Laguna Art Museum

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Laguna Art Museum(LAM)
Laguna Art Museum pic.jpg
Established 1918 (Laguna Beach Art Association)
1972 (Laguna Beach Museum of Art)
1986 (Laguna Art Museum)
Location 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, California
Type Art museum
Director Malcolm Warner

Laguna Art Museum is a museum located in Laguna Beach, California, on Pacific Coast Highway. It was previously known as the Laguna Beach Art Association and the Laguna Beach Museum of Art.[1]


The museum’s history begins with the creation of Laguna Beach Art Association by local artists in 1918. Using funds raised by artists, Edgar Payne, who became the first president in 1920, converted an old town pavilion into an art gallery to exhibit members’ artwork for sale. With fundraising largely attributable to the efforts of the artist Anna Hills, members opened a fireproof, custom-built gallery designed by the noted Los Angeles architect Myron Hunt in 1929. Meanwhile, LBAA had begun offering art classes for both children and adults. In order to expand, the Association doubled the size of its original building in 1951. By growing the size of the permanent collections and increasing the quality of exhibitions, LBAA gradually began to operate as a museum. As a result, it became the Laguna Beach Museum of Art in 1972. It changed its name to Laguna Art Museum in 1986, and a new building opened which completed the building as it now stands.[1]

In 2016, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a matching grant program to issue $1 million to Laguna Art Museum over next 4 years.[2] The museum shows works from its permanent collections, temporary exhibitions, and presents an array of programs, including Art & Nature, Film Night, Family Art Studios, and more.


The museum’s permanent collection, which consist of more than 3,500 artworks in various forms from the early 19th century to the present day, focuses only on California art. Significant examples from all periods of California art are represented.

Collections from the 19th and early 20th centuries include artists such as Anna Hills, William A. Coulter, Edwin Deakin, Ferdinand Deppe, Thomas Hill, George Hurrell, Ferdinand Deppe, Joseph Kleitsch, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Julian Rix, and William Wendt. Contemporary artists include, Peter Krasnow, Helen Lundeberg, Wayne Thiebaud, Judy Chicago, John Altoon, Robert Arneson, Frank Cuprien, Francis De Erdely, Tony DeLap, Manny Farber, Oskar Fischinger, Llyn Foulkes, Sam Francis, George Herms, Craig Kauffman, Roger Kuntz, John McCracken, and DeWain Valentine.[3]

Past Exhibitions[edit]

Exhibitions at the Laguna Art Museum change every three to four months. Some examples of past exhibitions include:

  • Miss Hills of Laguna Beach- Anna Althea Hills: Art, Education, Community (Oct. 16, 2016 – Jan. 15, 2017) displayed over 60 of Hills’s paintings along with china decorated by Hills, small artifacts and numerous letters and photographs.[4] The artworks were related to her life and work in Laguna Beach.[5]
  • Peter Krasnow: Maverick Modernist (June 26 – Sept. 25, 2016) premiered the first museum survey of Krasnow’s artworks in nearly 40 years. It included around 50 paintings as well as 20 sculptures.[6]
  • Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective (Feb. 21 – May 30, 2016) was the first comprehensive exhibition of artworks from the co-founder of the post-surrealism, Helen Lundeberg, since her death in 1999.[7] It featured over 60 paintings and gave a systematic survey of Lundeberg’s career from 1930s.[8]
  • Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories (Feb. 23 - June 1, 2014) was contained retrospective with still lifes, landscapes and cityscapes.[9] Thiebaud selected artworks on his own in the survey of his career from 1959 to 2014.[10]
  • WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon (June 14 – Oct. 4, 2009) comprised original works on paper by Blizzard Entertainment, artworks based on the culture of WoW by fourteen artists among the world, machinima and more than 145 pieces fan art.[11] Participating artists included Chris Metzen, Sam Didier (a.k.a., Samwise), Chris Robinson, Justin Thavirat, and Roman Kenney; Aram Bartholl; Jorg Dubin; RSG; Jacqueline Goss; Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, Tale of Tales; Cyril Kuhn; Antoinette LaFarge; Mashallah Design and Linda Kostowski; Robert Nideffer and Alex Szeto; Airyka Rockefeller; Anne-Marie Schleiner; Eddo Stern; The Third Faction; and Zeng Han.[12]
  • Roger Kuntz: The shadow between Representation and Abstraction (Mar. 15 – May 24, 2009) displayed 63 paintings, 21 works on paper and 12 small bronze sculptures from all phases of Kuntz’s 25-year career.[13] It was the first major showing of the artist’s work since his death. Named one of Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight’s Top 10 most fascinating museum exhibitions in the nation for 2009.[14]
  • William Wendt: In Nature’s Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt (Nov. 9, 2008 – Feb. 8, 2009) was the first full-scale retrospective on the art of William Wendt, who represents the essential nature of California Impressionism both stylistically and ideologically.[15] It featured 61 paintings.[16]


The museum offers diverse programs to serve audiences of all ages, from the local school district to the most underserved communities without access to art education. The museum provides free- of-charge School Tours which attracts more than 2,000 K-12 students and teachers annually from all over Orange County, including cities such as Santa Ana, where the museum provides educational outreach programs. In addition, other youth-oriented activities include the monthly Family Art Studio and Elements of Art Summer Camps. The number of children attending these diverse programs increase every year as schools recognize the unique educational value.

Laguna Art Museum also provides Docent-guided Tours. What’s more, there are various art education programs for adults which serves 10,000 people from around the area annually. Events include First Thursday Art Walks, music concerts presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live!, film screenings relating to the exhibitions on view and reflecting the museum’s focus on California, lectures in conjunction with exhibitions, and other mission related programs.[17]

Art & Nature is another noteworthy annual event. Inspirited by the gorgeous landscape, the museum hosts an annual weekend conference and festival to explore the relationship between art and nature. Art & Nature began in 2013. The multidisciplinary exploration combines art and the natural world by providing an outdoor art installation and nature-themed exhibitions along with a keynote lecture, a panel discussion with artists and environmentalists, and a free Family Festival.[18]

The event serves a number of purposes: to provide a festival of art and ideas for the community; to inspire artists; to find and develop connections between art and science; to raise awareness of environmental issues; and to celebrate Laguna Beach as a center for the appreciation of art and nature.[19]

The first Art & Nature took place in 2013.

Year Outdoor art installation Nature-themed Exhibitions Keynote lecture Panel discussion Conversation Performance Media display
2013[20][21] Sand Drawing by Jim Denevan Kevin Starr Nov. 9: Tanya Aguiniga, Adam Silverman, Michael Latz

Nov. 10: Bill Fox, Jim Denevan

Malcolm Warner Music Concert: Surround Art & Sound by Herman Ekbote, Suman Laha Art & Nature 2013
2014[22] An Elongated Now by Lita Albuquerque Terry Gifford Music Concert: Surf Music Presentation

Outstanding in the Field 2014

2015[23] Electric Light Blanket by Laddie John Dill
  • David Ligare: California Classicist
  • The Canyon Project: Artivism
Roger Malina[24] Art into Nature by David Familian, Kristin Leachman, David Ligare and Peter Matthews[25] Lita Albuquerque A short film featured Lita Albuquerque Art & Nature 2015
2016[26] 1/4 Mile Arc by Phillip K. Smith III
  • Phillip K. Smith III: Bent Parallel
  • Miss hills of Laguna Beach
  • Kristin Leachman: Xylem Rays
Martin Kemp Helen Pashgian, Peter Blake Interactive Sound Performance: 'I', lighthouse waiting for storms by David Horovitz, Jamie Stewart

Annual Events also included Art Auction: California Cool and Palette to Palate. Laguna Art Museum’s Art Auction is one of the longest running art auctions in California and one of Orange County’s most exciting art and social experiences. The art auction launched in 1983, and gradually became an important source of fundraising for education programs and exhibitions.[27]

Palette to Palate, which started in 2006, is an annual event which combines art and dining. The funds raised support K-12 school tours as well as exhibitions.[28]


  1. ^ a b Moure,N.D.W., & Ratner,J.L., (1993). A History of the Laguna Art Museum 1918-1993. Laguna Beach: Laguna Beach Museum.
  2. ^ Adelson, Andrea (January 16, 2016). "Top Arts Groups Reap a Budget Windfall". Laguna Beach Indy. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "Collection". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Walsh, Daniella (November 3, 2016). "Exhibit Reveals Early Artist as Town Activist". Laguna Beach Indy. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Miss Hills of Laguna Beach". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Webster, Andrew (August 25, 2016). "How One Artist Became a Maverick Modernist". Fine Art Connoisseur. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Chang, Richard (March 1, 2016). "Abstract Classicists: Helen Lundeberg and Frederick Hammersley". Laguna Beach Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "'Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories'". OrangeCoast Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Wayne Thiebaud: American Memories". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  11. ^ Chang, Richard (June 19, 2009). "'World of Warcraft' quest leads to Laguna". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Knight, Christopher (April 29, 2009). "Review: Roger Kuntz at Laguna Art Museum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Roger Kuntz: The Shadow Between Representation and Abstraction". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "In Nature's Temple". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Knight, Christopher (January 26, 2009). "Review: William Wendt at Laguna Art Museum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  17. ^ "Education". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  18. ^ Boehm, Mike (July 2, 2013). "Laguna Art Museum's Art & Nature conference to debut this fall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Art & Nature 2016". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Experiencing Art & Nature 2013". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "First Art & Nature a Success". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  22. ^ "Art & Nature 2014 a Success". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  23. ^ "Art & Nature 2015 was a great success!". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  24. ^ "Keynote Lecture by Roger Malina". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  25. ^ "Panel Discussion: Art into Nature". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  26. ^ "Laguna Art Museum's Art & Nature a Great Success". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  27. ^ Walsh, Daniella (January 29, 2016). "' Cool' Auction Reflects Museum's Direction". Laguna Beach Indy. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  28. ^ "Palette to Palate 2015 Most Successful to Date". Laguna Art Museum. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°32′37″N 117°47′17″W / 33.5436°N 117.788°W / 33.5436; -117.788