Growing up in Laguna Beach, and having the perspective of living elsewhere for periods of time, I have been able to see the changes to our wonderful home in ways someone who has never left may not notice.
It is with this perspective I whole-heartedly endorse building the artist live work space that is currently proposed in Laguna Canyon.
Too many years have gone by with artists leaving town because of high rental rates, zoning restrictions, and various city codes. These are the types of artist that founded Laguna Beach and whose heritage gives it the appeal that is slipping away.
I personally know several artists who have moved only to become successful in other areas, and the prime reason I’ve heard repeatedly is they had to leave because they couldn’t find or afford anywhere to live and or work.
I’m personally looking forward to a landmark we can point out to people that once again demonstrates the community supports local artists year round, not just during summer months when we have the festivals.
At an art show in Los Angeles recently I told a father and son I was from Laguna Beach. The son referred to it as the “city with the T.V. show,” and the father called Laguna “the place Newport Beach took over and kicked the artists out of.” The father mentioned it was common to meet an artist working in a Laguna gallery, and he would buy a piece as he watched the artist finish or come back the next day or week when the work was done. He said he was sad those days were gone. I was sad I had no rebuttal.
This a chance to re-instill some of Laguna’s integrity as an artist community.
Without support for artists, Laguna could someday be considered just like Newport Beach or Corona del Mar, only harder to get to. The arguments I’ve heard to oppose the project at the council meetings while genuine have little factual basis. The characteristics of Laguna that are cherished by those opposing the building are the same things that are at risk if the plan is not approved. It would be sad if this is another opportunity lost to fear.
Jackson M. Cloak, Laguna Beach
This letter also went to Planning Commission members.