Editorial: Two great losses to local art scene

Laguna Beach was rocked by the loss of two major figures in the arts over the past few weeks. As it happens, they were not only well known in their respective fields, but also as people with a real love for and involvement in Laguna Beach.

Iris Adam and Frank Interlandi helped keep Laguna on the cultural map by actions in their professional and personal lives.

Adam, who died Jan. 30 at 91, was a watercolor artist who also kept the Art-A-Fair healthy by becoming the festival’s landlady many years ago.

She was also a longtime member of the Arts Commission, with a special interest in the charming holiday palettes that grace the city during the holidays and provide an outlet for local artists.


Adam was remembered last weekend at three local observances. Art-A-Fair will continue as it has for the foreseeable future, her daughter said.

Interlandi was the last of a group of nationally known cartoonists who gathered at local watering holes to exchange ideas and post their weekly contributions to the national dialogue on political issues.

Frank and his twin brother, Phil, were part of an august group known as Algonquin West for their similarity to the Algonquin group of literary luminaries in New York City, which included Dorothy Parker.

Many locals can only wish they were flies on the walls where this group of wits gathered.


Now we can only cherish their memories.

Interlandi’s fans, friends and family will be gathering at the Heisler Park gazebo at noon today to celebrate his life. After that, the Marine Room Tavern, one of the local spots where Algonquin West held forth, will host another gathering in keeping with the cartoonists’ tradition.

Interlandi, who died Feb. 4 at 85, will no doubt assume a place in the pantheon of brilliant cartoonists and inspire future generations of this special breed. But he was also very proud of his skill as a painter, and this “painterly" quality is evident in his cartooning.

Although they are gone as artists, their works and spirits will live on.