Summer of Color Makes Big Splash In Arts Minded Beach Town
By Judit Laufer
The village of Laguna Beach, with over 100 art galleries and studios and world renowned arts festivals, has drawn art lovers from all over the world to its picturesque seven mile coastline. Now art lovers have one more reason to come to Laguna: To view its newest art exhibit labeled “Summer of Color.”
This eye-catching, vibrantly hued collection of murals painted on the facade of a cluster of buildings along Laguna Canyon Road’s Arts District, is the dream project of Mark Orgill, a designer and long-time resident of Laguna Beach who, along with his wife, Dora Wexell, developed and built [seven-degrees], a venue for unique, upscale corporate and private events.
Orgill and Wexell, are a couple deeply devoted and involved in the Laguna Beach art scene. Mark is president of Visit Laguna and Dora, president of First Thursdays Art Walk. You get the picture. When it comes to creating a vision for art, they care, do and share.
The buildings between 775 - 859 Laguna Canyon Road are, and will for the next five years be, canvasses for murals conceived and created by internationally recognized artists. The project was funded by local businessman Mo Honarkar, who bought [seven-degrees] last year and owns many neighboring properties, including the Art-A-Fair building.
Wexell and Orgill are both still very much involved in the business; Wexell as Vice-President and General Manager, and Orgill as a consultant to Honarkar, who is committed to enhancing and expanding the cultural and creative spirit of Laguna Beach. Together, along with Honarkar’s daughter Hasty, and through Laguna Creative Ventures (LCV), which Orgill formed, this arts minded team envisions this project as an opportunity to improve the district, raise awareness and draw artists and art lovers from beyond just Laguna Beach.
Torrey Cook, an artist and gallery owner and Ben Rubin, owner of Elephants and Castles fine-art printing studio, were hired to curate and commission the murals.
Artists, who were simply given the theme – COLOR, had full creative license and independence, according to Wexell.
The most visible mural is on the Art-A-Fair building and was painted by internationally renowned Spanish street artist, Okuda San Miguel. It has the effect of a shattered kaleidoscope, with a prism of swirling pink, yellow and red polka-dots; green, blue and purple triangles, horizontal, swirling and over-lapped cubes. It’s a two dimensional, total spectrum lollipop.
Another mural of Lady Liberty, by Laguna raised Beau Stanton, a graduate of Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) is around the Laguna Beer Co., a tasting room in the “Hive Center.” This mural is in bold blues with orange and turquoise beams sprouting from her head with a ship and its masts as a head ornament.
Altogether there are nine murals designed and painted by seven artists, both local and international who resided at [seven-degrees] while working.
Wexell is excited to have the murals and would like to have more civic art. Says Wexell, “it’s not about my taste - it’s all about the art.”
We are so fortunate to have Laguna Beach and it’s colorful, creative and cultural spirit in our backyard. Civic art enhances us all. It expands our horizons and fosters new connections. n