Since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the summertime Festival of Arts for the first time since 1945, artists who should be displaying their work now in Laguna Beach are instead joining forces to present Art Along the Coast, a free, self-guided tour of art studios and exhibition venues from Santa Ana to San Clemente. The fourth event will take place Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 22-23 and 29-30, and will involve 34 Orange County artists in 14 locations.
Art Along the Coast is actually a revival of a coordinated arts event that took place between 2012 and 2016.
“Because the festival was canceled this year, I sort of pulled together a crew of artists from the festival who are trying to make things work,” said Paul Bond, founder and organizer of Art Along the Coast. “For many of us as artists, the quarantine has been a very productive period. Given the cancellation of most of the art shows and festivals this year, we are thrilled to share our artistry and a more intimate view into our working lives as professional artists.”
Bond calls his own oil painting “magic realism,” inspired by surrealism. He lives in San Clemente, and will open his studio for visitors and art lovers who make it down to the seaside town.
He said the Art Along the Coast event — which will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 22 and 29 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 23 and 30 — is actually similar in spirit to the way Laguna Beach artists used to display their work in the early 1930s and the early days of the Festival of Arts.
“Someone steeped in the festival’s history had shared with me that in the early days of the festival, as it was coming together, artists were showing in their homes and studios as part of this loose-knit group, as part of the festival,” he said. The festival’s own historical records describe about “two dozen artists hanging their paintings on fences, trees and buildings along Laguna’s main street,” and “opening their home-studios to the public.”
“It’s a little more upscale than that now,” Bond said.
The tour will showcase a variety of artwork, including painting, photography, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture and other media. It’s being touted as an opportunity for people looking for a meaningful and safe weekend activity, who also want to support local professional artists.
All artists will be following established guidelines with masks and social distancing, Bond said. The artists also encourage patrons and participants to practice safe protocols, including masks and social distancing.
Purchases can be made at each location and will be handled in a sanitary manner as well.
Richard Chang is a contributing writer for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC, focusing on the visual arts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.