Chasing Down The Muse: Artists come together to help family in need

"The art of living is more like that of wrestling than of dancing. The main thing is to stand firm and be ready for an unforeseen attack."

—Marcus Aurelius


But how can you ever be ready for much of what life holds? As friend Rachel Goberman said recently, "Life can change in a fraction of a second."

And, far too often, that change is not only unforeseen, but extremely challenging and life-altering.

In many ways, the artists of Laguna Beach are its life blood. The summer festivals bring needed revenue to the community as well as the artists themselves. We often forget just how much they mean to our town.

The Artist's Benevolence Fund at the Sawdust Art Festival does not ever forget. Its mission is to be there to give financial assistance to the artists of all of Laguna Beach when they are wrestled to the ground by some unforeseen event.

In the recent past, the Artist's Benevolence Fund has provided assistance to the victims of the flooding of winter 2010-11. Also, they have helped many local artists through other, lesser known events.

Just this past week, the Sawdust Art Festival had one of its own fall — literally — and he is now in need of assistance. The Artist's Benevolence Fund has once again stepped up immediately. If only it could be enough. Sadly, it will not be.

Artist John Genesta fell from his ladder while building his and wife Lisa's summer booth. The fall knocked the wind out of him. Unfortunately, it also broke his neck, his lower back, his shoulder and his ribs. Life-altering? You bet. This particular wrestling match is far from over for the Genesta family.

Tough as it looks right now, the Genestas will get through this particular wrestling match. They are strong folks.

Benevolence — performance of kind, charitable acts without seeking profit. Artists can be pretty wonderful and sensitive folks. Many have stepped up besides the Artist's Benevolence Fund. Some have organized a chain of folks to provide meals to Lisa and her son. Booth builders and exhibitors have said they will get the Genesta's booth built for them at no cost.

The first week is going to be a critical one, not only because of the injuries themselves, but for the enormous trauma center and ICU costs. The Artist's Benevolence Fund is limited as to what it can do to help. Artists and friends, too, are limited, but I am sure all will step up to the best of their ability.

As we seek ways in which we can help this particular family of artists, what can you as a member of the community do?

Right now — and always — you can donate to the Artist's Benevolence Fund at the Sawdust Art Festival for all they do for our local artists who are unable to do their work for whatever the reason. If now is not the best time, perhaps you will be able to attend the Artist's Benevolence Fund auction Aug. 12 at the Sawdust Festival.

Meanwhile, thanks go once again to the Artist's Benevolence Fund at the Sawdust Art Festival for all that they are able to do for the Genesta family and others and best wishes from all of us go out to the Genesta family as they struggle through this event.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, teacher and director of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes…always fascinated by the myriad mysteries of life. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745.9973.

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