Festival of Arts Hosts Successful Junior Artists Celebration Showcasing Student Talent 


Families Flock to Festival Grounds for Jam-Packed Art-Filled Afternoon

The Lent family pose with artwork by 2nd grader Max Lent on display in the Festival of Arts Junior Art Exhibit during the Junior Artists Celebration event on Sunday, July 16. Photo/Festival of Arts 

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach welcomed hundreds of families, student artists and art teachers from across Southern California on Sunday, July 16, to its Junior Artists Celebration, an event dedicated to honoring the artistic talents of Orange County’s youth. 

The heart of the celebration revolved around the Junior Art Exhibit and the nearly 250 Orange County students (pre-kindergarten to 12th grade) whose artwork is featured in it. The display not only showcases the exceptional artistic abilities of OC students, but also serves as a testament to the value and significance of fostering arts education within the Orange County school systems. California First Leasing Corporation, The FOA Foundation, and Mark Porterfeld of Laguna Beach sponsored the exhibit.

The Junior Art Exhibit features a diverse range of mediums of creative expressions, including paintings, sculptures, animation and mixed media pieces. Among the artworks on display is “Deep Sea Fishing with Dad”, a colorful drawing by second grader Max Lent of Placentia. 

“We were super excited to learn that Max’s artwork was selected to be exhibited at the Festival of Arts. His mother and I are so proud of him. We love that his school actively promotes opportunities for students to express their emotions through art,” said Matt Lent, father to Max Lent. “I was so touched that Max chose to draw something that we do as a family. We go deep sea fishing often and to see that was something he wanted to express is also very special to me.”

Festival of Arts Exhibits Director Christine Georgantas welcomed families and emphasized that this day was about the kids and for the kids. She then introduced Scott Fitzpatrick, Arts Coordinator at the Orange County Department of Education. 

“The mission statement for the Orange County Department of Education is that we want to lead the nation in college readiness, and I believe in that for the arts,” he said. “The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is a great partner for us, not only to lead the nation in college readiness but also to lead in career and success readiness. I am very happy with the amount of artwork included this year, and also very happy for the additional amount of submissions, from not only public schools and private schools, but also charter schools and home schools within Orange County.”

During the 3-hour celebration, young artists embarked on an art quest, visiting professional artists whose work is on display in the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show. On completion, they received prizes like paint sets, pencils and notepads to inspire creativity. Attendees also enjoyed special art workshops at the Art Center, offering various techniques like hat making, printmaking, and ceramics.

The event also debuted the musical talents of the band Sharks and Reptiles, which featured three young female musicians from Tustin: Ellia Chai, Bonnie Hoke and Katie Gerogantas. The crowd was also delighted by impressive aerial acts performed by talented children from OC Aerial Arts, showcasing their remarkable acrobatic abilities. 

The success of the Junior Artists Celebration at the Festival of Arts emphasizes the significance of fostering young artistic talent and providing platforms for creative expression. The Festival of Arts remains dedicated to supporting and inspiring the next generation of artists. Such events inspire young minds to pursue their passion and leave a lasting impact in the art world.

Looking ahead, the Festival of Arts is pleased to announce the upcoming annual Junior Art Awards Ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, August 13. This highly anticipated event will honor the exceptional young artists featured in the Junior Art Exhibit, with awards presented to the top three winners per class in each grade. These talented individuals will receive prestigious gold, silver, and bronze medallions, along with certificates of achievement, in recognition of their remarkable artistic accomplishments.

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