It’s Art Festival Time in Laguna Beach

Summer is here, which means it’s time to travel to California for an annual visit to historic Laguna Beach, to see the art festivals. Since the first painting was created in 1878, the exquisite natural beauty of Laguna Beach has been a magnet for artists, who supported themselves by selling their artwork to tourists who flocked to the beach for vacation. By the early 1900s, the village had gained a reputation as an art colony, and in 1918, with a population of only 300 residents, the community established the Laguna Art Association to promote and support the fine arts. Laguna Beach has a lot to offer visitors year round with their beautiful beaches, quaint antique shops, art galleries and studios, restaurants and a small old movie theatre. But, June 26th, Laguna kicks off their annual art festivals, which is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors from across the country, now through the end of August. You’ll experience a cozy, home town feeling in Laguna Beach, and the artists are happy for you to attend one or all three of the festivals to see and buy their wonderful, hand made, original creations.

Here’s a little more about each festival and how each is special:

Sawdust Art Festival
Since its inception, the nonprofit, Sawdust Art Festival organization has celebrated and supported the work of local artists and is designed to both entertain and educate visitors. Stroll and shop along sawdust-covered paths through a hand-crafted village of fine arts and superb craftsmanship. The Festival also features demo booths such as glass blowing, complimentary hands-on art workshops where you can create your own masterpieces, a children’s art booth, refreshments from three restaurants, live music and more. All forms of fine arts and crafts will be on display including: Ceramics, Art glass, Watercolor and Oil painting, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Illustrating, Clothing, Photography, Print, and Furniture.

Nestled in a colorful garden setting in romantic Laguna Canyon, the Art-A-Fair Festival is where you’ll find treasures from national artists. An exciting variety of two and three dimensional art is represented including oils, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, drawings, mixed media, photography, sculpture, jewelry glassworks, pottery, and furniture. Special artist demonstrations and lectures are highlighted where you can see first hand how artistic masterpieces are created from conception to completion. Free workshops and supervised children's art activities are offered on: mask painting, sketching, foil painting, scratchboard, watercolor, and colored pencil techniques. Gourmet lunches and dinners are available by the waterfall in a pleasant outdoor setting.

Festival of Arts with Pageant of the Masters
The Festival of Arts has matured into a world-renowned cultural institution with a mission to promote, produce, and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts. Originally started in 1932, this festival displays over 140 of the Southland’s most accomplished artists. It is a rigorously juried show, requiring artists to demonstrate and maintain very high aesthetic standards. The artworks represent a wide spectrum of art media including: paintings, sculpture, pastels, drawings, serigraphs, photographs, ceramics, jewelry, etched and stained glass, fiber arts, handcrafted furniture and even scrimshaw. All of the works are original art for sale and opens July 5th.

The Pageant of the Masters is truly a special experience, not to be missed. Sitting in an outdoor amphitheater, accompanied by a professional orchestra, and live narration, you’ll see ninety minutes of "living pictures" you won’t believe even when you see them. The performance is incredible. Real people are posing (and painted) to look exactly like their counterparts in original classical and contemporary masterworks. After viewing these life sized art re-creations, you’ll leave asking yourself, “were those really live people in each piece”? It’s visually stunning. Shows start July 8th.

So, now you’re convinced that you must take a trip to Laguna Beach this year and experience their famous art festivals that are like no other. Here’s a few suggestions on where to stay in Laguna Beach. Bring your sketchbook. You might be inspired!
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