ships, and even classical scrimshaw. All the works are original -- an element that sets the Festival of Arts apart from other art shows. That distinction "is something many people are unaware of' says Philip Freeman, Festival of Arts director and an exhibitor for more than four decades. Freeman says that the emphasis on fine, original work "is a matter of pride for every artist in the show.


Kids Art

A long-time popular Festival feature is the Junior Art Exhibit, which displays works by talented students throughout Orange County. Arranged grade by grade from kindergarten through high school and numbering about 150, the works are selected from many thousands of submissions. This Festival attraction is organized by curator Jean Freeman and the Orange County Department of Education. Twelve of the children's artworks, one from each grade level, are featured on postcards that may be purchased at the Festival's souvenir booth. The funds raised from this project will go to the development of art lesson programs for Orange County schools. This is one of many ways the Festival fulfills its mission of supporting art education in Orange County.


More to See and Do

In addition to enjoying the displays, patrons of all ages may take guided tours of the exhibit; view hands-on demonstrations in printmaking, ceramics, painting and paper art; and create their own masterpieces at a daily hands-on workshop. Materials, advice and encouragement are all provided free.

Every day of the Festival season, exhibitor Mada Leach (pictured right) runs the Art Workshop, where Festival-goers can participate in a variety of art projects including printmaking, papermaking and collage. This is just one of many additional free attractions the Festival has in which visitors may participate

Admission to the exhibit during the regular run is $5; seniors and students, $3; children under 12, free. The grounds are open from 10 a.m, to 11:30 p.m. daily at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, CA 92651.


Pageant of the Masters

American John Singer Sargent was a master at two types of painting, portraiture and impressionist outdoor scenes. Pictured here is the Pageant of the Master's re-creation of The Sketchers, an impressionist piece Sargent painted while visiting his friend Claude Monet in 1914. This year the Pageant salutes modern art with its theme,The Twentieth Century: Ten Decades of Art. Pictured to the right, two volunteer cast members are expertly posed by costume director Marcy O'Malley in the Pageant of the Masters' version of John Singer Sargent's 1914 masterpiece The Sketchers. Paying attention to every minute detail is crucial to the faithfulness of the Pageant's re-creations.

The Festival of Arts theatrical production of "living pictures" -- The Pageant of the Masters -- began its 54-day-run on July 7. Tickets $10 - $50. A special Gala Pageant Benefit Performance will be presented on August 29. Funds are being raised for the Festival of Arts Foundation, which gives art scholarships and grants to local Students and art organizations.

One of the most recognizable works of this century, Nighthawks is slated for presentation in the 1999 Pageant of the Masters. While this looks just like the original 1932 painting by Edward Hopper, it is actually the Pageant's detailed re-creation with live cast members.

Left: Ankles Away, Miss Liberty at Your Command


Tableaux Vivants

The art form known as tableaux vivants, or living pictures, originated centuries ago in Europe. There, in settings varying from cathedrals to village parishes, nativity scenes -- usually fashioned from wood, papier mache or cardboard-made biblical events meaningful to the general public, many of whose members were unable to read in those days. Through the centuries, living pictures moved into the streets and town squares. The range of topics expanded, too: from the realm of religion into mythology, history, art, literature and even politics.

When presented outdoors, such visual offerings -- called pageants even then -- were mounted on wagons and hauled through the streets and around spacious areas such as public squares. Spectators mostly stood alongside the pageant route, much as they do at modem-day parades.

These pageants, often presenting as many as 30 elaborately costumed displays, were well established in Europe as far back as a thousand years ago. By then it had become standard operating procedure to mark the arrival of an important visitor (a king, perhaps) with a pageant specially created for the occasion.

Not all pageants were on dry land. Some were mounted on barges floating on rivers or in harbors. Florence and Amsterdam were among early settings for such aquatic presentations.

Black and white photos and color photos from interior of Festival and Pageant grounds courtesy of Festival of Arts.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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