The restaurant [seven-degrees] rolled out the purple carpet Sunday to welcome the royalty of the Laguna Beach arts community.
The crowd at the sold-out event supped and celebrated the state of the arts in Laguna at the Art Stars Awards dinner in stellar fashion, honoring the winners, the nominees and their supporters.
Guests at the 7th Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts event were also treated to musical entertainment by Laguna Flutes at the reception and the musical duo of Yael and Vlady during dinner, an excellent dinner catered by [seven-degrees] chef and a star turn by actress, stand-up comedian and author Rita Rudner.
Rudner manages to take the same shots at men and her husband, in particular, as the more raucous Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, without offending the males in the audience while entrancing the females. Just ask any woman at the dinner if Rudner wasn't spot-on in her comments about male-pattern blindness when opening a refrigerator door or their inability to see the difference between decorative pillows and pillows on which to sleep.
The event began with an outdoor reception, highlighted by unveiling of "Feeding Frenzy," a 20-foot-tall indoor sculpture, created by master glass blower John Barber, the 2012 recipient of the [seven-degrees] of Inspiration grant.
Winding ropes of lights illuminate the 200 pieces of blown glass that Barber likened to a feeding frenzy of fish, hence the name.
This year's $5,000 grant was awarded to Ed Peterson who proposed a Laguna Concert Band and the Laguna College of Art + Design collaboration to create an original musical score for film to be produced by the Animation Master Class under the artistic direction of Stephen Chodo for exhibition at film festivals.
Dora Wexall and Mark Orgill of [seven-degrees] made the presentation.
More than 50 applications were submitted for the seven awards presented by the alliance, a partnership established in 2002 to advocate for the arts, promote cooperation among the members and serve as a united voice for the arts in the city.
Alliance members include Laguna's Arts Commission, the three art festivals, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Dance Festival, Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Chorale, Laguna College of Art + Design, Laguna Concert Band, Laguna Craft Guild, Laguna Beach Film Society, Laguna Playhouse and Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. (LPAPA), Sister Cities Assn., and the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau; Community Art Project (CAP), First Thursdays Art Walk, Lagunatunes Community Chorus, Laguna Beach Live!, Laguna Outreach Community Arts (LOCA), No Square Theater and [seven-degrees].
The Festival of Arts' "Summer Entertainment on the Green" won the 2013 award for Best New Arts Program.
Record crowds were drawn to the event due to the caliber of entertainers, including Christopher Cross and Jason Feddy, excellent publicity and the investment in a new stage, sound system and seating.
Susan Davis is the festival's director of special events and membership.
Terry Smith was named the Individual Arts Patron of the Year.
Smith has been an LCAD trustee since 2001 and has served on or chaired every board committee, without personal aggrandizement. He leads by example.
Not to mention putting his money where his mouth isn't.
He and former Mayor Wayne Peterson, partners for more than 30 years, have quietly contributed more than $260,000 to LCAD.
Smith has also served on the Arts Commission, has been involved in local City Council election campaigns and is a Friends of the Laguna Beach Library volunteer.
Wells Fargo Bank has allocated two floors of its building on Ocean Avenue to display the works of hundreds of artists for 14 years, free of charge. The bank was recognized with the 2013 Corporate Arts Patron of the Year Award.
Jehia Dajani accepted the award on behalf of the bank.