Laguna Beach artists blessed ahead of festival season

Families and friends gather at the Blessing of the Artists reception on June 10 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Laguna Beach. Photo by Tasmin McGill

By Tasmin McGill, Special to the Independent

As the Laguna Beach festival season approaches, religious leaders from multiple congregations recently gathered for their annual Blessing of the Artists. The event was sponsored by the St. Catherine of Siena Council of Catholic Women and the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council.

Hosted at the Laguna Beach ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on June 10, Bishop Spencer Samuelian welcomed the participants and shed light on the importance of the artists’ work. From providing the community with something they can share, to the art that gives a sense of belonging within the city.

Rev. Lester MacKenzie and Pastors Jeff Tacklind, Lynn Francis, and Jay Grant joined Samuelian to share their appreciation for artists and bless them for a safe and successful festival season with prayers and spoken word. 

Pastor Grant of Laguna Beach Net-Works Church reminisced about the first time he came upon the Sawdust Festival and how “a love affair” with Laguna Beach artists began.

Pastor Francis of Laguna Beach United Methodist Church shared her form of art writing. Composing a litany, Francis acknowledged the photographers, ceramists, sculpturists, and all artists who “use their gift to make the world a more beautiful and inspiring place.”

The annual faith event also welcomed local artists to participate, including local songstress Rory Lundquist, who returned home from her first year at Belmont University. Due to this year’s event being more casual, Lundquist performed an original song titled “The Fall.” 

Focusing on facing fears of failure and rejection, Lundquist croons, “It’s not the getting up that scares me, it’s the chance that I’ll fall.” 

“I have a fear of putting myself out there. That’s always been a struggle for me,” Lundquist said. “I felt like [“The Fall”] was the most applicable for a lot of artists because everyone goes through the same thing.”

Hedy Buzan, a local abstract painter and printmaker, also attended for the first time and shared words from “Creating” by Father Richard Rohr. In previous years, the event was formal, however, that has changed since its expansion to involve more faiths, according to Buzan. 

“Jay invited artists to participate last year and it seemed to work really well,” Buzan said. “Lisa, one of the coordinators, invited me and asked if I had anything I wanted to say and I said, ‘actually I do.’”

Laguna Beach’s 2022 summer festival season will kick off with the Sawdust Festival on June 24.

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