Grounds uses abound

October 01, 2004

Suzie Harrison

Throughout the Festival of Art's early history the grounds were used

for myriad events and exhibits, but at some point in 1941 the

location became virtually dormant when it wasn't hosting the art

festival and Pageant of the Masters.

This year there has been a resurgence of off-season use, and both

the festival and city are pleased.


"Facilitating events on the festival grounds is directly in

accordance with our mission to promote events that encourage the

appreciation and study of the arts," marketing and public relations

director Sharbie Higuchi said.

A big part of making these events happen is Susan Davis, special

events and membership director for the Festival of Arts. She said the

programs benefit the community along with the organizations that

sponsor them.

"As more fabulous events take place here, more people have become

aware of the many possibilities and options available," she said.

The schedule at the festival venues has been full with the Pacific

Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 18, AIDS Services Foundation fundraiser

Sept. 25, the surf culture Moonshine Festival Oct. 9 and 10, followed

by Lagunatics on Oct. 16 and 17. Every weekend is booked now through

Dec. 11 including Ballet Pacifica Oct. 30 and 31, an Antique Car Show

Nov. 7, Gallimaufry performing arts Nov. 11 through Nov. 20, No

Square Theatre Dec. 3 through 5 and South Coast Singer Chorale Dec.


"If you review who is subleasing our facilities, over 90% are

Laguna Beach community organizations, or are tied to Laguna Beach in

some way shape or form," Higuchi said.

Many are returning year after year or have extended contracts.

Such is the case with AIDS Services Foundation, which holds its fall

fundraiser on the festival grounds.

"It has the pizazz and panache and hometown feeling," AIDS

Services Foundation board member and event chair Ken Jillson said.

"We searched where to do the show and met with the folks at the

festival -- they couldn't have been nicer. Last year they were blown

out the door they had never seen the festival transformed into

something so cool."

The decision about subleasing the grounds is decided by the Irvine

Bowl Policy Committee, which consists of four people, two from the

Festival of Arts, currently Anita Mangels, festival board president

and Vice President Bob Henry and two City Council members, Elizabeth

Pearson and Wayne Baglin.

"The committee reviews the use of the Irvine Bowl, Forum Theater

and park grounds and [we] oversee the subleasing of those grounds,"

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