I was invited to the Festival of Arts VIP Night on July 3. Hanging out in Laguna Beach in the summer is a wonderful pastime, but enjoying the artful festivities was even more of an incentive to make the 70-mile drive from San Diego the day before 4th of July. This event offered patrons the chance to preview (and purchase) the works of 140 of Orange County’s most renowned artists before it opens to the public on July 8. And, it gave me and other professional media early entrance into the show to interview artists and peruse their work. We were also included in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facade entrance before the doors opened to this highly acclaimed juried fine art show.
The courtyard was packed with multi-generational art enthusiasts, most of which were dressed in white (Did I miss that memo?). The light canvas of the crowd helped highlight the beautiful exhibits displaying colorful paintings, glass creations, sculptures, mixed media, sparkling jewelry and other fine art that filled the perimeter. The smooth sounds of Blake Aaron’s band added to the coolness of the evening.
During the VIP-hour, staff from Colette’s Catering & Events served tray-passed appetizers such as chilled chicken spring rolls with honey-soy drizzle, ahi poke with wasabi in a cone, mini pita chips with fresh hummus, spring rice salad with grilled shrimp, English sweet pea crostini, mini fruit tarts, hand-made cannoli and other treats. The dinner service, which began at 7 p.m., included a grains & greens bar that featured lentils, brown rice and quinoa, as well as a build-your-own salad bowl with dozens of fresh ingredients. The slider station offered a choice of tri-tip with caramelized onions and garlic aioli, Kailua pulled-pork with hoisin Dijon barbecue sauce, and chicken Parmesan with marinara and mozzarella. For dessert, they served chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies, freshly baked onsite.
Now in its 83rd year, this breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers also offers demonstrations, art workshops, daily art tours, special events, an onsite restaurant, the Pageant of the Masters (July 8-Aug. 31) and more. Of special interest to jazz fans are Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate ($15 with purchase of Festival of Arts admission) on select Thursdays; and Jazz on the Green (free admission with purchase of Festival of Arts ticket) twice monthly on Saturdays. Here is the schedule:
Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate lineup:
Various Thursdays, July 9-Aug. 27, 5:30 p.m.
July 9: Steve Oliver
July 16: Billy Valentine
July 23: Carol Bach y Rita
July 30: Pretzel Logic
Aug. 6: Bill Cantos
Aug. 13: Gregg Karukas
Aug. 20: Brian Bromberg
Aug. 27: Terry Wollman
Concerts on the Green lineup:
Various Saturdays, July 11-Aug. 22, 1 p.m.
July 11: The Stray Cats’ Lee Rocker
July 25: Ellis Hall presents Ray, Motown & Beyond
Aug. 8: Chieli Minucci and Special EFX with special guest Marion Meadows
Aug. 22: Russell Ferrante Trio with special guest Bob Mintzer
Festival of Arts––located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California––is open daily, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., July 5 through Aug. 31.
General admission is $7 Monday-Friday, $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Special discounts apply to students and seniors; free admission for military, Laguna Beach residents and children 12 and under. And, with the new Passport to the Arts, a special promotion funded in part by Bank of America, $23 gets you unlimited admission all summer long to Festival of Arts (excluding Pageant of the Masters), the Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair.
Pageant of the Masters is held nightly at 8:30, July 8-Aug. 31.
For tickets and information on all of the events, visit www.foapom.com or call 800-487-3378.
For more coverage on Festival of Arts, Pageant of the Masters and the festival’s summer concerts, check out the current issue of Smooth Jazz News (pages 8-9; and 12) in print or online at www.smoothjazznews.com.
By: Melanie Maxwell