Excitement mounts for festival

Nancy Holly will walk onto the Festival of Arts grounds as an artist this weekend. It will be the first time the equine photographer has shown there.

When asked if she was excited to be one of 140 artists juried into the show, she responded, "Oh my god. That's an understatement."

Holly is no stranger to the site. She was raised in Laguna Beach and worked at Tivoli Terrace when she was younger. Now she lives three blocks from where she grew up.

"It's kind of a full-circle realization for me since I was born and raised in this town," she said. "All these years, I've been a patron; it will be different to view the artists as an artist."

Always interested in art and originally a portrait artist, Holly hadn't dedicated herself to photography until last year.

After her first solo show at the Magnolia Salon in Costa Mesa, Holly decided to sell her court reporting business in Irvine to focus on photography full time.

She's really drawn to the American wild mustang, she said, which she has stills of in her exhibit.

"I've always lovedhorses and spending time with them," she said.

Fellow exhibitor Kathy Jones, a painter, celebrates her 11th year in the festival this weekend.

The former UC Irvine vice chancellor and Georgetown University vice president said she always loved to draw and paint.

"It was a dream of mine really to do this full time," she said. "I'm lucky to live in Laguna, where I have a venue to show work. You might be interested in being an artist and not have the venue to show it. Here in Laguna you have a bunch of different venues — the festival, Sawdust, Art-A-Fair."

Every year the festival gets better, Jones said, and she is excited about the new events that spring up, such as workshops, conversations with the artists and live music.

"It is a great place to spend a summer evening," she said. "What better place? You can get something to eat, listen to great music and visit the artists."

The Festival of the Arts begins Sunday at 650 Laguna Canyon Road. General admission is $7, students and seniors, $4. Children younger than 12, members of the military, and Laguna Beach residents get in for free.

Free tours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends. Discussions and live demonstrations take place from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. Live music is presented most evenings.

For more information, visit lagunafestivalofarts.org.

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