Art, Artist and Atmosphere
Make a Visit to the Famed Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna
Sawdust Art Festival opened its doors to greet the public
on July 2 for its 38th annual summer show. The highlight
of the Sawdust Art Festival has always been its exhibitors
and the amazing original art they create. Over the years,
millions of patrons have strolled the beautiful 3-acre
outdoor setting, finding new and enchanting artwork
around every turn of the sawdust-covered paths.
202 exhibitors creating everything from ceramics to
original photography to watercolor paintings, there
is sure to be something to catch every visitor's eye.
Shopping at the Sawdust brings patrons in direct contact
with the artists who create the items, allowing a rare
experience in today's mass-produced world.
can watch the exhibitors as they demonstrate their art
in either their booths or in designated demonstration
areas around the festival. There's no better reminder
of the summer of 2004 than purchasing an object at the
Sawdust Art Festival after seeing it made. With prices
ranging from just a few dollars up into the thousands
for fine jewelry or commissioned sculpture, there is
something to please everyone and every pocketbook.
glass-blowing demonstrations (hourly every day) always
draw a crowd as the Sawdust has one of the few glass
kilns on public view in the country. Watching a gather
of 2000 degree molten glass be blown and spun into a
vase or bowl is a breath-taking experience that enthralls
visitors both young and old. Patrons are invited to
get their hands dirty at the Ceramics Booth, where the
Sawdust offers complimentary instruction at the potter's
wheel. After patrons have experienced the ups and downs
(literally) of the wheel, they can really appreciate
the skills possessed by the Sawdust's ceramic artists
and the patience and talent that goes into hand-creating
Sawdust Art Festival was founded in 1966 as a reaction
against stuffy, boring art shows. The iconoclastic spirit
of its founders - three of whom, photographer John Atkinson,
and jewelers Nikki Grant and Irene Suess, still exhibit
- permeates the show.
goal of the Sawdust has always been to be a place where
artists are free to express themselves, be it in their
art, their booth design or their attitude," said Rebecca
Meekma, Community and Media Manager. "The Sawdust has
a fun, unpretentious atmosphere that lets everyone have
a good time."
and twenty-year exhibitor Mike Kelly agrees, "There's
something special about the atmosphere here at the Sawdust
- there is a creative, energetic vibe that really attracts
people. The hundred-year old eucalyptus trees shade
the grounds and add a peaceful feeling like we're in
a special place, and, hey - we are."
exhibitors must live in Laguna Beach and create what
they are selling. The non-profit Sawdust Art Festival
helps to keep the spirit of the artist founders of the
Sawdust Art Festival alive by guaranteeing a place for
local artists to exhibit their work. Artists will always
have a home in Laguna Beach as long as the Sawdust is
around to safeguard the town's artistic tradition.
festival features three entertainment stages around
the canyon-side grounds with musical guests ranging
from rock to jazz to bluegrass. Three cafes - serving
Mediterranean, Mexican and American specialties - along
with the Sawdust Saloon offer dining, drinks, and places
to revive and rejuvenate. If you haven't been to the
Sawdust Art Festival, you haven't been to Laguna Beach!
more information, visit sawdustartfestival.org or call
949-494-3030. The Sawdust Art Festival is a non-profit
organization, dedicated to educating the public about
the art created in the community of Laguna Beach.
Coast Magazine Festival 2004 photo courtesy of Sawdust
© Copyright 2004 South
Coast Magazine. No unauthorized duplication without