Envisioning an Off-Season Art Scene

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I recently returned from a trip to Michigan.  One of the highlights was a visit to Grand Rapids.  Yes, it is the home of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.  It also is the host of ArtPrize.  Now in it’s seventh year, the city was ablaze with over 1,500 works of art in 160 locations.  These included sculptures of all sizes as well as paintings and drawings.  This year, ArtPrize handed out $500,000 in cash awards.

As I was taking in the sights and sounds of ArtPrize, I kept wondering how it could be replicated in Laguna.  Based on the number of people visiting Grand Rapids the day I was there, it clearly is a huge draw for the public.  I lost count of the number of school buses that were there.

But more than the number of people, it’s obvious shop owners and the Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically embrace the 2-week event.

As far as I could tell, there were works of art displayed in virtually every restaurant or office in the city.  Imagine if Laguna had a version of ArtPrize in the off season.  The town could be filled with visitors admiring sculptures on Main Beach or along Coast Hwy., and paintings hung in stores you never would expect to find art of any kind.

My trip to Michigan turned out to be more than an opportunity to see the leaves change color.  It turned out to be a chance to artfully dream about what might be in Laguna.

Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach  

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