Through the years Laguna Beach artist Anne England has been blessed.
After surviving cancer she instigated a number of art programs in the
community including the “Blessing of the Artists.”
The event takes place every year at the start of the summer art
“I had a little tiny window when I wasn’t so sick and that’s when I
created ‘The Healing,’ it symbolizes infinity,” England said.
The idea was born five years ago at St. Catherine of Siena Church.
England was talking to Msgr. John Urell about the fact that they have
a lot of artists in their congregation.
And, England recalled, Urell said, “You know, I ought to give them a
send off for the art season.”
“I think we should have a blessing, but for all the artists in town,”
In June 1998 the blessing of the artists came to fruition and will
mark its fifth year tonight with each year contributing something
“It just continued from there,” England said. “The artists just love
it and the priests are all for it so it happens every year.”
The first year there were 75 artists and by now that number has
“I think it’s great that Anne put this together,” said local artist
Chris Hoy. “If anyone feels blessed it’s me after my hand injury and
everything and still being able to paint. So I feel very blessed.”
England describes the first blessing as magical. They didn’t know what
to expect the first year and were amazed. Each year it’s a coming
together of artists from all faiths, including Buddhism and Hindu, and
two atheists have been coming every year.
“I’ve gone very year to the blessing of the artists,” said artists
Fitz Maurice. “One year the Pope wrote a letter to the artists that
spiritually uplifted me because of the depth of compassion he expressed.
He said that God loves his artists in a special way because through the
ages they have given to the world clarity, beauty and inspiration.
“God is my best friend and is always the one there with me even when
no one else is.”
Urell performed the first three blessings and was beloved for his
A lot of the artists bring their brushes, sculpting tools and have
their tools blessed.
“Wait until you hear Candice Johnson singing Amazing Grace and other
songs,” England said. “She’ll blow your socks off.”
Father Eamon O’Gorman performed the blessing last year and Father Rod
Stephens will be doing the ceremony tonight.
“It’s really neat because it makes us stop for a little bit and focus
and take time for myself with the artists around me having a specific
thing they’ll be focusing on,” said artist Amy Conaway. “It’s really neat
and important to the spiritual sense of self to give thanks every day for
our talents and gifts that we have. It’s pretty amazing to do what we
The blessing will start at 7 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Roman
Catholic Church, 990 Temple Terrace. There will be a post-blessing party
on the church grounds.