Festival of Arts Raises Nearly $300,000 at Virtual Gala

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Musician Tony Guerrero (right) and comedian Dave Foley recently co-hosted the Festival of Arts’ first virtual gala. Courtesy of Festival of Arts

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach, producer of the Pageant of the Masters, raised nearly $300,000 at its first-ever virtual gala on Dec. 5.

More than 1,500 guests tuned in for the Simply ARTrageous Live the Legacy Virtual Gala, according to a press release. The event’s proceeds will help the Festival of Arts continue making the arts widely accessible through programming, career opportunities, workshops and scholarships.

“We are beyond humbled and grateful to everyone who made this event possible,” said David Perry, president of the Festival of Arts Board of Directors. “We thank the donors for showing their support during these challenging times and for helping to position the organization for a stronger re-opening in 2021.

Hosted by musician Tony Guerrero and comedian Dave Foley, the virtual gala opened with a montage of activity from past seasons at the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters. The montage abruptly halted when the hosts realized it was 2020 and the grounds are empty. As they entered an empty Irvine Bowl, they were greeted by the voice of Pageant of the Masters narrator, Richard Doyle, welcoming gala guests to the virtual event.

The evening continued with musical acts by Melissa Manchester, The Salty Suites, Starr Parodi and Jeff Eden Fair, Luanne Homzy, Tommy Davy, Mark Turnbull and Laura Dickinson. Celebrity guests Bryan Cranston, Joe Mantegna, Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery sent their well wishes to the virtual gala guests, talked about the importance of the arts, and reflected on their experiences at the Festival and Pageant.

Local artists Mike Tauber, Vinita Voogd and Mitch Ridder as well as past scholarship recipients Issac Kramer, Ryan Hedden and Corey Hedden shared the impact the Festival of Arts has had on their career in the arts.

Guests were also treated to a preview of “Art People,” an upcoming exhibit at Laguna Art Museum by artist and photographer Matthew Rolston featuring portraits of Pageant volunteers.

The finale was an uplifting holiday song “Swingin’ Little Christmas” performed by Jane Lynch, Kate Flannery and Tim Davis. It was composed and arranged by Guerrero.

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