Featured Image: An artist paints live on-site during the June 2018 Dana Point Artfest. Photo: Daniel RItz/File
By Breeana Greenberg
About the time that development began around Dana Point’s Town Center, the idea for a new art-based event—the Dana Point Art Walk—was floated to bring more foot traffic to local businesses impacted by the construction.
“What they wanted was to give a boost to the businesses by bringing something to tell people, ‘Everything’s still open; you can still get into some of these businesses, restaurants and so forth,’ ” explained Mac McDonald.
Dana Point Arts and Culture Commissioners Nancy Jenkins and Karin Schnell developed the Dana Point Art Walk along with local artists, business people and residents, McDonald said.
“Every aspect of the city had some input into what this was going to be,” McDonald said. “So, that’s how it started … and it grew from there, just kept growing and at one point, we had everything from Golden Lantern all the way up to the archway.”
Over the years, the free event has transitioned to become the Dana Point ArtFest, which is set to return to the Lantern District this Sunday, June 5, following a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a portion of Del Prado Avenue, between Amber Lantern and Violet Lantern, will be closed to motorists, allowing more than 60 participating artists to display a variety of fine art such as sculptures, ceramics, glass art, jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, woodworking and metalwork.
The road closure marks a departure from previous years’ events, when all the artists had to display their work on the sidewalk. On the sidewalks, artists were constrained in how large their display could be, said McDonald, a member of the Dana Point ArtFest organizing committee.
“The city said, ‘You have to have room for people to walk on the sidewalk,’ so you’re kind of limited as to what kind of display you can have out there,” McDonald said.
This year will be the first in which ArtFest will take over the street, closing the section of Del Prado.
Though McDonald estimated that 120 artists displayed their work at previous ArtFests, this year will feature only 65 artists.
“The pandemic hit, and then everything changed,” McDonald said. “We lost a couple of years. So, we’re not really starting over; we’re just kind of starting smaller to build back up to where we were. Hopefully, we can add another street next year as it grows.”
At the post office parking lot, Arts and Culture Commissioner Ashley Keene will display an interactive mural where visitors can take photos in front of the beach scene.
“It’ll just kind of invite people to come pose for a picture and can post it on social media or just for themselves,” Keene said. “But I wanted to do something that was interactive, something a little different than we’ve had before.”
Just past the Amber Lantern Street, artist Chris Justice will display new artwork, and offer coffee and donuts in the morning at his temporary studio and gallery space in the Prado West development.
Artist Dana Yarger will also unveil his latest community art project exhibiting painted dolphin statues on wooden barrels. Yarger will display three dolphins that are part of a larger exhibition, aimed at raising awareness for ocean water quality and the safety of marine life.
“We hope this is going to announce the project, make people aware of it from an art standpoint,” Yarger said.
The event will also feature two beer and wine gardens located on either end of the ArtFest. Shwack Beach Grill will host one at Del Prado and Amber Lantern, with Luxe Martini Bar hosting the garden at Del Prado and Violet Lantern.
Next to the beer and wine gardens, there will be two music stages for performances by Phil Vandermost, Anthony Small, Andrew Lavin, Benny B & The Breakers, Randall Winvick Band and Iris & the Shade band. Performances will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A taco food truck will also be parked near Shwack’s restaurant.
The Dana Point ArtFest is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. along Del Prado, between Amber Lantern and Violet Lantern.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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