After more than a year of being cancelled, Laguna Beach is bringing back its First Thursdays Art Walk April 1.
The event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., provides a relaxed environment for art lovers to explore Laguna’s plethora of art galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
Integral to the First Thursdays experience, the Laguna Beach trolley service that traditionally provides free rides along the event route is suspended due to COVID-19 precautions. Organizers said they are hopeful the service will return by June.
“Until trolley service resumes, we are encouraging people to participate by driving or walking to the different neighborhoods where participating galleries are located,” Dora Orgill, president of First Thursdays Art Walk Laguna Beach, told The Epoch Times.
“For example, you can visit galleries in North Laguna to start the evening, then drive closer to the galleries in downtown or vice-versa. People love to make an entire evening out of First Thursdays. With all of the eateries and boutiques throughout the route there’s plenty of dining and shopping opportunities.”
The Promenade on Forest will remain open for the foreseeable future, she said.
The open-air, pedestrian-only portion of Forest Avenue in downtown Laguna was established last September in response to COVID-19 restrictions. Since then, it has become a prevalent safe-distanced destination for visitors and locals alike, where safety protocols continue while enabling guests to enjoy shopping and dining.
Showcasing Local Art Students
In partnership with the Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), First Thursdays established a mentoring and scholarship program that pairs senior art students with gallery owners who display student work during First Thursdays events. A portion of the proceeds from artwork sales goes directly to support mentoring scholarships for students.
“Our professional studies class is a requirement for our senior students,” Robin Fuld, LCAD director of career services and past president of First Thursdays told The Epoch Times. “First Thursdays’ mentoring program is a platform where students can learn about the other disciplines they will need to be successful, besides developing their artistic talents.”
Fuld said today’s visual art world has new paradigms that were emerging even before the COVID-19 pandemic, such as virtual exhibitions which enable broader exposure for all artists.
“The good news is that artists today can be represented anywhere in the world. But as such, they need to understand best practices in the areas of online portfolio creation, client cultivation, gallery and collector communications, even how to properly ship their work,” Fuld said.
“There’s more to the business of art than creating the work. We certainly don’t want our seniors to miss the opportunity to participate in this year’s First Thursdays, it’s a great learning opportunity and showcase for their work. We are grateful to participating galleries and the visitors who support them.”
As its name suggests, the event is held on the first Thursday of each month.