New Director for Laguna Art Museum

Times Staff Writer

Charles Desmarais, director of the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside, has been selected as the new director of the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, a post vacant since William Otton left the position in November.

Desmarais, 39, has been in the museum field for 15 years. He was a curator at the Friends of Photography in Carmel in the early '70s and was director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Photography before assuming his current position.

He is a native of New York and earned a master of fine arts degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

From 1977 to 1981 he also served as editor of Exposure, a quarterly journal for photography teachers. In 1979, he received an art critic's fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Last fall he began writing a biweekly column on art for the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Desmarais will leave his Riverside position Sept. 30. A museum spokeswoman said the starting date of his full-time employment at the Laguna museum has not been determined. She would not comment on Desmarais' salary but said it was more than the low-$40,000s figure Otton was making when he left the museum to take over as president of the Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach.

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