It was the summer of 2015, and one of my good friends was preparing to display her pottery at the Festival of Arts. Despite having lived in Orange County for several years, I had yet to experience the local festival, which attracts more than 250,000 visitors to Laguna Beach every year. The Festival will celebrate its 85th anniversary this year, and will feature the artwork of 140 award-winning artists and its signature event, the Pageant of the Masters. Festival of Arts runs July 5th through September 1st, 2018 in Laguna Beach, California.
Festival of Arts
The Festival of Arts is one of the most acclaimed, fine art shows and features the work of exhibiting artists, demonstrations and art workshops, daily art tours, live music, and special events. The festival has been instrumental in the growth and development of the arts in Laguna Beach and encourages, the appreciation, study, and performance of the arts. Festival of Arts produces both The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and the Pageant of the Masters.
Pageant of the Masters
Words and photos cannot truly describe the beauty and uniqueness that encompasses the Pageant of the Masters. Presented by the Festival of Arts, this 90 minute production will captivate audiences through tableaux vivants, aka living pictures. The cast are magically transformed into life-sized re-creations of famous works of art as a live narrator guides audiences through each living picture accompanied by a full orchestra.
Under the Sun
This year’s Pageant of the Masters theme is Under the Sun. In the early years of the 20th century, a new generation of impressionists and plein air painters set up their easels outdoors and reveled in the natural beauty to be found as far as the eye could see. This year’s production features theatrical magic, live music, and a story that will honor Laguna’s own artistic pioneers and those from around the world who left their studios to find new inspiration.
The inspiration for this year’s theme came from Director Diane Challis Davy. During a drive on Crown Valley on Spring evening, she watched how the light shifted across the foothills of the Saddleback mountain. The phrase “under the sun,” is from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes and Davy felt it served the Pageant well. “I wanted the theme to express an awareness and appreciation of the beauty of nature [while focusing] on artists who choose to paint in the open air.” The theme also recognizes the influence of French Impressionism on artists around the world, inspiring them to record their own personal reflections.
Under the Sun will include the works of Laguna’s early masters such as Anna Hills, William Griffith, Rex Brandt, Julia Bracket Wendy, Roger Kuntz, and Joseph Kleitsch. The works of classic Impressionists include Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Frederic Bazille, and After Louis Moreau.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pageant of the Masters
- Every year, 1200 people try out to be in the show
- The 500 volunteers contribute more than 60,000 hours working as cast or behind the scenes
- The youngest cast member is 4 years old and the oldest cast member is in their late 80s
- The Pageant of the Masters began in 1933 and ran for 8 days. Today, there are 57 performances.
- Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper was first presented as the traditional finale in 1936 and has been re-created every year since (save 3 years).
This year, guests visiting the Festival of Arts will enjoy a brand new al fresco dining experience at Terra. Occupying the site of the former Tivoli Terrace, Terra features creative, healthy California cuisine made with seasonal ingredients and artfully crafted cocktails and refreshments. The exterior of the restaurant has been updated to reflect a modern aesthetic and features architecture created for the grounds in 1957 by Don Williamson.
Pageant of the Masters Location and Ticket Information
Pageant of the Masters runs July 7th through September 1st 2018 with nightly performances at 8:30 pm.
Advance tickets are priced from $15 to $260.
Pageant of the Masters is located at the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of Arts
650 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651