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Sawdust is ‘happening’

The theme of the 43rd annual Sawdust Art Festival is “Where Art Happens."

More than 200 artists from Laguna will gather to display a mixed media of fine arts and crafts, including paintings, surf art, jewelry, hand-blown and fused glass, ceramics, textile, wood and metal sculpture, scrimshaw, photography, and more.

Cynthia Fung, director of public relations and marketing for Sawdust, said the concept is based on artists interacting with the public and returning to Sawdust’s roots of demonstrating and creating arts on the festival grounds.

“Exhibitors will [incorporate] a space in their booths to demo art and show that this festival is where art happens," she said. “Artists will interact with and educate the public about their unique handcrafted pieces for sale."


The show, open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 26 through Aug. 30, will feature 22 new artists, special activities and events, and an eclectic mix of musical performances.

Festival-goers can enjoy the sounds and cocktails of the islands at the Sawdust Saloon on “Tropical Tuesdays," their favorite jazz numbers on “Jazz and Blues Fridays," and wear out their dancing shoes each Saturday night with a different band.

Some activities offered this year are an Artists’ Benevolence Fund Art Auction, which awards grants to working Laguna Beach artists in need, a Green Day with the Wyland Education Foundation, featuring a variety of green educational art and craft projects, presentations and displays, and blood drives with Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.

“Exhibitors have each hand-painted banners on display at booth tops, which will be up for auction at the end of the summer show and will support the Art Education Fund," Fung said.


David Bowen, a 30 year Laguna Beach resident who will publicly display his mixed-media collection of painted aluminum and wood cutouts, sculpture, acrylics, photography and digital art of human images that “express the joy of human life" and “aim to make people happy," said he is excited about his Sawdust debut.

“It’s been fun to see the camaraderie among artists, all trying to help each other," he said. “The process of building the booth and working with the other [exhibitors] is how I hoped it would be."

Brynne Cogorno, another new and “green" artist who hand-designs eco-friendly stationary with water-soluble block printing ink on paper made from plant fibers and organic cotton, said she’s happy to be sharing her own creations at Sawdust after four years of working with close friends at Ken Lauher’s jewelry booth, whom she’ll share a booth with this year.

“Each of my cards is also embedded with wildflower seeds," she said. “I find it extremely rewarding to create product that is benefiting our plant and love the idea of my cards growing wildflowers if they end up in a landfill.

“This idea puts a smile on my face and I love telling this to children and adults who come up to my booth."

The music scene will also feature new and returning artists, including one who will perform at Sawdust for the first time in 18 years.

Lifelong Lagunan Alec Bridges who will perform a mix of solo acoustic covers and his own soulful and spiritual songs, said he is excited to return after so many years.

“I haven’t played [there] since I was 12 years old," he said. “The smell of the sawdust brings back childhood memories. I love that the festival maintains that old-school, artistic Laguna Beach vibe."


If You Go

WHAT: Sawdust Art Festival

WHERE: 950 Laguna Canyon Road

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 26 through Aug. 30

WHAT: 200-plus artists

ADMISSION: $7.50 for adult one-day pass; $6 senior (65 or older) one-day pass; $3 children (6 to 12); free for children 5 and younger. Or use Passport to the Arts

INFORMATION: Call (949) 494-3030