By Daniella Walsh | LB Indy
Laguna Art Museum’s executive director Malcolm Warner stands poised to begin his third year at its helm, and eagerly anticipates successes and challenges of 2014.
He is not alone. While local arts leaders take satisfaction in last year’s high points, they enthusiastically embrace the coming 12 months.
Warner hopes to expand programming on Thursday evenings that now includes talks with artists, music and concerts as well as California art exhibitions ranging from the traditional to cutting edge.
Last November’s “Art and Nature” symposium and festival was a crowning achievement and one Warner envisions as an annual event that marries art, science and social consciousness with the environment.
“Jim Denevan’s spectacular solar lantern installation on Main Beach, a magisterial lecture by state librarian Kevin Starr and the hugely popular family festival were such hits that we’ll do it again next November and every year from now on,” he said.
He anticipates “Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories” this year, a full-scale Thiebaud exhibition and sequel to the museum’s 2007-08 show, which includes several works donated to the museum since.
Museum-goers can also count on an exhibit of works by Millard Sheets from the Gene Crain Collection and drawings by contemporary artist Dana Harel. Also on the program is “In Praise of Sunshine,” a retrospective show of Rex Brandt paintings and highlights from the museum’s permanent collection. “The museum is thriving and we’ll keep it that way with a little help from our friends,” he said.
Luring audiences to the theater remains a post-recession challenge, but Karen Wood, Laguna Playhouse’s executive director, set a new standard in the past year with Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” Val Kilmer’s tour de force “Citizen Twain” and Mona Golabek’s “The Pianist of Willdesen Lane.”
Audiences in 2014 can look forward to the return of comedienne Rita Rudner, solo performer Hershey Felder and evenings with Chris Lemmon sharing vignettes of life with his famous father Jack.
“Pageant of the Masters” script writer Dan Duling bubbles with excitement about the source material that will become the basis of 2014’s show, “The Art Detective.” “From the efforts of the ‘Monuments Men’ to save the treasures of Europe during World War II to the revealing personal stories of artists and models through the centuries, this is a script writer’s dream theme,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Fred Sattler, president of the Festival of Arts, which hosts the “Pageant,” hopes a new entrance facade will begin this year. “We have been working on a new design for many years with the idea of creating a beautiful, updated entry that blends in with the canyon’s natural surroundings,” he said.
The much-vaunted Laguna Beach Music Festival, set for Feb. 8, continues to expand its repertoire. Its headliner, Gabriel Kahane yMusic Ensemble, performs contemporary classical music based on the pop, jazz and folk vernacular.
Presenter Laguna Beach Live will also feature more collaborations with the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Dance Festival, and a new venue, Seven Degrees, for its winter jazz Wednesdays performances, said executive director Lucinda Prewitt.
There’s also something for youngsters, the Live! Music & Kids program now at the Boys and Girls Club, will expand into school presentations, Prewitt said.
In larger and expanded spaces, gallerists Torrey Cook, of Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow, and Ludo Leideritz, of Forest & Ocean Gallery, respectively, look forward to real growth in 2014.
Cook anticipates growing her roster of artists, thanks to grant support from shoe and clothing maker Vans. “Together we are gonna rule the world!,” she wrote in an email.
Her first show of 2014 showcases San Francisco street artist Zio Ziegler, who will paint a mural inside the gallery.
Leideritz and his wife Barbara plan to expand their portfolio from photography and ceramics to include glass works and multi-media art.
Last year’s highpoint included a collaboration with fellow gallerist Sue Greenwood and the George Gallery, said Salt Fine Art’s founder Carla Arzente. “In 2014, we are looking forward to travel, taking a group of our collectors to Cuba and to ‘Rio,’ our opening show that expands our roster of artists from Central America and Cuba to Brazil,” she said.
Peter Blake turns 50 in the coming year but he celebrated his gallery’s 20th anniversary in the previous one. Both milestones forced him to reflect on the gallery’s impact on himself and on the community he loves and renewed his confidence in the future. “Here’s to 2014!” he wrote.