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Plein Air Contest is a Plain Success

The week-long, 13th Annual Laguna Beach Plein-Air Invitational was capped off last weekend with a collectors soirée and public art show at the Laguna Art Museum, both better attended and generating more sales than the year before.

The 300 guests of the museum and Laguna Plein-Air Painters Association enjoyed food, libations and live jazz by the Dan Reckard Trio. The festive crowd surveyed works by 44 invited artists who had flown in from as far afield as Hawaii and Maryland to paint for a week on location in town and its environs.

Altogether 87 paintings sold on Saturday night and 30 more during the public art show and sale, a 50 percent increase over last year’s sales, said museum spokeswoman Marni Farmer. More than 600 visitors jammed the museum galleries on Sunday.

This year, students from the Laguna College of Art and Design, as well as local secondary school students were invited to participate and offer their work for bids. For a mere $100, savvy collectors could pick up a small canvas by budding 21st century California Impressionists.

Altogether, the week-long event grossed $180,000, including donations, ticket sales and art bids. Artists received 60 percent from the sale of their works, and LAM and LPAPA split the net proceeds.

Also new this year, artists received monetary prizes or services as winnings.

Best in Show: Ray Roberts, $5000.

Laguna Art Museum Award of Excellence: Jacobus Baas, $2,500.

Edward H. Boseker Award: Rick Delanty, $1,000.

Collectors’ Choice: Jeff Sewell, $500.

Southwest Art Magazine Best of Quick Draw Award: Ronaldo Macero, $500 and half page feature in the magazine.

Laguna Art Group Best in Subject Award: Bryan Mark Taylor, $500.

LCAD Next Generation Scholarship Award Gia Moody, $500; Sisi Chen, $300; and Kari Dunham, $200.

Six other artists also received awards ranging from page magazine ads to goody baskets provided by local organizations and businesses.

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