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Top 10 stories in the arts

Flood damage capped a year marked by a spirit of survival and optimism

January 06, 2011|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com

The year 2010 started out in a tough economy for everyone, but especially artists, and ended with a devastating flood that destroyed many artists' work and businesses. But it also saw a spirit of optimism and innovation as galleries that were swept out in the economic tide were replaced with new artists and gallerists who saw opportunity where others had foundered.

Here are the Coastline Pilot's choice of top 10 stories for 2010.

1.Flooding damage: Artists and gallerists were among the many Lagunans who lost property when Laguna Creek flooded after a seven-day spate of rain culminated in a Dec. 22 deluge that overflowed the creek and inundated Laguna Canyon Road and downtown Laguna Beach. Among the artists who reportedly sustained great losses was the city's Artist of the Year 2010, Marsh Scott. Galleries on Forest Avenue and in downtown Laguna were swamped with mud and debris but after a thorough cleanup, most were back in operation in time to make some holiday sales. In response to the disaster, the Festival of Arts announced a grant program for affected artists, and the Sawdust Festival invited artists who sustained losses that hamper their ability to make a living through their art to apply for funds.

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2.Openings and closings: For artists, it was a year of trying to beat the odds, with a number of prominent galleries, including Rohrer Fine Art and Sherman Gallery, closing up shop, while the vacated spots were filled with an eclectic assortment of artists and galleries. When Schaar Galleries in North Laguna closed its doors, opting to maintain a studio only, landlord and art promoter Bob Kronquist called on out-of-work artists to help open a new gallery, 404 North Gallery, in the former Schaar space. The gallery opened in February. Other new entries to art scene included: Art Cube and Green Cube on Forest Avenue; Edenhurst Gallery, Essence Gallery, Annette Wimmer and 210 Ar4t (Artists Republic for Tomorrow) on North Coast Highway; Swenson Fine Art and Clark Little photography on South Coast Highway. Later in the year, the Festival of Arts opened its first year-round gallery, foaSouth, on South Coast Highway, sharing the space with a yogurt shop. Kush Fine Art moved from South Coast Highway to Forest Avenue—and into the path of the Dec. 22nd flood.

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