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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from its original version to correct information regarding Miller’s residency in Dana Point.
By Breeana Greenberg
Living in town, artist Claire Miller loves to walk along the blufftop trail, through the arches of Dana Point. So, when she was invited to paint for the inaugural Plein Air event during the Ocean Institute’s annual Maritime Festival, she chose a spot along the trail, peeking through the foliage to capture the harbor.
“The Plein Air event was all about the harbor; we were supposed to paint in the harbor, so, like, this is the perfect spot,” said Miller who teaches art at McDowell Elementary School. “I like that you see the cliffs, you see the boats, you see the foliage; I love paintings with foliage in the foreground, so I was really excited to paint that.”
The City of Dana Point shared in her excitement this past Friday, Sept. 23, when it purchased Miller’s painting at the opening of the Plein Air Art Show that the Dana Point Art Alliance and the Dana Point Sister Cities hosted at the Dana Bay Gallery.
“While we were at the grand opening of the showing, we realized that there was probably no better way to support the event and the Dana Point Sister City program than to purchase the first painting and send it as a gift to Sorrento, our prospective sister city,” Councilmember Jamey Federico said in an email.
The city, in partnership with the Dana Point Sister Cities, intends to donate the painting of the harbor to Sorrento—a town in Italy that city and nonprofit officials are looking to establish as a sister city.
With the formation of the new nonprofit this past May, Dana Point joins the nearly 500 communities that make up Sister Cities International, a collection of cities with formal partnerships and agreements to have ongoing cultural events.
The Plein Air event is one of a variety of events centered around marine life, surf, American music, opera and art that the Dana Point Sister Cities is hosting along with other local nonprofit partners.
Regarding Miller’s painting, Federico added that the city didn’t know until after it was purchased that “it was the work of a brilliant young Dana Point artist.”
“It turns out this is the perfect painting to send as a gesture of friendship to a sister city,” Federico said.
Miller, who has painted all her life, graduating from the Laguna College of Art and Design in 2019, said she was “really shocked, really honored” that the city purchased her work.
“I was really surprised; I was not expecting it, because they’re all such amazing painters,” an elated Miller said. “I love Dana Point, it’s my home; I love it, I love this city so much.”
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