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A light in Laguna

Suzie Harrison

In a house surrounded by lush foliage and jasmine lives a pioneer and

an art icon in Laguna Beach. She says she loves life, the community and

other artists here.

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Anne England has been a Laguna Beach resident since 1962 and an artist

since age 3. Her intelligence and creative mind has made a significant

difference for Laguna’s art community. It was England’s idea for the

inception of a studio art tour, and she is the co-founder of the Sawdust

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festival’s annual Art Walk.

The event, which took place last weekend, is now in its 11th year.

This year’s attendance was three times that of last year.

“With this tour, you can see the artists in their own habitat,

creating,” England said.

At Sunday’s reception, England was awarded for her years of dedication

to the art world and the Art Walk by Helen MacNamera.

“What makes an artist is what they dream. Anne England had the energy

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to make it happen,” MacNamera said.

England also co-founded Laguna Outreach Community Arts, which came to

fruition about 10 years ago. In the beginning she was told she couldn’t

use the acronym LOCA because it means out of one’s mind. However England

dug a little further and found that it also means “joy and excitement.”

“LOCA keeps art flowing to the schools and teaches the children to

have art in their lives,” England said.

Artists involved with the program coordinate with teachers at South

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Orange County schools and do hands-on demonstrations for the students.

“It’s been proven that kids with art experience make better grades.

It’s so important,” England said.

Another example of England’s commitment to community is her

involvement as co-founder for the Artist’s Benevolent Fund.

“It started originally when an artist had cancer and needed financial

help,” she said.

The fire in 1993 that ravaged Laguna Beach really put a lot of the

artists in dire need.

“We had an auction at the Sawdust Festival after the fires. It was a

big auction and everyone participated,” England said.

Last year 130 artists participated in the Festival of the Arts “Tie

One On” fund-raiser for the Benevolent Fund. “We’ve helped so many people

it’s so wonderful.”

Along with her many accomplishments, England is a survivor who was

awarded the Breast Cancer Survivor of the Year award by the American

Cancer Society.

Although she was told the chances of surviving her cancer were very

slim, she had no doubt she would beat it.

“The Laguna art community is a really tight community and really do

take care of their own and look after each other,” she said. “They have

taken great care of me.”

England said she wants to help cancer patients through art, teaching

them the virtue of its cathartic nature.

* SUZIE HARRISON is a writer for the Coastline Pilot. She can be

reached at 494-4321 or editor@lagunacoastlinenews.com.


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