The Festival of the Arts Pageant of The Masters Review - Fine Art in A Fun Atmosphere

When people think of Fine Art, or Investment Quality art, they may think of intimidating Art Galleries, or cloistered old Museums with `Hoity-Toity  Stodginess' [my words].  Not so at the famous Festival of the Arts, in Laguna Beach, California. Located at 650 Laguna Canyon Blvd, in a park like Art setting adjacent to downtown Laguna Beach.  Across the street from The Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair, this venue has been celebrating Art and Artist for 80 years. 

The Festival Awaits

Robin Hall, Ken Auster, Jeff Horn, Michael Obermeyer

Michael Obermeyer

Ken Auster

The Festival of Arts opens every Summer and is renowned for Art, Jazz and Music, Fashion Shows, and of course, The Pageant of the Masters. I will write about these in a subsequent article.  Today I visited the Festival grounds especially to see and listen to a panel of artist talk about  Plein Air Painting. As a painter myself, I was enamored of the Cast of Characters. For I have taken workshops or classes with each of the four panelist.  I can state unequivocally that these four, and additionally the moderator, are 5 artist who are superb fine artist in each their own right. They each paint and work very differently and come from different backgrounds. This speaks highly to the fact that they are all long-time retuning artist, to The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts.  The Panelist were Robin Hall in the lead, along with Michael Obermeyer, Ken Auster, and Jeff Horn. Kathy Jones served as Moderator.

Robin Hall

Michael Obermeyer in his booth

Ken Auster at his Booth

Jeff Horn relaxed in his Chair

Kathy jones

On a beautiful day with a clear Cerulean Blue Sky,  light ocean breeze, and the smell of salt in the air, today's topic for the Panel was "Capturing California".  As it began, and oh-so appropriate for a panel about Plein Air painting, many of the paintings on the stage display were blown over with a crash to the ground, ` No Harm' said Michael Obermeyer, `that's what Plein Air is all about '.  Each artist spoke about their inspiration, how they work outdoors, colors they use on their palettes, and had an interesting story or two to tell, then answered questions. Ken Auster proclaimed his love of outdoor painting. For the most part Ken acknowledged, being outdoors for him  was opening the windows and doors to his studio. Robin Hall mused - "The festival offers a very unique venue held in a historic pristine setting during the most beautiful time of year....There is always something new each year at the Festival of Arts."  And  Jeff Horn  chimed in from the artist perspective; "It provides a unique opportunity for painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelers, printmakers, ceramists, and glass artists to interact and learn from each other".   

Robin Hall Leads panel

And in follow-up I think Jeff Horn best surmised the one common thread that all the Panelist spoke to : "The Festival introduces fine art to local residents and tourists, many of whom have never visited galleries or museums.  It also provides a venue for the artist to  meet new patrons and share their passion for their work. The Festival provides a rare opportunity for visitors to view art – perhaps even try to create their own art – while enjoying food and entertainment." 

Panel Poses - Michael, Jeff, Robin, Ken

Audience View

I'd simply tell you it's a great place to see fine art and have some fun, sans the `Stodgie' Uptight aspect of some galleries and museums. The work at The Festival, from all the artist, is definitely of the highest quality. This is not a craft fair !

Kathy Jones at her Festival Booth

Robin Hall Booth

Today, after 80 years in Laguna Beach, The Festival of Arts - Pageant of the Masters is considered one of the premier Art Venues in the United States.  Running from June 30 through August 31st. My next article will focus on some of the other aspects of this fun at this exciting venue. On August 24th, I will review the  Jazz Concert with James Ingram, and the esteemed Pageant of the Masters itself, hosted by Heather Locklear  this year. On August 31st, I shall review and photograph the  Festival Runway Fashion Show, a big hit each year, featuring a fashion competition of creations by some of the exhibiting artist with this year's Guest Judge, Steven "Cojo" Cojocaru .  


I love going to The Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California.  It's Fun. It's inspiring. I find a tranquil sort of Bliss walking around looking at the art, talking with the artist, and perhaps, having a glass of wine and listening to some music.

Event Photoraphy by:  GregAutryPhoto

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