On Saturday, November 6, Laguna Art Museum celebrated the ninth year of Art & Nature during the Art & Nature Gala at the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar. Guests were treated to an evening under the stars, as they enjoyed music, tributes to honorees, a special opportunity to hear from the Art & Nature featured artist Rebeca Méndez, and raised money to support Laguna Art Museum’s outreach.
“We are so grateful for our guests and sponsors who made this year’s Art & Nature Gala a memorable evening celebrating art, nature, and our honorees,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum. “This was an opportunity to reaffirm Laguna Art Museum’s commitment to our community and our dedication to the environment through art. We are grateful to those that helped us reach our fundraising goal. With this generosity we aim to reach ten times the amount of school-aged children and to quadruple the amount of individuals we serve annually by connecting them to the arts.”
The luscious garden surroundings were illuminated throughout, and the décor set for a fall fête. The evening was filled with fine wines and free-flowing champagne and guests noshed on garden-inspired hors d’oeuvres by the Garden’s restaurant Cultivar. The Art & Nature Gala allowed plenty of time to party and socialize before and after presentations led by emcees Joe Hanauer, Board of Trustees Chairman and Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director. Art & Nature 2021 featured artist Rebeca Méndez addressed attendees, and tributes were paid to Stephanie Barron, LACMA Senior Curator and Department Head of Modern Art, Honorary Chairs Lou and Laura Rohl, and Laguna Art Museum Curator Emeritus Janet Blake – each of whom have made a difference in the arts community. A live auction and successful paddle raise quickly met the museum’s fundraising goal which paved the way for musician Jason Feddy to carry out the evening through song.
A multimedia experience, Mendez’s Any-Instant-Whatever is on display through April 25, 2022. The exhibition depicts a contemplation of a day in Los Angeles that captures a cloud-rich sky above the lively city and its inhabitants. Integral to the installation is a sound piece composed by Drew Schnurr. The sounds are derived entirely from resonating crystal receptacles tuned by water. Much in the same way that water vapor in the atmosphere refracts light, crystals resonate to produce pure sound spectra built upon natural frequency fundamentals that are akin to frequencies producing visual colors in the sky.
Also on display as part of this year’s Art & Nature is A Fanciful World: Jessie Arms Botke on exhibit through January 16, 2022 and Sky Space Time Change on display through April 25, 2022.
Bold, decorative studies of exotic birds and flowers are the subject of Jessie Arms Botke’s most notable paintings. After settling in California, Botke reached her stylistic peak in the 1930s with eye-dazzling artworks adorned with gold and silver leaf, inspired by Japanese design and European landscape aesthetics. Despite her prolific output and successful career, few exhibitions have focused solely on Botke’s work. This exhibition examines work from different periods of Botke’s career and travels including a magnificent 29-foot-long mural that once adorned the Oaks Hotel in Ojai, California.
Sky Space Time Change presents paintings, prints, sculpture, and photography from Laguna Art Museum’s permanent collection curated as a compliment to this year’s Art & Nature feature installation, Any-Instant-Whatever by Rebeca Méndez. The exhibition helps viewers look up and out, taking them from the beaches of Frank Cuprien, McClelland Barclay, and Tom Wudl to the cosmic visions of Lita Albuquerque and Helen Lundeberg. Like Méndez, many of the artists of Sky Space Time Change also looked up to Southern California skies, contemplating through their artwork the interconnections among physical, environmental, and cultural systems. This exhibition is co-curated by Sharrisa Iqbal and Michael Duncan.
Continuing Laguna Beach’s legacy as a center for the arts, Art & Nature provides a unique opportunity for the Southern California community to come together for a festival of art and ideas, to inspire artists, and enhance the appreciation of nature as a place that inspires awareness about the environment we share.