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Endeavors of the Heart

Dedicated to Arts for Everyone

By Lee Winocur Field

Pop quiz time. What does LOCA stand for? Even if you’re familiar with the wonderful work of this organization, you may be guessing about the initials. That’s why president Bonnie Macmillan wants to end the confusion, getting all of us onboard that this award-winning non-profit community group is Laguna Outreach For Community Arts.

Founded 17 years ago by artists Anne England and Mada Leach, Laguna Outreach For Community Arts is a coalition of arts educators, professional artists and advocates dedicated to providing art education programs and opportunities to people of all ages. And what terrific programs they are, as recognized by winning at last year’s 2009 Art Star Awards for “outstanding arts collaboration.”

Currently Laguna Outreach For Community Arts has programs in all Laguna schools, integrating art into the curricula of a variety of subjects. For example, at the high school, the group’s coordinators worked with teacher Peter Tiner’s art class to create a series of collages that will be the visuals for a detailed guidebook to Laguna Beach that will be available at the Visitor’s Bureau downtown.

At Thurston Middle School, they collaborated with teacher Linda Erickson, whose eighth grade class created a huge tile art work in three sections, depicting the wonderful underwater creatures of Laguna’s tide pools. The piece will be shown at various community locations and eventually auctioned as a fundraiser for LOCA.

Other art programs are equally impressive. At the Community Service Program’s Laguna Beach Youth Shelter, arts educators conduct year-round weekly art workshops tailored to the needs of each participant as a way to express themselves and perhaps provide some respite from the problems in their lives.

At the Boys and Girls Club, programs serve two groups of children from cross cultural families, Even Start for pre-schoolers and Kinder Buddy for kindergarten children. As Macmillan says, “LOCA brings the children an open art experience that many would never otherwise have.”

The Susi Q Senior Center hosts 10 art instructors, each working with a different theme or medium. Limited to 12 participants per class, the workshops are so popular there’s a lottery to get in them!

“Watercolors on the Beach,” a collaboration with the Laguna Ocean Foundation, is another popular program, enjoyed by both children and adults. Supplied with a tote bag of art supplies and a notebook, participants journal what they see on a docent-led tour of the tide pools. Afterwards, artists guide them in sketching and water coloring pictures from their journals. Macmillan recalls a journalist who was new in town when he came with his two pre-teen children to the event. Neither child had been in an art class before. After that Sunday on the sand, their dad reported that they re-supplied  their  LOCA bags and take them everywhere they go. Learning their lessons made a lasting impression is “music to our ears,” said Macmillan.

LOCA’s 120 professional artist members lead the art education workshops. They are recipients for grants from the Festival of Arts Foundation, the city of Laguna Beach and the Rotary Club. The group is working hard to develop additional granting sources and fundraising events such as their successful “garden party” last spring, hosted by Jon Madison at Madison Square and Garden Cafe.

They’re always looking for new members, expertise for the advisory committee, and of course new donors. Visit at www.LOCAarts.org or phone 363-4700.

 

Lee Winocur Field, coordinator of the Laguna Beach Community Alliance (www.lbcalliance.org), is an adjunct professor at National University. Clinical psychologist Dr. Marion Jacobs maintains a private practice.

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