On a cool summer evening at the Festival of Arts, many of the exhibitors gathered around, doing exactly what gave artists a special place in the heart of Laguna Beach decades ago.
They expressed themselves through their creations and through their unity of purpose, as 16 artists attended a plate painting party last Saturday night.
The artists have stepped out of their comfort zone, many working outside their typical mediums, to create plates and tiles which, once fired and glazed, will be auctioned.
Longtime festival exhibitor Mike Tauber, ceramic artist and event organizer, is proud to see his fellow exhibitors try their hand at something new.
“I was very proud of the artists who tried it,” said Tauber. “I think it was a little bold of them to do it, especially in public, and knowing that many, many people will look at their work – after being fired – at auction. I thought it was really brave of them to try it out.
The auction will take place in the festival area on August 28 from 6pm to 8pm, with proceeds going to the enrichment grant program known as the Artists’ Fund at the Festival of the Arts. The Enrichment Grant is intended to assist artists who are looking to expand their careers. The nonprofit organization also issues grants for hardships.
The opening bids for the dishes will be set at $ 100. The auction falls on the last Sunday of the Festival of the Arts, which runs until September 2nd.
A partnership with Laguna Clay Co. helped make plate painting events possible. Since the start of the annual festivities, the plates have been donated by the pottery company, which is based in the City of Industry in Los Angeles County.
Bryan Vansell, owner and president of Laguna Clay Co., said that ceramic introduces many unknowns and answers the questions of artists eager to know how the process works.
“It’s kind of fun,” said Vansell, whose wife, Joy, teaches at the festival’s engraving workshop. “When we pick up the pieces, it’s a bit like Christmas. Everyone is so excited to see their work and see how the layoff went.
“Then, of course, the auction comes, and everyone is very proud to be able to make some money with the Artist Fund. So it was a really fun event and the festival itself, they do a really good job. “
Strolling the festival grounds, attendees admire diverse crafts, from pottery to jewelry, engraving to watercolors, as well as a variety of subjects, from the human condition to natural beauty around the world.
“All the artists, they’re all there for very different reasons,” Tauber said of the Fine Art Show. “I think the common denominator is that they are extremely dedicated to creating fine art. The number one thing that all artists would like to see at the festival is that many people come to visit them at their booths.
“They love to talk about their work. There are so many stories behind every single artist: how they came to their work and the meaning behind their work. “
Attendance at the event continued to grow. Lyn Hiner, a first-time attendee at the plate painting party, tried to differentiate her design from others, especially with everyone dabbling in the same medium. Her plate contained a Le Mans race car.
Others depicted wild animals such as butterflies, cartoon caricatures, and even a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.
Hiner generally doesn’t paint with brushes, preferring to work with palette knives, but she branched out to support a good cause in helping other artists.
“It seems supportive and I love it,” said Hiner. “I like the community. I like the feeling of community. I appreciate it and I appreciate it, so something that only takes me a few hours, seems like a no-brainer.
Mary Aslin, a pastel artist who has exhibited at the Fine Art Show for a dozen years, said she found it “invigorating” to work alongside her fellow artists, as opposed to the isolation of working in a studio. She produced a floral tile at the event.
Laguna Beach City Council honored the Festival of Arts with a proclamation recognizing its 90th anniversary at the start of Tuesday’s meeting. Aslin shared her thoughts on being part of the festival.
“It’s incredibly significant from a story point of view,” Aslin said. “There isn’t a single day that I think I’ve been on festival grounds where I’m not aware of the historical legacy and what the artists of 90 years ago did to say: ‘We love this area of the world and I love light and beauty and we would like to share them with the public. ‘ …
“We are on the shoulders of these wonderful artists who have paved the way for us here. Here we are 90 years later, a couple of blocks from where they were painting, right on the ocean. “
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