Michael Alten painting a Laguna Beach scene in 2012

Greg Vail recently alerted members of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, of which he is president, of the “momentous change” brought on by the Laguna Art Museum’s decision not to continue hosting the exhibition of paintings created during an annual invitational event. Artists and collectors in Southern California are quite upset, especially because the event had become increasingly successful in recent years.

Ray Roberts painting during the 2012 Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Invitational

In January, the Laguna Art Museum (LAM) Board of Directors voted to discontinue its 16-year relationship with the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) with regard to the group’s annual invitational plein air event. “While it is ironic that the museum would take such a step after two years of increasingly successful and highly lauded Invitational events, the museum’s foundational plein air legacy, and a cordial collaborative atmosphere between our organizations, we must accept the reality of the LAM decision and move forward without rancor or rearview-mirror gazing,” LPAPA President Greg Vail wrote in the group’s newsletter.

“We identified a new home for LPAPA and the Invitational at the Aliso Creek Inn in south Laguna Beach,” Vail informed the LPAPA membership. “LPAPA now has the opportunity to host one of North America’s premier plein air art events as an independent entity, one of the key objectives of our strategic plan. In so doing, we will have the ability to increase LPAPA’s net revenues and thereby dramatically expand our capacity to serve you. Staging the Invitational in majestic Aliso Canyon — the Yosemite of Laguna Beach and the location of the area’s original homestead built by the Thurston family, the ancestors of current Laguna Mayor Kelly Boyd — is also a perfect match and inspiration for the plein air genre.”

Vail continued, “The 2013 Invitational, scheduled for October 13-20, has begun in earnest. The effort will require even more support than in past years from the community and will require synergies with other nonprofit organizations and volunteer groups. As it costs at least $160,000 and many hands to stage this multi-faceted event, we have a big job ahead of us. But with help from our supporters and you, we can get there.” For more information, visit www.lpapa.org.


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