One hundred and nine months after its inception, First Thursdays Art Walk will celebrate its ninth anniversary with live artist demonstrations, musical performances, a little something for free and a whole lot of wine.
Thousands of art lovers will flock to the city’s 40-odd participating art galleries from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 1. A free shuttle service will begin running from the Laguna Art Museum at 6:15 p.m., and will operate until 9 p.m.
Marion Cuddyer, owner of Marion Meyer Contemporary Art and a former Art Walk president, also handles the event’s publicity.
She said that the event started nine years ago with 100 to 200 people in attendance and mimeographed brochures; it was the brainchild of the city’s Cultural Arts Manager, Sian Poeschl, and local artist William DeBilzan.
Today, about 3,000 people attend a typical Art Walk, which boasts national ad presence and professional color, glossy promotional materials.
“We have clients come from Northern California to be here,” said Art Walk President Charlie Ferrazzi, owner of the Esther Wells Collection.
She credits the nonprofit group’s member galleries for their volunteerism and support, adding that they come up with very creative ideas for extra events on Art Walk nights.
“It’s not just painting and sculpting,” she said, adding that the additional offerings, such as live comedy, dance and theater, help visitors enjoy the art more by taking away any feelings of intimidation.
The evening starts when Rita Blitt’s Time Arrow sculpture is dedicated by the city at 5 p.m. in Heisler Park, 211 N. Coast Highway, at the back entrance of the Inn at Laguna.
A reception for Blitt will follow at Marion Meyer Contemporary Art, 354 N. Coast Highway, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Just down the street, Lu Martin Galleries, 372 N. Coast Highway, will host a reception and book signing for Stephen Charles Shortridge, whose new paintings are on view at the gallery. Musician Ken Rokicki will serenade the crowd.
Studio 7 Gallery, at 384-B No. Coast Highway, will offer plein air painting demonstrations and live music by guitarist Ed Krajec.
To the south, Studio Arts Gallery, in the Old Pottery Place, 1200 S. Coast Highway, will host a reception for glass artist Marcus Thesing, who will be among several glass artists demonstrating at the gallery’s courtyard furnace.
Gallimaufry Performing Arts will perform selections from “Hot ‘n’ Cole,” their upcoming Cole Porter revue.
In addition, the first 50 guests to arrive after 6 p.m. will receive a glass heart blown by John Barber.
Contemporary Chinese Fine Art, 1099 S. Coast Highway, will hold an early Chinese New Year celebration.
At The Esther Wells Collection, 1390 S. Coast Highway, Jacobus Baas will offer a painting demonstration of his “Boats, Beaches and Beyond.” Baas will also be honored at an opening reception for his show from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Emanuel Dale Photographic Arts, 1276F S. Coast Highway, will also hold an artist reception.
David Chapple will be in attendance at DeRu’s Fine Arts, 1590 S. Coast Highway, for their new show, “Paintings from the Estate of Colin Campbell Cooper.”
Laguna College of Art & Design, 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd., will hold the opening reception for its latest exhibition, “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” during Art Walk. The traveling show features youthful self-portraits by members of the Society of Illustrators.
Downtown, The Crystal Image, 225 Forest Ave. will host the ever-popular Jason Feddy.
Endangered Planet Gallery, 384 Forest Ave., Suite 13, will host artist Dieter Tremp, whose figurative abstract “Organic Compositions” debuts that day in the gallery.
First Thursdays also plans to celebrate with a post party from 9 to 10:30 p.m.; invitations to the event are available at participating galleries or by e-mailing events@firstthursdays artwalk.com
The House Band will perform, and former Cirque du Soleil acrobats Sasha Fedortchev and Chobi Gyorgy, favorites from last year’s party, will dazzle the crowd.
“It’s a good opportunity for the patrons of the Art Walk and the gallery owners and directors to meet,” Cuddyer said.
She added that volunteers are always welcome to help out.
Cuddyer has no plans yet for the Art Walk’s 10th anniversary.
“It will be tough to beat this,” she said.
For more information, call (949) 683-6871 or visit firstthursdaysartwalk.com. For a complete list of Art Walk activities and participants’ contact information, visit the Artcetera section of this newspaper on page B5.