Our Laguna: Landscape painters feted at soiree

Art work produced during the annual Plein Air Invitational and exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum sold Saturday for $142,000.

Proceeds were split between the museum, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. which sponsors the invitational and the artists.

"This event involves so many parts of the community, put together with the tradition of the art colony," LAM Director Bolton Colburn said. "It is great way for the community to get involved in art."

The museum, originally founded by local artists as a sales gallery for their works, is a major collector of plein air art.

LPAPA, as members are wont to call the association, pronouncing it "Lapapa," was founded in 1996 by artist and board member Saim Caglayan, who participated in the invitational.

"I am pleased with the entire community support," Caglayan said. "But look who is on our board—the mayor."

He credited Elizabeth Pearson with helping to gain community recognition for LPAPA.

"I introduced him to the museum and that is how this event came about," Pearson said. "I can't believe how much color there is in the show, considering the weather we have had."

Other board members include attorney Tim Carlyle, former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, Jeff Horn, Mary Linda Strotkamp, Ron Marshall, and Ward C. Blackburn. Pearson and Randy Higbee are ex-officio members. Warren Cook is a financial advisor.

Greg Vail was elected president of the association in the spring of 2009, the first non-artist ever selected to head the group. He also credited Pearson for his participation.

"My connection with LPAPA began as a result of a casual conversation with Elizabeth," Vail said. "I mentioned that my wife, Lynn, and I owned a small collection of plein air paintings related to our family experiences in the 30 years we have lived in Laguna."

Although not a painter, Vail decided his background in landscape architecture, sustainable land development, conservation and real estate connected him to motivations that inspire plein air painters.

"Besides, I love landscape paintings," Vail said.

LPAPA's mission is to build on and promote the renowned landscape painting heritage of Laguna Beach.

"The association enhances the visibility and livelihoods of it artists through the prestigious Plein Air Invitational and other programs," according to the mission statement. LPAPA provides professional development and business management education to it members."

It fulfills its mission through mentoring, scholarships to emerging artists and by forming alliances with complementary arts organization such as LAM.

Among the artists showcased Saturday: Ken Auster, Richard Abraham, Greg LaRock, Daniel Aldana, Michael Alten, Calvin Liang, Ebrahim Amin, Ronaldo Macedo, Doug Martin, Roger Dale Brown, Jennifer McChristian, Larry Moore, Jim Lamb, Jeff Yeomans, Marcia Burtt, Jim Wodark, Eric Neubert, Paul Kratter, Nancy Bush, Niles Nordquist, Thomas Kitts, Michael Obermeyer, Larry Cannon, April Raber, Jill Carver, Camille Przewodek, Greg Scheibel, Rick Delanty, John Kilduff, Julia Seelos, Kay FlierlCQ, Doug Stotts, Joe Forken, W. Jason Situ, Hai-Ou Hou, Jeff Sewell, Fred Hope, Michael Situ, Carolyn Hesse-Low, Randall Sexton, Kirk McBride, Debra Groesser, Robert Watts and Caglayan.

Awards were presented to participating artists Bryan Mark Taylor, John Burton, Gavin Brooks, and Joan LaRue.

The Collectors Choice Award went to Taylor. Burton was the Artists' Choice winner. Brooks won the Southwest Quick Draw Award. La Rue was honored with the Edward. H. Boseker Award.

Most, although not all, of the participating artists are members of LPAPA.

Membership in the non-profit is divided into tiers: artist or patrons, which allows the member to participate in association activities and exhibits; donors; and Signature Members.

Signature members are juried into the category.

"There are 32 signature members currently," said Rosemary Swimm, wife of artist Tom Swimm and LPAPA program and events chair for the past two years. "Work by current members will be exhibited in the Masterstrokes show opening Oct. 30 here in the museum."

"Masterstrokes" will be the first museum exhibition of signature members. Jean Stern will curate the show, billed as the best of the best works from the group.

In an effort to make the association as accessible as possible to everyone, memberships are kept at an affordable level.

Students can join for $25 or 25 volunteer hours. Artist members pay $50, patrons pay, $50 to $100. The dues for signature members are $100.

The group relies on charitable contributions for a portion of its operating income. Donations make possible the exhibitions, workshops, education and the critical purpose of preserving the legacy of early Laguna Beach painters.

A donor form is on the group's website: http://www.LPAPA. Click on memberships.

Suggested donations range from "other" to $1,000. Fees can be paid by Visa, Mastercard or by mail to LPAPA, P.O. Box 4109, Laguna Beach, 92652.

Some Laguna Beach families showed their support by opening their homes to visiting artists. Host families included Helen Auerback, Cliff and Nancy Bianchine, Linda Bratcher, Nancy Bushnell, Bob and Carole Chickering, Dave Cler, Linda Grossman, Gene and Pat Cooper, Mary and Joe Ferguson, Bill and Carol Hanke, Amy Jackson, Ellen and Roger Kempler, Jim and Carolyn Lyons, Kirk and Katie Milette, Carol and Jack Reynolds. Maria and Alan Ring, Richard and Sande Schwarzstein, Elizabeth Wetzel and board members Sewell and Strotkamp and her husband, Jay.

National Charity League members Natalie Belville and Erika Vandermost were among the youthful volunteers who earned community service hours by picking up empty plates and generally making themselves useful at the soiree.

Barefoot Winery, represented by Peter Extremo, donated the wine: two reds, two whites and champagne flavored with pomegranate juice.

Hors' d'oeuvres and dinner were catered by Las Brisas.

Guitarist Sammy Joe entertained.

The guest list included Rick Silver, a collector of early California modernists.

"I have been collecting all my life," Silver said. "I have one of the largest Roger Koontz collections in California—he died way too soon."

Also on the guest list: Mary and Matt Lawson, Chamber of Commerce board member Michael Kinsman, past museum treasurer Kathy Conway, Ferguson daughter-in-law Lauren, and museum member Karen Klammer, whose two guests bought works in the show.

Clinic Garden Party

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic collected enough money at a fundraiser held Oct. 14 at Madison Square Café and Garden to buy a badly needed special refrigerator.

"This event reached its goal of generating $10,000 to purchase a thermo-scientific refrigerator needed to store medicines critical to fostering community, including flu shots for the elderly, treatments for diabetics and vaccines for school children," Dr. Pamela Lawrence, clinic board president, stated in a news release.

The fundraiser was fully underwritten, which allowed all the donations to go toward the purchase.

Underwriters included Lawrence, Ginny and Rick Linting, Andy Horowitz, John Link and Claudia Crawford, Roya Cole and Jon Madison, owner of the café in a lovingly restored bungalow and a member of the city's Heritage Committee.

Ginny Linting chaired the event.

Admission was $20 per person. The rest of the money was raised through generous participation in an opportunity drawing for a stay for four at the Linting family's Tuscan hamlet and a $1,000 donation from the Laguna Beach Soroptimist Club.

Lisa Wolter of Laguna Beach Soroptimist Club presented Lawrence with the check in recognition of the clinic's efforts to keep the women and girls of our community healthy.

Dr. Tom Bent, the clinic's medical director and chief operating office thanked the supporters and toasted them for their role in helping to provide excellent medical care for all individuals in Orange County, regardless of the ability to pay.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or e-mail coastlinepilot@latimes.com.

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