Laguna Art Museum prepares for virtual fall gala

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Jason Freddy will perform with his band and co-emcee the virtual bash.

By Barbara McMurray, Special to the Independent

A benefit gala will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 to support the Laguna Art Museum, re-imagined as an online extravaganza of art and music. LAM executive director Malcolm Warner and Laguna Beach Arts Alliance’s 2019 Artist of the Year Jason Feddy will emcee the Virtual Benefit Bash.  

Honorary event chairs are Greg and Barbara MacGillivray, whose film company, MacGillivray-Freeman Films, has received numerous honors and awards for its IMAX films. They have been nominated twice for Academy Awards, in 1995 for “The Living Sea and “Dolphins” in 2000.

“The academy nominated them, but we are actually going to give them an award,” joked Feddy in a freewheeling video chat with Warner emailed to invitees. “The academy, I think, should be kicking themselves and feeling slightly ashamed.” 

Co-chaired by Carla Meberg and Kristin Henry Samuelian, the bash will be the first event of its kind in Laguna Beach—a virtual affair that embraces an online art experience and welcomes participants from around the world. It is designed as a festive community gathering to celebrate Laguna’s 100-year-old museum of California art.

Toy Counter (1970) by Wayne Thiebaud will be available for auction.

Supporting the museum’s art education and exhibition programs, the LAM gala promises guest appearances by art luminaries and a preview of the museum’s 2020 Art & Nature commission of a large-scale outdoor installation. 

Following the benefit, the online bash invites the museum’s community—in Laguna Beach and around the world—to a publicly available program featuring Feddy and his Joe Cocker tribute band, Mad Dogs & The Englishman, demonstrations by caricature artists, and a visit to the museum’s vault to see new acquisitions. 

For donations made during the online bash, supporters will be automatically entered into a prize drawing for a weekend getaway package that includes a complimentary vehicle from Aston Martin Newport Coast and a two-night stay and dinner for two at Harvest Restaurant at The Ranch at Laguna Beach.

Event sponsors, benefactors, patrons, and donors to the virtual Make a Difference paddle raise will be entered to win Toy Counter (1970) by Wayne Thiebaud. The classic eight-color serigraph by the California artist is a framed, signed proof donated by the artist. Its estimated value is $17,000. For information about the event, go to

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