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Summer of aMusement

It’s the “year of the muse” at the 77th annual Festival of Arts summer show.

The festival, host to two of the city’s world famous celebrations — Pageant of the Masters and California’s Premiere Fine Art Show — will open Sunday and run through Aug. 31.

The art exhibition has its first public day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, and thereafter will be open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily.

The Pageant will have its first public performance Wednesday.


Diane Challis Davy, director of Pageant, said this production of the Muse in tableaux vivants (living pictures) will offer both dramatic and comic counterpoint to centuries of art in which women have been depicted as little more than pretty ornaments or helpless damsels.

“We’re trying to dig deeper into the psyche to discover who or what motivates artists to create,” she said.

In ancient Greek mythology, the Muses were the daughters of Zeus, who inspired the creation of literature and the arts, and who represented the mysterious and inner fuel for creativity.

“Not all inspiration is divine, nor does it appear out of nowhere in a blinding flash,” Davy said. “Behind every masterpiece is a story of fascination, love, passion and obsession.”


The event will further explore the mind of female artists, who she said have more than their fare share of obstacles to overcome and conventions to break.

More than 145 of Orange County’s finest artists will illustrate how their own muses have inspired them through original paintings, pastels, drawings, sculptures, serigraphy, photography, ceramics, jewelry, etched and stained glass, hand-crafted furniture, and scrimshaw.

Sharbie Higuchi, public relations manager for the festival, said the event will include “something for everyone,” including an array of media, special events, art workshops, daily docent-led tours offering expert insights to exhibits, musical entertainment and hands-on demonstrations.