Two festivals open doors

This season, it's all about "fun in the sun" at Laguna's summer art festivals.

The fun begins June 25, when both the Sawdust Art Festival and Art-a-Fair kick off the opening day of their 44th annual celebrations.

"We've got a lot of excitement lined up, including Tropical Tuesdays, a Hawaiian Surf day and [an eco-awareness] Green Day," said Cynthia Fung, marketing director of Sawdust.

More than 200 Laguna Beach artists, including 22 first-time exhibitors, will showcase their work from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Aug. 29 at the festival grounds, 935 Laguna Canyon Road.

Patrons can admire and purchase an array of media, including hand-made jewelry by Lisa Genesta, colorful mixed-media by Sandra Jones Campbell and nature and landscape paintings by Judy Baker.

"If you're not an artist when you move to Laguna, you soon want to be," Baker said. "The wealth of artistic knowledge and the generosity shown by those who share it can't be found anywhere else."

Baker, who said she and her husband purchased their wedding rings at Sawdust more than 35 years ago, is excited to become more deeply involved with the Sawdust, which is already such an important part of her history.

Laguna native and photographer Sean Tiner, who is known for his scenic landscapes, underwater and aerial photographs of California, Oahu, Kona and Fiji, will set up a Sawdust booth for the first time since 2007.

"After enduring four New England winters while attending Brown University, my appreciation for our coastal climate grew immensely. After commencement, I returned to Laguna, applied my aesthetic passion and started photographing various coastline perspectives," he said. "I'm really excited to participate in this year's show. From an artist's perspective, it's rewarding to create aesthetic compositions that the general public finds intriguing and appreciates."

Also new this year will be the "Original Collectors' Panels" project in support of the Sawdust Art Education Fundraiser.

More than 60 art panels created by Sawdust artists are destined to draw a crowd and will be on display around the festival grounds and pre-auctioned during the run of show.

"Compared to last year's 14 fundraiser participants, the enthusiasm of more than triple the number of artists behind this year's fundraiser exemplifies the coming together of the Sawdust family for a unified cause," Fung said.

Patrons can also enjoy a variety of workshops, music entertainment and cuisine throughout the summer, as well as chance to win a 2011 CR-Z, provided by Sawdust's first corporate sponsor, American Honda.

Art-a-Fair will also open June 25, with a variety of work including painting, glass, jewelry, pottery, digital drawing and photography by 125 premier artists, said Joyce Kasprzyk, vice president of marketing.

"The new theme is all about beach, water, sun and fun in a sea of blue and aqua," she said.

Explore the colorful beachscapes by painter Marlene Rogers, ocean still lifes of journalist and photographer Lyle Hammons and ocean-inspired stained glasswork by Sylvia Simmons.

The "famous" margaritas from Tivoli Too, located on festival grounds, as well as a line-up of Caribbean, surf tones and '60s music are sure to be an Art-a-Fair highlight she said.

Adult workshops for aspiring artists—or patrons who desire to try their hand at something creative—will also be offered throughout the summer.

Patrons who prefer to spectate are invited to walk the garden with their margaritas and watch live demonstrations by the artists.

Art-a-Fair is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Aug. 29 at 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

For pricing information, or details about the workshops and music entertainment, visit or

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