Creative Output Provides the Fuel for Scholars


Cutbacks at California colleges give extra urgency to the cause behind the Laguna College of Art and Design’s 23rd annual Collectors Choice soirée on Saturday, June 9. The fundraiser for student scholarships attracted 450 visitors and netted $127,000 last year, but LCAD president Jonathan Burke set even loftier goals this year.

“Seeing the costs of education rising and funding going down, the school is committed to making up the difference. I am hoping for a lot more this year for student support,” said, Burke, hired last year to succeed retiring Dennis Power.

Burke will preside over the festivities for the first time in his new capacity after serving as LCAD instructor, gallery director, dean of fine arts and vice-president of academic affairs for 31 years.

Keeping with tradition, the evening is centered on silent and live art auctions and an “impromptu” staged raffle, with works donated by local artists such as glass artist John Barber, sculptor Richard McDonald, painters Kathy Jones and Karen Tusinski, Betty Height and Stephanie Cunningham, multi-media artist Andrew Myers and plein-air painter Mark Jacobucci among others.

Barber, who has donated work for the past 10 years, this year contributes a pâté de verre (glass) piece stylistically close to the pieces he created at the entrance of Laguna’s Montage resort. “I did a casting of the Catalina view we share from here that can be used as a window or a wall hanging,” he explained. All art can be previewed at LCAD’s main campus beginning June 4.

Themed as “A Trip Down Memory Lane,” the evening will also be a celebration of LCAD’s 50th anniversary. Guests are encouraged to incorporate into their evening attire gold and white, represented in decor designed by LCAD trustee and master of ceremonies Nelson Coates. Coates’ decorations focus on the school’s history with photos of past events, archived film footage and cars from each decade.

Burke intends to keep his address short. “I will spend a few moments to tell the story of the college along with its philosophy and aesthetic direction. A lot of people love the idea of an art school in Laguna Beach but don’t have any direct knowledge of it. I want to share the day to day excitement of educating students,” he said.

This year, after customary cocktails, attendees will partake in a sit-down dinner catered by Laguna Culinary Arts.

Individual tickets are $150. To purchase tickets and preview artwork, see or RSVP Tracy Hartman ([email protected]) at 949-376-6000 by June 1st.

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