Booths displaying photography, paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, glass art, resin art, jewelry, woodwork and metalwork will line the block of Del Prado Avenue in early June as the annual Dana Point ArtFest returns to the Lantern District.
A stretch of Del Prado Avenue, between Amber Lantern and Ruby Lantern, will be closed to motorists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 11, allowing more than 80 participating artists to display their work during the annual art walk.
This year’s ArtFest will also feature booths from local nonprofits, including the Dana Point Sister Cities to advertise upcoming events and the Dana Point Historical Society, to share information about its Baby Beach tile wall fundraiser.
As ArtFest continues to grow each year, the event organizers emphasized changes to this year’s festival.
New this year, attendees 21 years and older can purchase an ArtFest wristband, granting them the opportunity to stroll the festival while enjoying their alcoholic beverages. ArtFest will also feature a wine-tasting area featuring local wineries.
This year’s ArtFest will also feature an expanded Kids Corner with various interactive art projects.
“There’s something for everyone who likes arts,” Laguna Hills Artist and DP ArtFest organizer Steve Epstein said.
“Working with this committee is the best thing in the world,” said Epstein, who plans to sell silver and copper jewelry at this year’s ArtFest. “They do more for Dana Point as an entity than I’ve ever been involved in any other group. It’s fun putting it all together; last year was fabulous.”
Artist Cliff Wassmann, a fellow member of the organizing committee, has been involved with the Sawdust Festival for 15 years and served on its board of directors. This year, the Sawdust Festival will partner with ArtFest to offer an interactive art project in the Kids Corner.
“I just love integrating the two communities, Dana Point and Laguna Beach, because I’ve been a part of both since I moved here in ’82,” Wassmann said. “So, it’s really a great mesh; they’re like my two hometowns.”
Wassmann intends to display his Dana Point photography and fantasy and science fiction paintings at his booth during the festival.
Arts and Culture Commissioner and ArtFest organizer Ashley Keene will also have a booth displaying her vibrant, abstract artwork.
“I’ve actually been participating in ArtFest since, I think 2016 was the first year,” said Keene, who was born and raised in Dana Point.
“I was a participant for many years, and so to actually be on the other side and be able to have my input and also learn from all of these people who do such a great job and put so much time into this, it’s really rewarding to watch it grow and just evolve and continue to get better and better,” Keene continued.
The Kids Corner is set to offer children and families a variety of ocean-themed art projects throughout the day, including a collaborative mural. KidCreate Studio intends to lead participants through a clay animal art project.
Families can also participate in a community mural.
“Each child will have a section that they can paint in,” Keene said. “When we’re done, we can pull off all the tape, and it’s one big art piece.”
Following ArtFest, the organizers of DP ArtFest intend to display the cardboard mural at the Dana Point Community Center.
In addition to the mural, Sawdust Festival and KidCreate Studio projects and additional art projects, the Kids Corner will feature a face painter and balloon artist and children’s music time with Anthony Small.
The event will also feature local wine tastings, beer gardens and live music that Small and ArtFest organizer Mac McDonald curated.
There will be two music stages featuring performances from nine artists. One of the stages will be in front of Dana Point Hardware, featuring three bands, and the other stage will be on the corner of Del Prado and Amber Lantern, featuring six artists.
“We started out with just solo singer songwriters—guitar and a mic—and then we had bands, and we’ve gone back and forth, a little mixture of bands and solo performers,” McDonald said.
“I think music as an art form is an important part of Dana Point ArtFest,” McDonald continued. “It brings people in. It’s a fun, entertaining way to keep everyone happy. I really enjoy having that part at the ArtFest beyond the fine art.”
When looking to curate artists to perform at the event, McDonald noted that he looks for upbeat music.
“You don’t want to put anyone to sleep,” McDonald said. “I like to find bands that are a little more upbeat. Like last year, we had a ukulele reggae band, and they were amazing.”
“There was a big crowd,” McDonald continued. “They were the last band to go on, and they were fun and engaged with the audience. Everyone just loved them. So, that’s the kind of thing, that kind of vibe, that we hope to establish.”
This year, singer-guitarist Phil Vandermost, classic rock band Miller Time Boogie and rock ‘n’ roll band Tropical Drip will hit the main stage. Singer-songwriters Anthony Small and Matt Samia, Andrew Lavin, Sindey Bowen, Molly Bergman and Sage Escalante will perform at the secondary stage across from Jack’s Restaurant and Bar.
ArtFest event organizers noted that there’s still open space for local wineries to participate in the new wine tasting area. For more information on how local wineries can be featured at the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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