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A Coastline Pilot guide to the art fests

Editor’s note: ‘Tis the season to celebrate the arts in Laguna Beach. As the city’s various art festivals for 2012 get underway, we asked Candice Baker to compile this guide to help you art lovers out there make the most of a full summertime palette:


Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

Where: 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach


When: Sunday to Aug. 31

Cost: General $7 weekdays or $10 weekends; students/seniors $4 or $6; free admission for kids 12 and under, military and Laguna Beach residents

Info: (949) 494-1145 or

Synopsis: The grande dame of the Laguna summer festival scene, the Festival of Arts was one of the nation’s first of such art shows. Known for its highly juried selection of fine art, it is regularly highlighted by American Style magazine as one of the top 10 art shows in the country, and exhibits the work of 140 of Orange County’s top artists. Also included in admission are opportunities to partake in tours and workshops, cooking demonstrations, a fashion show and hear live music.


This year the Festival of Arts celebrates its 80th anniversary, with new Art Talks and other special events planned. The Art Talks are free with festival admission. Brown bag lunches will be available for sale, or patrons are invited to bring their own. Artists will lead talks on art trends, media and influences on Tuesdays, while curators, collectors and conservators will take the microphone Thursdays for discussions relevant to art collectors, like the art of displaying, restoring and buying art.

A special retrospective and reception are planned for noon on Tuesday, when watercolor artist and 45-year Festival veteran Jacquie Moffett will lead a discussion with past and present exhibitors about the Festival’s long and storied history. Dan Cameron, the chief art curator at the Orange County Museum of Art, will stop by for a talk at noon July 5 about his museum’s 50th anniversary.

The Festival grounds also house the Irvine Bowl outdoor amphitheater and the Pageant of the Masters, the world-famous live show in which famed art masterpieces come to life in the style of “tableaux vivants,” or living pictures.

This year’s pageant begins on July 7 and the theme is “The Genius.”

For the past 79 years, a dedicated cast of volunteers are transformed into life-sized recreations of paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other works of art. Set to the music of a live orchestra and fully narrated, the show is a local treasure for families who both volunteer in and attend the Pageant every year. Tickets are $15 to $100. Ticketholders also receive free admission to the Festival of Arts all summer.


Sawdust Art Festival

Where: 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach


When: Through Sept. 2

Cost: One-day pass $7.75 for adults; $6.25 for seniors ages 65 and up, or $3.25 for kids ages 6 to 12; free for active military members and their family; season pass $15; annual pass $20 (includes Winter Fantasy show admission); free to Laguna Beach residents after 5 p.m. Thursdays and all day on the first Fridays of the month

Info: (949) 494-3030 or

Synopsis: The Sawdust Art Festival’s 46th annual summer show runs from Friday through Sept. 2.

First born as a counter-cultural “revolt” against the more traditional Festival of Arts in 1966, the Sawdust holds its own today as an arts and crafts legend in a bucolic outdoor setting featuring more than 200 Laguna Beach-only artists, who offer hand-crafted glassworks, paintings, jewelry and textiles, sculpture, photography, ceramics and more.

A core component of the Sawdust is its arts education program, which includes free daily demonstrations and art workshops every weekend. Studio Art Classes in a variety of media also are available on Fridays and Saturdays by registration for $95, which includes all materials; view the schedule online.

A full entertainment schedule also is included with admission, with both headline acts and strolling performers. Casual restaurants serve a variety of foods onsite.

Special events this year include Hawaiian Surf Day on July 7, Green Day on July 21, Country Western Day on Aug. 4, the annual Artists’ Benevolence Fund Live Auction from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 12, and Beatles Day on Aug. 18.




Where: 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

When: Through Sept. 2

Cost: One-day pass $7 for adults; $4 for seniors, military and students; kids 12 and under free with adult; free for Laguna Beach residents

Info: (949) 494-4514 or

Synopsis: Art-A-Fair, nestled between the Festival of Arts and Sawdust Art Festival on Laguna Canyon Road, offers the only opportunity to meet and peruse the works of 125 local, national and international artists at a Laguna summer festival.

Media represented include paintings, drawings, photography, digital art, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, glass and wood. Weekends include live music and regularly scheduled artist demonstrations. The onsite restaurant Tivoli Too! is known as a top festival meal option.

This weekend, Timbreline presents bluegrass and jazz from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, while Heart & Soul brings R&B, dance and Latin music onstage from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, followed with Chris Whynaught’s contemporary blues music from 4 to 7 p.m. that night. Sunday, Le Jazz Hott plays from noon to 3 p.m., followed Mitch on the Horn’s jazzy sax music from 4 to 7 p.m.

Affordable workshops include Dutch Masters-style oil painting on Fridays and Saturdays, watercolor on Yupo papers on Fridays and Saturdays, classic beading techniques on Sundays, collage on Mondays, traditional oil painting on Tuesdays, acrylic painting on Wednesdays and traditional watercoloring on Thursdays.

Art festival season tip:

The best summer festival deal in town is the Laguna Beach Passport, available at Festival box offices and offering the opportunity to attend all three festivals throughout the summer for $21.50. The passport also includes a one-time free parking pass in the Act V lot on Laguna Canyon Road and a free shuttle service, along with restaurant and retailer discounts.