Laguna College of Art + Design Celebrates Fifty Years
Seven Degrees was abuzz with creative energy and excitement as more than 170 guests gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the college that has evolved from a small community art school in 1961 to a renowned accredited institution boasting five successful undergraduate majors and two graduate programs in 2011.
Trustee and event Chair Mary Ferguson spoke first to the audience. "I completely appreciate the quality of the programs the school offers, the quality of the faculty, and the students that come out of the college," said Ferguson. "I'm passionate about art and education, and LCAD puts it all together."
Festival of Arts President Fred Sattler spoke next saying, "For a moment, imagine the Festival of Arts Board of Directors sitting in a room circa 1961, where the walls are covered with works of art and plans for the coming year's Pageant of the Masters. The board unanimously approved the motion granting $5,000 to start an art school along with an organization called the Art Association. Laguna College of Art & Design was born."
"Who knew that 50 years later," continued Sattler, the result would be this extraordinary institution of art education. The Festival of Arts applauds LCAD's past and current faculty, Boards of Directors and administrators who have worked hard to develop the school into an elite institution with regional and national accreditation."
Laguna Art Museum Board of Trustees Treasurer Michael Eichenauer addressed the guests after Sattler. "Imagine in 1918, a group of individuals got together, including a couple of painters you might have heard of, Edgar Payne and William Wendt, to form the Laguna Beach Art Association. From that one organization, we can trace almost all of the Laguna Beach organizations that we frequent today including the Festival of Arts, the Laguna Beach Playhouse, the Laguna Art Museum and of course the Laguna College of Art & Design. I find that amazing and energizing. I encourage everyone in this room to work hard to help the college achieve all we envision for it in the next 50 years and all the time beyond that."
Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman was also on hand to praise LCAD. "Our college has become a destination for very talented people ... it's a special place with special faculty." Iseman hinted that "exciting news" about LCAD would be announced at an upcoming city council meeting.
LCAD's new president Jonathan Burke delivered the keynote speech. "As we pass this milestone," said Burke, "let's take a moment to give thanks to all of those who have contributed to the college's growth and success over the years. We are the fortunate beneficiaries of their efforts and their generosity."
"The festival, the museum and LCAD are inextricably linked," continued Burke. "We are creating shared opportunities and cooperating with one another more than ever before. The college is indeed fortunate to have its home in a city that values and celebrates the arts. We in turn do our part by contributing to the city's cultural vitality and, as one of Laguna Beach's leading employers, contributing to the economic well-being of our community. We know that great art has always flourished in small unique locations. Florence in the 16th century, Holland in the 17th, Paris in the 19th, and now Laguna in the 21st."
By Kathy Ochiai