Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts recognized its stars and paid tribute to renowned Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair at the eighth annual Art Star Awards on Sunday.
About 260 attended the event at Seven Degrees, which included a red carpet reception set to music by Laguna Concert Band’s Swing Set. Even chair Wayne Baglin emceed the award gala and St.Clair delivered a compelling keynote address.
Laguna Dance Festival founder and former ballerina Jodie Gates was named artist of the year. Sculptor Cheryl Ekstrom took home the $5,000 Seven Degrees of Inspiration grant. The finished project will be a series of sculptures created from a variety of materials, depicting journeys and adventures in life, broken and unbroken, for growth in spirit, intellect, perspective and humanness. The body of work will be unveiled at the 2015 Art Star Awards.
Other awards went to arts leader Rosemary Schwimm; Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature exhibit for best collaboration; arts patron Joe Hanauer; corporate patron PIMCO; best new arts program, Laguna Beach Live’s kids’ music program at the Boys and Girls Club; and the lifetime achievement award, to high school drama teacher Mark Dressler.
The 2013 recipient of the Inspiration grant, Ed Peterson, was on hand to debut his creation of the original musical score that was performed by Laguna Concert Band for the animated film “The Sock Thief,” which was produced by the Laguna College of Art & Design animation master class last summer.
The winners received original one-of-a-kind sculptures created by local artist Louis Longi.