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Mailbag: No sympathy for Art Walk board

September 01, 2011

I was interested to read your front-page article about Art Walk, ("The price of being part of Art Walk," Aug. 26) because there is another side to this story that was not evident.

My wife owned and ran the Art Affair Gallery located, along with two other galleries, on Coast Highway between Bluebird Canyon Drive and Diamond Street. We applied to the board of First Thursday's Art Walk to join the roster but were denied the bus service and other benefits, which are an essential part of the program.

The reason given to us was that we were all located just past the buses' Bluebird turn and they did not wish to have the buses to go the extra short distance. Yet, this area is still Laguna Village.

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Naturally, we declined joining Art Walk under these circumstances. Instead we went ahead on our own.

This included displaying the colored balloons that signify an Art Walk site. But, to our surprise, we were then told we couldn't buy these balloons by the local flower shop, who told us that the Art Walk organizers told them not to sell those colored balloons to us or anyone on Art Walk nights!

So we went to Dana Point to buy them instead. We opened on Art Walk with balloons, very superior food and wine, but as "persona non grata" to the board's organizers. Before long, our superior hospitality gained recognition among Laguna residents, who flocked to our gallery from about 8 until 11 p.m. — well after the rest of Art Walk closed!

And yes, we sold paintings.

It is a shame that the board did this to three Laguna galleries. We all struggle to be successful and keep our galleries open in Laguna. The board of First Thursday's Art Walk should support this effort, instead of playing God with the bus service and our livelihood.

It is difficult to now find sympathy for their current predicament, as every gallery now knows it can go it alone, and many do.

Mark Rodrigues

Laguna Beach

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Not comfortable with Art Walk

Wow! What an article on the front page of your fine newspaper! ("The price of being part of Art Walk," Aug. 26)

Maybe you should get the story from all sides before you attack people. Your newspaper called me on Tuesday afternoon once, and we are closed on Tuesday and you're going to press the next day with an attack.

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