Mural is all about the people

The people who make the trek to Main Beach will now be immortalized in a mural just a few blocks away.

The Community Art Project (CAP), a local nonprofit dedicated to public art, commissioned Laguna Beach artist Sandra Jones Campbell for the mural at 248 N. Coast Hwy.

Known for her whimsical acrylic paintings of cowboys, dinner guests and others, Campbell was excited to take on her first exterior mural.

In her distinctive style, the mural chronicles the diverse people who create downtown's unique environment as they make their way to the beach.

Campbell also enlisted a team of Laguna College of Art & Design students — David Barnett, Stephanie Snee and Robin Hextrum — to tackle the 32-by-7-foot piece.

Barnett, who graduated Monday with a degree in illustration, was excited to work on the mural because he thought it wasn't something you'd typically see in the town.

"There's something else that creates atmosphere in Laguna Beach besides the water, it's the people that come here," said Barnett, 33. "I kind of get tired of the whole ocean cliché that happens. I was glad she was thinking outside the box a bit."

"I really just enjoyed it mostly because the group are all really great artists that had something that I could learn from," Snee said.

Snee, 20, also enjoyed working alongside Campbell, who gave the group of budding artists advice for the future.

"She would say, 'don't be afraid' because in the art world a lot of people are worried about success and paying their bills, and she said as long as you follow your bliss, the rest will come," she said. "It was great to hear an accomplished artist say that."

CAP previously had a mural at the space, but it was removed due to damage. This will be the first mural commissioned by the nonprofit in 10 years.

Campbell believes that commissioning public art should be a priority.

"This is a town known for its history and art. It's an art colony," Campbell said. "It's essential to the community — as it is to any community — to have art."

It will definitely add to the atmosphere of Laguna Beach, Barnett said. "That is for sure."

For more information about CAP, call (949) 682-4339.

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