Laguna Arts Organizations Receive Bank of America Grants to Reach Diverse Markets

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Children draw during a Festival of Arts educational workshop. Courtesy of Festival of Arts Laguna Beach

The Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, and Laguna Art-A-Fair were awarded a grant from Bank of America to expand the 2021 Passport to the Arts program, which is intended to provide access to the arts for low- and moderate-income groups.

The Passport to the Arts is a single ticket that acts as a season pass to the three popular art festivals in Laguna Beach for a $29 annual fee.

“We are so very appreciative of this support from Bank of America, especially during these very uncertain and challenging times,” Festival of Arts spokesperson Sharbie Higuchi said in a prepared statement. “With this grant, we can provide growth opportunities for students to learn about careers in the arts, increase art education, and furnish the tools needed to succeed in the arts, for diverse communities and income levels.”

The passports will be donated nonprofit organizations, after-school art programs, and community colleges. The organizations will also coordinate “meet and greets” with artists to teach children about careers in the arts and industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the three art festivals to cancel their summer events, creating unprecedented financial challenges.

“Bank of America’s support of the arts remains a priority, especially during this time when arts organizations have faced unforeseen financial challenges, because the arts are both an important cultural driver and a local economic engine,” said Allen Staff, Orange County market president for Bank of America.

The Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair not only foster arts education, and creativity, but they also create jobs and contribute significantly to the local and state economy. Each summer the festivals draw crowds from within and around the community, as well as attracts new and visiting populations annually, creating economic support for the arts and overall local community.

“Bank of America understands that investing into the arts is investing into the growth of our communities,” Higuchi said.

Bank of America has supported the three festivals and their Passport to the Arts program for more than 10 years, providing nearly half-million dollars of support.

Despite their 2020 season cancellations, each festival continues to find cost-effective ways to continue to support local artists and fulfill their missions of supporting the arts. As the 2021 summer season approaches, the three art festivals also look forward to creating digital art initiatives to extend the art experience and learning beyond the festival grounds, according to a press release.

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