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Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

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Listed in Laguna Beach Arts, Laguna Beach Attractions, Performing Arts

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Since the first painting was created here in 1878, the exquisite natural beauty of Laguna Beach has been a magnet for artists. Artists flourished in the small village, supporting themselves through sales to tourists who flocked to the beach for vacation. By the early 1900s, the village had gained a reputation as an art colony, and in 1918, with the entire population numbering only 300 residents, the community established the Laguna Art Association to promote and support the fine arts.


In the mid-1920s, the Art Association turned the town’s old community center into a small one-room gallery. The gallery’s popularity led to the artists’ raising money for a larger permanent home, which they eventually secured at the corner of North Coast Boulevard and Cliff Drive, the present-day site of the Laguna Art Museum.


The small seaside village took great pride in its cultural establishment, which attracted visitors from all around. However, when the Great Depression swept the land, tourists had little money to spend and Laguna’s residents struggled. As a means to draw much-needed business back to the art colony, the Art Association struck on the idea of a summer art festival, to be held the week following the1932 Los Angeles Olympics in hopes that visitors would travel south to Laguna Beach before journeying home.

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