Best of Plein Air named

Best of Plein Air named

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. recently held an opening reception and awards ceremony for their sixth annual "Best of Plein Air" show at The Esther Wells Collection, where 60 of the 200 paintings entered by LPAPA members were on display for purchase.


As a juried exhibition, first place went to Julia Seelos, second place to Walter Porter and third place to Niles Nordquist. Thomas Kitts received honorable mention.

Seelos and Porter have been invited to participate in the 12th annual Laguna Plein Air Painting Invitational in October, held in cooperation with the Laguna Art Museum.


Playhouse's Ryan honored

The Laguna Playhouse, which has celebrated its 90th year, also celebrated another milestone when it honored Production Manager Jim Ryan at the opening night of "Life Could Be a Dream" in July for his 35 years of service to the Playhouse.

Ryan came to the Playhouse in 1975 as an actor, and later served as director, set designer and carpenter before eventually becoming production manager. He has overseen the production elements of countless plays, and watched thousands of actors ply their craft on the sets that Ryan and his production team so meticulously created.

"Nobody will ever know more about The Laguna Playhouse than Jim does — he has tape measures that are older than most of the people who work here now," said Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle. "When I first came to The Laguna Playhouse in 1991, we had a small staff of 10 people, including Jim. He successfully and smoothly segued from the old glory days of a premier amateur organization to the union rulebook and complicated budgeting of the professional LORT theater that the Playhouse has grown into."


Barnicle went on to recall the memories of Ryan standing on the roof of the theater with a hose during the fire of 1993, ready to defend his beloved Moulton Theatre.

"He even scraped out the gutters at five in the morning after a massive rain storm. But a regular part of Jim's day has been to stop in at rehearsals, often with wide-eyed and unabashed joy, because the art of creating theater mesmerizes him. He always has a sense of eager pride when he watches a Laguna Playhouse production. He's welcome in my rehearsal room any time."

As Ryan was presented with his award, he thanked his family foremost for their support, former artistic director Doug Rowe for giving him the chance to build a career at the Playhouse, Barnicle, Managing Director Karen Wood, and the dozens of staff members that have supported him over the years and always "made him look good."

Passport again draws crowds

Laguna Beach's three renowned arts festivals — Art-A-Fair, The Festival of Arts, and Sawdust Festival — have collaborated with the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau and the city of Laguna Beach for the second year in a row to present the Passport to the Arts.

Awarded "Outstanding Arts Collaboration" at the most recent Art Star Awards, an annual ceremony presented by the Laguna Alliance for the Arts, the Passport team worked toward not only repeating last year's successful value offering, but also improving the outreach.

Approaching mid-season, the Passports have already surpassed last year's sales mark and the festivals are expected to sell even more, thanks to the collaboration and support of various community organizations that have enabled the Passport to draw in revenue.

Bank of America showed its support of the program by awarding the three festivals a larger grant allowing them to expand their market reach to a larger audience. In addition to the Orange County region, Passport purchasers are being pulled in from Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties, as well as additional areas in the Inland Empire, according to organizers.


Donation day planned

The Passport team is also planning an Art Supplies Donation Day on Aug. 18, in an effort to reach a larger audience and to give back to the arts community. If visitors bring art supplies to donate with a value of $5 or more, free admission to all three festivals will be offered during that day. In turn, the collected art supplies will be donated to a therapeutic arts organization located in Orange County.

For $19, the Passport offers purchasers unlimited admission to all three festivals all season long, in addition to a one-time free parking pass to the Act V parking lot, in addition to offering guests exclusive savings to selected lodging properties, local shops and eateries.

For more information or to order a Passport, visit or call (949) 497-0521. The Passport is also available to purchase at any of the festival box offices and at the City's Recreation Center during the run of the shows.

Artist Eye features ceramicist

Artist Eye Gallery, 1294 S. Coast Hwy., is featuring the work of ceramicist Sharon Jackman throughout the month of August.

As a modern dance choreographer, Jackman said she enjoyed the challenge of creating form and design in time and space. Later in life she sought a new medium, and working with clay seemed a natural evolution.

"The physicality of the work has similarities to dance. Creating form using the three dimensional plastic nature of clay is comparable to creating form with the human body," she said.

Throwing porcelain on the wheel demands strength, concentration and coordination, for which Jackman said she uses yoga breathing principles to produce the delicate yet strong pressure needed to pull the clay smoothly and evenly upwards.

Initially fascinated with creating highly symmetrical forms on the wheel, she soon found herself manipulating the clay after throwing to achieve organic, flowing forms. While she says the endless flexibility of clay continues to amaze her, she has gravitated to porcelain, the strongest and purest white clay after firing, yet paradoxically the softest and most pliable to work.

"I have always been fascinated with the natural world, and so I became drawn to crystalline glazes, in which a natural process that normally occurs deep in the earth can be coaxed into taking place in the kiln. The crystals grow and slide at will, and seem the perfect complement to my flowing organic forms. Because each piece is unique, each kiln opening is an occasion for excitement and wonder, like a child opening a gift," she said.

College presents Irvine Museum pieces

Laguna College of Art & Design will present a collection of masterpieces of early California impressionism on loan from the Irvine Museum from Aug. 23 through Sept. 26 at the college gallery, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

"Today, with the renaissance of the glorification of nature in art, that spirit is motivating enlightened people in the same way it energized artists of nearly a hundred years ago," said Joan Irvine Smith, president of the museum. "The common bond is the deep reverence for nature, and the common goal is to preserve our environment, and no statement is more eloquent than the silent testament of these elegant paintings.

"Each generation, in its turn, is the steward of the land, water and air. Our time is now. I sincerely hope that the message this exhibition imparts will inspire us all to action in this most pressing obligation."


The free exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.