Ready and on course

Suzie Harrison

The sun blazed, as did the heat with thermometers in Laguna Beach

topping their highest marks for the final days of Laguna’s art

festivals last weekend.


On Sunday, the Festival of Arts was busy as usual but not as

packed as it had been most of the summer -- its most successful

season yet.

Little did the artists know what pranks awaited them that morning


-- it’s kind of a tradition among the artists and was instigated by

wildlife artist Chris Hoy this year. Saturday night after his

excursion to the store to buy all his props he explained his scheme,

artist by artist, and laughed every second that he was talking about

it. He said that he and a couple other artists would hit the grounds

late night after the pageant gala was over.

“We’re so serious about our art for eight weeks -- it’s fun to do

pranks to the one’s who have a great sense of humor,” Hoy said.


To Ray Friesz’s big wave painting, Hoy and his co-conspirators cut

surfers out of magazines and had them riding the wave. Lu Campbell

came in to find a peanut trail coming from her elephant painting.

Gary Fishman’s Redwood painting had a woodpecker attached to the


Hedy Buzan Williamson along with John Russell coordinated a

collection to show thanks to the hard working pageant volunteers.

The artists contributed to give the 500 Pageant of the Masters


volunteers a limited edition T-shirt commemorating this year’s show.

The card that went along with the T-shirt read: “Thanks again for

all your good work, you are our heroes and heroines!”

Artist Anne England showed up to the festival with a cake in hand

to contribute to the artist’s potluck dinner following the show.

“It’s the only show in town. It’s been a wonderful show, been a

wonderful time to be together with other artists. I love being with

the artists, we have fun together,” England said.

Marketing Director Sharbie Higuchi’s initial words were boo-hoo.

“Ending is bittersweet. The 2002 season has been very successful

for both the Pageant of the Masters and the Festival of Arts,”

Higuchi said.

She said the fund-raising gala Saturday night went well and

everyone enjoyed it.

Higuchi also announced that the pageant’s theme next year is


“I look forward to 2003,” Higuchi said.

Michael Situ a painter and first year exhibiting artist said that

the last day had been pretty busy for him.

“It’s really exciting, I like showing here. I feel really

comfortable, just like family,” Situ said.

Painter Tat Shinno explained that this was her 16th year as a

festival exhibitor and that she just turned 86 and loves the fact

that she is still learning and experiencing art, and that she likes

inspiring people as she has been inspired too.

The Sawdust Festival was packed Sunday as people made their

last-minute buys.

Michael Hallinan has exhibited at the Sawdust Festival for 15

years and 22 years at the Festival of Arts.

This year he exhibited only at the Sawdust.

“It’s been surprisingly good. Our attendance was up, it was a good

summer. I think local venues profited with people’s reluctance to

fly,” Hallinan said.

John Eagle who has been at the Sawdust for 12 years was painting

at his booth as he often prefers to do.

“It’s inspiring, I like to paint here. I get a lot of ideas. Such

beautiful grounds, I wish the Sawdust was year round,” Eagle said.

He said it is favorite place to be and feels the grounds are like

nowhere else in the country. He enjoys making his daily trip.

Tracey Moscaritolo has had a great year.

“I personally have had one of my best shows. It’s sad to see it

end for a lot of different reasons. I can’t say enough good about it,

really,” Moscaritolo said.

She said that meeting people and interacting with them has been a


“I feel really blessed that we have this wonderful show in this

gorgeous town,” Moscaritolo said.