The Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts announced the recent acquisition of four new pieces by talented and longtime Festival exhibiting artists into its permanent art collection. Works by Molly Hutchings, Chris Bliss, Ray Brown and Carolyn Machado will join the more than 1,000 two-dimensional and three-dimensional works featured in the Festival’s permanent art collection, some dating back to the early 1900s.
“Congratulations to Molly, Chris, Ray and Carolyn on this remarkable achievement,” said Christine Georgantas, Exhibitions Director for the Festival of the Arts. “We are honored to add their unique perspectives and exceptional talents to the Festival’s collection.”
The Festival of the Arts, celebrating its 90th anniversary, is an arts institution dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting artworks significant to the rich cultural history of the Festival and Laguna Beach. Housing over a thousand diverse and eclectic pieces, the permanent art collection is valued by the organization for its cultural and historical significance in relation to art, culture and its ability to tell the story of birth of the Festival and the local art scene. The permanent art collection shows how the festival became a major influence in the Southern California art world, and many consider the collection a time capsule of the art of the last century.
New additions include a watercolor titled “Raven” by Molly Hutchings, a photograph titled “Times Square Saturday Night” by Chris Bliss, a charcoal drawing titled “Great Gray Day” by Ray Brown, and a mixed media assemblage titled “Passing Time by Carolyn Machado.
Molly Hutchings is a longtime Festival artist who has always created extremely colorful paintings inspired by the history of quilting. As a local high school student, one of Hutching’s paintings was selected for the Festival’s junior art exhibition. Today, she has exhibited and sold her paintings for 29 years at the Festival des Arts. “Molly has developed a style that has become her signature; complicated, yet delicate, and with every facet clearly rendered,” said Pat Sparkuhl, curator of the permanent art collection.
Like Hutchings, Chris Bliss has exhibited at the Festival for over 25 years. His work is in high demand both for his fine art and as a commercial photographer serving clients across the United States. Bliss finds inspiration in urban skylines and in the stimulating and invigorating lifestyles of cities – a focus he has directed into an ongoing photography project in New York for over 30 years. Her “Times Square Saturday Night” photography is a prime example of Bliss’ ability to capture vibrancy and color, while capturing a moment in time through the show titles on the marquee.
Ray Brown’s “Great Gray Day” is a reflection of his experiences in the field. Brown shared, “Whenever I go out into nature, I am amazed. I only use my own experiences to get references for my work. Being in the field is as important as any other facet of my creative process. That’s what motivates me.” Another longtime exponent, Brown’s favorite medium is simple charcoal. His “Great Gray Day” combines the innocence of an owl enduring the extreme elements around him, depicting an atmosphere that expresses strength and determination.
Also acquired in the permanent art collection, a mixed media assemblage titled “Passing Time” by Carolyn Machado. Machado has been exhibiting at the Festival des Arts for over twenty-five years. She creates her assembly parts with recycled materials, collected and carefully preserved over the years. Sparkuhl noted that “This particular work shows Carolyn’s abilities to take a tight vertical structure and create a complex, totemic-like composition. The use of materials in this compact structure was very effective.” Machado added, “As I continue to explore and create from a world of recycled materials, I remain excited and challenged by each new piece.”
These four works of art will join the historic pieces included in the permanent art collection, adding their own influence to the Southern California art world and the Festival of the Arts. The Festival Collection is presented in thematic exhibitions at foaSOUTH and loaned to museums and institutions for specific exhibitions. The first piece is a painting by Thomas Nash from 1913. One of the most important works of art in the collection is one of the first paintings sold at the opening of the first festival on August 13, 1932, titled “Flower Stalls “, by Virginia Woolley.
To learn more about the Festival of Arts and the Permanent Art Collection, visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.