LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.—For many artists juried into the famed Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts for its 2021 summer-long exhibition, emerging from the 15-month pandemic shutdowns is an opportunity to reunite and reconnect with fellow artists, friends, and clientele.
Making up for the lost year, it will also be a time to forge relationships and engage new patrons as they visit the legendary open-air festival grounds.
Founded in 1932, the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show has garnered a critically-acclaimed reputation as one of the finest outdoor art exhibitions in the nation. This year, the pageant format has been modified to showcase 120 artists, down from 2019’s show that included 140 artisans.
“In my opinion, the new venue layout is better, it’s less cramped, and overall, I think it provides a better representation of the artists, similar to the way it was when the festival started,” fine jewelry designer Troels Larsen told The Epoch Times.
After the 15-month pandemic void, for Larsen and many of the artisans in this year’s festival, having the opportunity to engage with the public in person provides them with the grassroots marketing and networking opportunities critical for them to build business and keep creating their art.
“For me, it’s where I generate new clients, I get to talk to people, the festival is the perfect venue to start up conversations with people I’ve not met before,” Larsen said. “By being there, I develop relationships with customers, future clients, and I have a lot of clients that come back and see me each year. You get to know people, which is really cool.”
Larsen said artists being able to personally explain their medium or materials, philosophy, vision, and inspiration is key to both selling work as well as creating a more vibrant, memorable experience for festivalgoers.
“It’s best if you can be there to explain your work, what materials are being used, and answer questions for people,” Larsen said.
“I love to be there myself because it’s educational. For example, I’ve worked with a bunch of different gemstones, there are many different facets to the jewelry, so it’s fun for me to give them a little talk about the different stones, the history and where they came from, how rare they might be. I enjoy it and I meet so many different people from all over the world.”
Larsen said his jewelry, and art in general, is an international business.
“I’ve met people from India, Sri Lanka, Africa, and South America.”
The Festival of Arts opened July 5 and will run through Sept. 3. On weekdays, the grounds will be open 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and on weekends, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The Return of Tableaux Vivants
Running simultaneously with the Festival of Arts is the equally-renowned Pageant of the Masters, 90-minute tableaux vivants (living pictures) that depict startlingly realistic recreations of classical and contemporary works of art with real people posing to look exactly like those in the original pieces.
Ensconced in its Laguna Canyon hillside amphitheater, the show is accompanied by a professional orchestra, original musical scores, live narration, intricate and sophisticatedly lit sets, all brought to life by experienced staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.
The Pageant’s 2021 theme is “Made in America,” a tribute to the artists who were revolutionaries, innovators, dreamers, and patriots who made the United States their home and let their creativity be inspired by the freedoms upon which the nation was founded.
The theme is also a nod to the innovative artists and community members who originally founded the event in the then-tiny coastal art colony of Laguna Beach in 1933.
American masters that will be showcased include artists Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Norman Rockwell, Daniel Chester French, Luis Jiménez, and John Nieto.
The Pageant of the Masters will also run through Sept. 3.