On Thursday, Lagunans can celebrate art, food and philanthropy at the same time during the 16th annual Taste for Charity at Tivoli Too! on the festival grounds.
Hosted by the Laguna Beach Board of Realtors, guests can get a taste of Laguna fare, bid on local artists' works in a silent auction and enjoy live music — all benefitting eight Laguna Beach charities.
Local eateries, such as K'ya, Las Brisas, Mozambique, Rock'n Fish and the Sun Dried Tomato Café will offer up bite-sized food for the night.
Laguna artist John Eagle will paint an auction item during the event, so the bidder gets the opportunity to experience the process and enjoy the results. Other artists on display — 60 in total — include Tom Swimm, Vinita Voogd, Alfred Tse and Fred Hope.
First Thursday's Art Walk, Laguna Beach High School Scholarships, Helping Hands, Laguna Beach Seniors, Laguna Beach Playhouse, Laguna Plein Air Painters, NoSquare Theatre and the Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund will split 100% of the proceeds.
Leslie Anne Mogul, director of annual giving for the playhouse, is excited to benefit from Thursday's event, which will go to its youth programs besides general support for the playhouse.
"You see the kids grow and blossom into contributing members in the community because of the youth theater," she said. "It's exciting to see a kid when they see their first theatre performance — there's nothing like it."
The playhouse's TheatreReach program teams up their youth with schools that are lacking arts instruction. They work with their curriculum, incorporating new literature and then acting it out in a play at the end of their semester.
The Arts Access Initiative also offer scholarships for low-income students and provide complimentary tickets to children who wouldn't get the experience of theatre otherwise.
Bree Burgess Rosen, artistic director at NoSquare Theatre, said the Taste is an opportunity for the community to come together and support one another.
"We have world-class restaurants in this town, and it's very cool of them to share their wealth, especially in these hard times, with these small groups," she said. "It would be easy for them to say they couldn't. Kudos to them."
She also showed her gratitude for the board, which has been a big supporter of NoSquare, volunteering for their productions and donating to the theatre.
"No one has been hit harder in Laguna Beach than the realtors. Got to love them for stepping up to the plate," she said.
The Board of Realtors has its own charity that's benefitting from a portion of the proceeds — the Charitable Assistance Fund — which lends support to realtors that are experiencing tough times.
Interested bidders don't have to fret if they can't make it. This year they can bid online from Friday to Tuesday at biddingforgood.com/atasteforcharity.
If You Go
What: Taste for Charity
Where: Tivoli Too!, 777 Laguna Canyon Road
When: 5 to 8:30 p.m. May 19
Information: (949) 497-2474
Cost: $35 or $40, includes two drink tickets and four food tickets