by Publisher CoachellaValley | April 24, 2021 11:52 am
By Kathy Strong
Laguna Beach has been an exclusive haven for the arts for nearly a century, as well as the sparkling jewel of Southern California’s own scenic Riviera coastline.
A year-round destination, Laguna shines brightest in the summer months. Gentle ocean breezes combine with some of the cleanest beaches, water and air on the coast to make the area a magnet for water-play, tide pool exploring, bird watching and just enjoying the refreshing coastal temperatures.
However, it is the art that keeps people coming back each summer with the Festival of Arts and undoubtedly one of the most unique art and theater presentations on earth: The Pageant of the Masters. The live production nearly defies description, but I’ll try. Why? Because this is one event you need to put on your calendar this summer. I defy you to believe the “magic” unveiled before your eyes!
Made in America
After a year without the art spectaculars, both The Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts are returning for the 2021 season. In the 2021 Pageant of the Masters, audiences will meet the artists – revolutionaries, innovators, dreamers – who not only made this country their home, but let their creativity be inspired by the freedoms upon which this nation was founded in this year’s theme: Made in America. Through their lives, artworks and voices, a compelling portrait of the artists will come to life with all the theatrical magic that makes the Pageant a one-of-a-kind, must-see summer tradition.
Asked to reveal some of the artists whose stories and works will be included in “Made in America,” Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy shared several, many of them acknowledged masters of American art: Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Norman Rockwell, Daniel Chester French, Luis Jimenez and John Nieto. She continued, “We’re going to ‘flesh out’ and ‘paint’ more detailed portraits of the individual artists. I want to make these artists, regardless of their time periods, REAL and identifiable for the audience.”
Much like this nation, where courageous individuals banded together to change the course of history, the Pageant is also a group effort that has defied the odds. Challis Davy and her team of artists and technicians realize the Pageant wouldn’t be possible without its dedicated volunteers who return year after year to take part. Challis Davy offered a final, thoughtful observation: “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure ‘Made in America’ will be full of thrills, amazing and inspirational stories, beautiful music and extraordinary living pictures under the stars.”
Decades of Making Art Come Alive
In the summer of 1933, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts was born when around two dozen artists hung their paintings on fences, trees and buildings along Laguna’s main street, hoping to lure visitors to the first Festival of Arts, while some artists opened their home-studios to the public.
Music, colorful signs and banners, parades and entertainment added to the celebratory ambiance of the event, which turned Laguna Beach into one enormous art gallery. In 1935, “living pictures” were transformed into a full production with music, narration and painted backdrops, giving birth to “The Pageant of the Masters” which rapidly evolved into a popular summer tradition. Not surprisingly, the pageant now draws an audience of more than 225,000, and the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show prevails as one of the longest-running art exhibitions in the state.
The Pageant of the Masters has since evolved into an internationally acclaimed, fantastical theatrical-art event. With its own permanent home since 1935 in a canyon-cradled amphitheater, the pageant continues to defy optical reality. Guests who return year after year still depart marveling at how art masterpieces—from the “Mona Lisa” to the “Last Supper”—magically become living pictures complete with art-accurate script, professional narration, live orchestra and exquisite costuming.
Although the show may look a little different this year, a one-of-a-kind experience is guaranteed. Details are still being formulated, so watch the website for updates. Tickets will go on sale to the General Public on May 3, 2021. Please check back then for tickets or call 1-800-487-3378. Pageant of the Masters shows run July 7 – September 3, 2021 with performances nightly at 8:30 p.m. For information on where to stay, shop and dine, contact Visit Laguna Beach.
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