Returning to Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival today, a fair with all the elements of an artist-populated enchanted magic forest. How did Sawdust come into being? Here’s Part Two of my exchange with festival manager Tom Klingenmeier. A note: Just like Jackson, Laguna Beach experiences a high influx of visitors during summer; just like Jackson, Laguna’s citizens are disrupted by the crowds. They are also appreciative of art’s educational value and what they provide in sales taxes!
Tammy Christel: What are Sawdust’s origins? Forty-seven years is an amazing run, and you’re going strong.
Tom Klingenmeier: Laguna’s “Festival of Arts” began over eight decades ago. A splinter group of artists, objecting to a change in jurying procedures at that show (some called the rebellious group “hippies”) departed the FOA and eventually set up in a dirt lot. This ingenious group put sawdust on the dirt to keep the dust down. An L.A. Times reporter nicknamed their first show the “Sawdust Festival.” They moved to their current location the following year, securing a lease with local owners who had used the site for vacationing campers.
Our 501c3 corporation, established in 1968, bought the property in the early 80’s and quit paying rent. It’s free and clear property. If anything happened to the Festival the land would belong to the State of California. Affordable living/studio space is being studied by the city, with assistance from the local population, including artists.We celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2016!
If we have a problem, it’s parking. And we need to find affordable studio-living space. We’re working on those issues, and we’ll soon have a “Village Entrance” dedicated to the arts and what they provide to our seaside community—and we’ll have a parking structure.
We constantly need to generate new, young artists. To that end we provide scholarships to the local high school and to other art shows. Everywhere K – 12 schools are dropping visual and performing arts from curriculums. Our art education programs are so important, and we are beginning to teach art education in nearby school districts. We need young artists to sustain our society as we know it. That’s why we do so much for artists here at the Sawdust Festival!
TC: Experiencing Sawdust expanded my understanding of what an art fair can be; wandering through, I felt as if I were in the middle of an unfolding flower, stepping from petal to petal. Art fairs and festivals take many forms, but Sawdust rang a big bell; it is its own Wonderland. www.sawdustartfestival.org
Straight from the Wyoming Arts Alliance and Wyoming Arts Council’s Conference website – Information about the 2013 Conference, taking place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Snow King Resort and the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts October 12th-14th!
“You don’t need to be an artist or a presenter to have a place at this conference – If you are interested in preserving and promoting the Arts in Wyoming and the surrounding areas, this is where you will want to start!
This year’s conference is a fantastic collaboration between the Wyoming Arts Council and the Wyoming Arts Alliance. We are teaming up this year to bring you more of everything. The Conference will be taking place Saturday, October 12th through Monday, October 14th in the shadow of the Tetons – Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Features at this years’s conference include a three-track workshop series dedicated to individual artists, performing artists, and organizational development. The Visual Artists’ Gallery is to be held in the lobby of the Center for the Arts and will feature the works of artists around the state. Visual Artists will have another opportunity to share their work through a 20:20 presentation. Advance sign up is required.”
Sign ups are first-come, first-served, so visit the Conference’s website today! http://wyomingarts.org/booking-conference