Festival of Arts aims for new makeup

The Festival of Arts hopes to begin work on a new facade next fall and have it finished for the following summer's festivities, President Fred Sattler said Wednesday.

At the festival's annual membership meeting at the [seven-degrees] event space in Laguna Beach, Sattler gave the audience of colleagues and media members a glimpse of the group's plans.

The new facade, shown in artist renderings, would feature a regrading at the front of the property that would allow easier passage for pedestrians. The area would also feature enhanced landscaping, a new main entrance, a promenade and new trees.

Sattler said the current facade, which was designed 12 years ago as a temporary structure, begged for an upgrade.

"The time has come for a new frontage where aesthetic meets function," he said.

Sattler said Thursday morning that the plans are still being finalized and that his group hopes to bring the proposal to the city early next year.

At the meeting, Pageant of the Masters director Diane Challis Davy also provided a preview of the 2014 program, "The Art Detective," which centers on themes of mystery, intrigue, secrecy and crime.

Some of the pieces specifically deal with those topics — such as James Bond movie posters and works featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — while others, including Egyptian artifacts unearthed in the 20th century, have a real-life story attached to them.

Davy noted that the mystery theme had proved relevant in recent months, as federal authorities announced that they had identified the perpetrators of the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and more than 1,400 artworks, including ones by Picasso and Renoir, turned up in a stash at a Munich apartment.

"Once again, through my powers of intuition, I was able to predict a pop culture trend," Davy joked.

"The Art Detective" is scheduled to run July 9 through Aug. 30. The volunteer casting call, in which members of the public apply for spots in the onstage tableaux, will take place Jan. 4, 5 and 9.

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