by : Rey Andres
The scene was so vivid and realistic that the canvas at the stage of Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach looked like the real painting. The “live painting” had human elements who are all volunteers were dressed up to depict elements of a painting and whose dedication and commitment to keeping alive a tradition had made Laguna Beach earn the distinction as the “cradle of arts in Southern California.”
This year’s Gallery of the Louvre (literally living pictures) which artist and vaudevillian Lolita Perine created has been a smash success for more than eight decades and has always fascinated art lovers all over the world with local residents dressed up in authentic costumes and seated behind a makeshift frame.
The Pageant of the Masters commenced fascinating viewers on July 7 and will run through August 31. It took volunteers more than 60,000 hours and months of planning for this annual event. The Pageant of the Master is one of the twin offering of the premier city in what is known as Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts and what made the much awaited event as California’s Premier Fine Art Show.
The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, sponsor of the summer spectacle is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to promote, produce, and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts.”
The Foundation sponsors art education programming, art exhibits and provides art scholarships to local high school students as well as grants for local non-profit art organizations.” I also owns an extensive permanent art collection which it regularly displays throughout the year.
The organization is host to the premier open-air fine art show produces the Pageant of the Masters that combines the world’s theatrical illusion and artistry.
The Festival of Arts was founded in 1932 “to encourage and promote activities conducive to the artistic and cultural development of the Laguna Beach.”
The exquisite the natural beauty of Laguna Beach has been a magnet for artist since 1878 “where artists flourished in the small village by supporting themselves through sales to tourists who flocked to the beach for vacation.” Earning for itself the distinction of being an art colony, the entire 300 residents which comprised its total population established the Laguna Arts Association to promote the fine arts.
Visitors from all over the world were attracted to the small seaside art village even when the Great Depression swept the land.
From its humble beginnings as a means of promoting and sustaining the fine arts in Laguna Beach, the Festival of Arts has grown into a world-renowned cultural institution drawing visitors from far and wide.
The Festival’s premier attraction has shared its success over the years in the form of scholarships to art students and grants to art and cultural organizations, and hosting cultural events on the grounds throughout the year.
Laguna Beach and The Festival of Arts have grown together in their mission to provide a world class summer event.