Artist Communities

The beauty in the drive down to Laguna Beach begins with the Open Space Preserves in Irvine, CA.  As the freeway thins out to a three-lane road, you see tall brown grass on hills, rock carved into mountains, cornstalks along the side of the road.  I wish I knew the names of all the plants and flowers.  You forget the smog, the traffic, the unreliable public transportation, and remember how much of this wildness creeps from beneath Los Angeles sometimes.  As you drive into Laguna Beach, small houses, artist studios, outdoor pottery fairs border the base of mountains.  Turning into the downtown area, you see ocean.  Breathtaking combination.

This past weekend, Thomas and I visited Laguna Beach, which is in southern Orange County.  Much to my surprise (and I think I was brainwashed by commericals of the reality show named after the city), Laguna Beach began as an artist community started by a watercolorist from San Francisco.  It is also home to many art festivals.

Some information below from the Laguna Beach City website:

The community’s long-standing status as one of the county’s biggest art colonies can be traced back to shortly after the turn of the century, when a San Francisco watercolorist named Norman St. Clair arrived by stage and started painting the surroundings.

Back in San Francisco, St. Clair became a one-man visitor’s information bureau, persuading fellow artists to follow his trail. Within 10 years, more than 30 artists had settled in the coastal village. In 1918, they created the Laguna Beach Art Association, a body that exists today.”

Eating at a local cafe, eating chocolate gummi bears, resting near the ocean is ideal for me.   However, I did notice the sparse numbers of folks-of-color.  I know that this is important to me, as I think about my future home and community, where I want to be as an artist.  I wonder if artist community beach towns filled with artists-of-color exist?

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