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What to watch in 2007 in the arts

Act V sculpture competition begins

The largest public art commission in the city’s history has been announced, with an $80,000 honorarium to be granted to the artist whose sculpture is selected to sit in a planned gateway area on Laguna Canyon Road.

The sculpture pad will be poured in the Act V parking lot, which is being redeveloped to accommodate city service and maintenance facilities that are now housed near City Hall.

The artist would be required to create one or more sculptural elements that would serve as a visual representation and welcome to the city; it is also intended to provide seating for those waiting to board public transit.

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Interest in the competition has come from nationally known and local sculptors; a site visit was held in December for interested parties, and another is planned this month.

Festival turns 75

The Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters will begin a two-year celebration of their 75th birthday. The Pageant of the Masters theme will be “Young at Heart,” celebrating the festival’s Diamond Jubilee, and will feature tableaux vivants — “living pictures” — highlighting the various stages of life.

The festival will run from July 1 to August 31, with the annual gala on August 25.

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First held in 1932 and timed to capture the interest of those attending that year’s Olympics in Los Angeles, Festival booths were set up and events were staged throughout the town.

Lolita Perine introduced the first Living Pictures show — real people representing famous paintings — in 1935. The “living pictures” became the “Pageant of the Masters” in 1936.

The Festival and Pageant began operating in their permanent home on Laguna Canyon Road in 1941.

Geiser sculptures to be installed

The arts legacy of a Laguna resident is nearing completion, after initial indications that it would not be permitted in the city.

The late Lew Geiser, who died of cancer April 1 in his red-tagged Bluebird Canyon home, had planned to donate sculptures by French artist Vincent Magni to the city.

His friend, Katy Moss, and his sister, Gay Geiser Sandoval, presented his offer to the Arts Commission this summer.

It was denied due to potential durability and safety issues, but the City Council told the Arts Commission this fall that it had to accept the bequest and find a location for the sculptures.

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The commission decided to install them on city land at the corner of Bluebird Canyon and Oriole Drive.

Moss traveled to Paris last year to select, purchase and arrange transportation for the sculptures. A sculpture pad for the pieces was approved by the city in December.

Playhouse expansion plans

The Laguna Playhouse has been hard at work at its long-planned expansion project, following the donation of $5 million to the organization in late 2005. Fundraising is ongoing for the project, which is planned for an office complex located next to the Playhouse at 606 Laguna Canyon Road. The property was purchased in 1998.


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