A few blocks down from the ocean in Laguna Beach, you’ll go into Laguna Canyon Road. The cell reception isn’t good, but it’s OK—there’s beautiful scenery, from the deep green hills to the glittering blue ocean.
This is the Sawdust Arts Festival. Sawdust originated in the 1960s, and since then it has grown into a Southern California icon. More than 200 artists display their works here, but it isn’t your typical art gallery. Artists display their work in the relaxed ambiance on the sunny, wood-chip covered hills.
There are many art demonstrations—the glass blowing display is always popular. You can make pottery that is later glazed. Younger siblings will enjoy activities based on a daily theme, like printing and coloring.
There’s a huge range of arts displayed. Many glass artists show their works at Sawdust, the swirling lines of color catching the light. Many jewelry artists also display, and some use unique materials like turquoise or beach glass. There’s basically every form of art you can imagine, from gorgeous wood clocks to clay works to stunning beach photographs and hand-sewn bags. There are also more traditional works, like abstract and realistic painting and drawing.
Though an afternoon at Sawdust is always nice, I don’t want to imply that it’s perfect. The food could certainly use improvement. The options are overpriced and limited. There’s some Greek and Mexican options, as well as a bakery, but most of the food is typical fair food. Unfortunately, some of the loveliest pottery booths are ruined by the odors of whatever came out of deep fryer. And if you’re looking for a bargain, look elsewhere. Tickets are only $8.50, but the art sold inside can seem expensive for those on a budget. Profits from the arts go to the respective artists, and admission prices go towards to the Sawdust Arts Festival Foundation.
The Sawdust Arts Festival Foundation is dedicated to promoting the arts in Laguna Beach through outreach and community classes. Two other non-profit parts of this nonprofit is the Artists’ Benevolence Fund and the Sawdust Arts Enrichment Fund. The first supports artists in Laguna Beach who have faced catastrophic events like natural disasters, injuries, and illnesses. The Arts Enrichment Fund spreads arts to young students.
The Sawdust Summer Arts Festival is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.
It’s open June 26- August 30. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $8.50, but with some discounts for seniors and service members. Season and annual passes are also available.
Visit http://sawdustartfestival.org/special-events/ for information on special events.