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Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts, closed due to the pandemic, goes virtual

A view of the three-dimensional Gallery 1 in the virtual Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach.
A view of the three-dimensional Gallery 1 in the virtual Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach.
(Courtesy of Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach)

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach has moved its exhibits online.

Fans of original art can see the works of more than 120 exhibitors at foaVIRTUAL, a 3-D immersive online gallery at foapom.com/foavirtual/ and explore nine “rooms” that hold representations of paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more. Virtual catalogs are also available on the site.

The works are available for purchase from the artists, and 100% of each sale goes directly to the exhibitors.

This year’s Festival of Arts Fine Art Show was canceled in May in addition to the Pageant of the Masters because of the anticipated unlikelihood of large summer gatherings during the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

It was only the second time the event has been canceled since its founding in 1932. The first was during the second World War.

The city approved a pilot program for the installation of parklets on Tuesday. The program will run through the end of April 2021.

“Since the cancellation of our shows, we have been hard at work putting together online and art initiatives,” said Sharbie Higuchi, director of marketing and public relations at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach, in a statement. “All of us at the Festival of Arts felt that if we cannot, for the time being, bring our guests to the Fine Arts Show to see the incredible work of our artists, then we will find a way to bring our artists to our guests.”

Each gallery allows users to pan side to side or up and down and click on images for up-close examinations, or take a guided tour that automatically glides between images in sleek, white, blue and gray-walled rooms. There are nine galleries with up to 17 different artists in each. Perusing the website is free.

“We are proud to be able to find new ways to continue to support our local artists and showcase their work, as we have done each summer for the last 80-plus years,” said Christine Georgantas, Festival of Arts director of exhibits.

“We are already planning future updates, surprises and user engagement opportunities throughout the summer in conjunction with foaVIRTUAL,” added Higuchi. “We hope everyone will come back often, visit our virtual galleries and discover what’s new.”

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