One of the joys for out of town tourists (and locals) every summer is to drive to Laguna Beach and experience the Pageant of the Masters live show and wander through the Festival of Arts, admiring – and maybe buying – the various works of art on display, from oil paintings to sculptures to mixed media.
This year is different. The Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts were both cancelled in May once it became clear that mass gatherings would not be allowed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Festival of Arts cancellation was especially difficult for the dozens of artists whose livelihood often revolves being able to sell their art during the two-month event.
But with the swift rise in virtual events, it should come as no surprise that the Festival of Arts has reinvented itself and created what they have dubbed foaVIRTUAL, a 3D immersive online gallery experience that they say allows guests the unique opportunity to explore and purchase artwork from over 120 Festival of Arts exhibitors from the comfort of home.
This interactive, cyber-exhibition features nine galleries with more than a dozen artists, and their artworks, in each gallery.
“Since the cancellation of our shows, we have been hard at work putting together online and art initiatives,” said Sharbie Higuchi, Director of Marketing/PR at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach, in a press release from Festival of Arts. “All of us at the Festival of Arts felt that if we cannot, for the time being, bring our guests to the Fine Arts Show to see the incredible work of our artists, then we will find a way to bring our artists to our guests.”
According to the Festival of Arts press release, foaVIRTUAL features a variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more. All the artwork is available for purchase from the artist, and just like the Festival’s summer fine art show, 100 percent of each sale goes directly to the exhibitor.
“We are proud to be able to find new ways to continue to support our local artists and showcase their work, as we have done each summer for the last 80+ years,” said Christine Georgantas, Festival of Arts Director of Exhibits, in the press release.
Virtual guests may self-navigate around the gallery or take a guided art tour. Artists bios at each gallery offer an overview of their backgrounds and careers in art.
Those looking for a quick overview of all the pieces in the gallery may click on the digital catalog for a full list of art featured in a specific gallery.
“We are already planning future updates, surprises and user engagement opportunities throughout the summer in conjunction with foaVIRTUAL,” said Higuchi. “We hope everyone will come back often, visit our virtual galleries and discover what’s new.”
Organized by Georgantas and produced by Festival of Arts Marketing and PR Team of Higuchi and Meghan Perez, foaVIRTUAL is available free of cost to the public.
To explore foaVIRTUAL and support the artists of the Fine Arts Show visit www.foapom.com/foavirtual/.
Navigating the foaVIRTUAL website is relatively easy, once visitors get the hang of it. It’s almost like a video game, but this time the game is art. Virtual displays hold works of art by the artists, and zoom features allow viewers to see an artist’s overall display or virtually lean in for a better look.
The best thing about the foaVIRTUAL experience? Not having to find a place to park in Laguna Beach during the summer!
Stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show by visiting www.foapom.com.
About the Festival of Arts: The Festival of Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3), has long been a local leader that has helped with the growth and development of the community and the arts in Laguna Beach. Established in 1932, the Festival of Arts’ mission is to promote, produce and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts.
Each summer for over 85 years, the Festival of Arts has produced two world-class events: The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and the renowned Pageant of the Masters. Together both shows attract more than 225,000 visitors into Laguna Beach annually.