Local Currents


A Moveable Feast

David Vanderveen
David Vanderveen

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast,” Ernest Hemingway


This week felt like Laguna in Paris. My wife, Sarah and I traveled with Glenn and Iris Rogers to the capital of France to celebrate the 40th birthday of another Laguna friend in the city of light as she was wrapping up a sabbatical in Europe. We heavily sampled that city’s wealth of food, wine and art.


Every plane I’ve been on lately is showing Woody Allen’s new film, “Midnight in Paris,” which is my favorite. Owen Wilson plays a screenwriter vacationing in Paris who discovers a way to return to 1920’s Paris—the time of Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Picasso, Dali, Cole Porter and the Fitzgeralds — among others.


Wilson is desperate to become the novelist he hopes he might be if only he could generate the inspiration and criticism he feels might be available to him from the ghosts of the past. He ultimately finds a muse who empowers him to embrace the truth of both who he is and how he can share that in his art, the written word.


Hemingway obviously felt something similar when he described the moveable feast that’s available to a young person who develops a sense of truth, beauty and grace early in life. If you are lucky enough to find a community that motivates and inspires you, what you discover stays with you as your environment changes.


Two weeks ago I wrote about ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Mich., and how that event has transformed the Midwestern city and attracted a sort of moveable feast to it. What was once the end of summer and its foot traffic there has since become the busiest month of the year as almost 2,000 artists descend, bringing aesthetic, intellectual and business stimulation with them.


Although I was aware of ArtPrize and it success, I was just beginning to learn its depth and significance. In fact, last week I learned that a professor at Laguna College of Art and Design, Mia Tavonatti, was a finalist in the top 10. Then as my wife and I watched the announcement live online, Tavonatti won the $250,000 top prize and the prestige that goes with it. Brava, Mia!


If Tavonatti is willing to bisect her mosaic crucifixion and drive it across the U.S. to showcase it for the world, maybe we should create an art contest, a moveable feast, here in Laguna too.


David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected].

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