Laguna Councilman’s Wife Appointed to Airport Arts Commission

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A student art exhibit at John Wayne Airport.
— Photo courtesy JWA ©

The wife of a Laguna Beach City Council member was appointed to the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Stephanie Bachiero, who is married to Councilman Peter Blake, was recommended by Supervisor Michelle Steel even though the sculptor lives in the district overseen by Board Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett.

As a sculptor and partner at the Peter Blake Gallery, Bachiero said Wednesday that she feels very honored by her appointment to the Commission. The five-member panel advises and makes recommendations to the airport director and county supervisors regarding the Airport Arts Program.

“It is all too easy to take for granted the significance of what the artist created and the needs demanded by the material that they used, but my dual background as an artist and an exhibition coordinator equips me with a holistic perspective necessary for the planning and oversight of the John Wayne Airport Arts Commission’s programs,” Bachiero wrote in a letter to the Supervisors.

A Torrance native, Bachiero moved with her mother to Orange County when she was 11 years old. She’s been a fixture at Laguna Beach Council meetings, often sitting in the front row, since her husband’s election nearly a year ago.

Bachiero met Steel and her husband, Shawn, a Republican National Committee Member, during a recent event at the Peter Blake Gallery.

“We hit it off at the Steels, and that’s what lead to this,” Blake said.

Steel is running to unseat Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) in the 48th Congressional District in November 2020.

Although the Commission has a seemingly obscure role, he argues it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase Orange County artists to international travelers moving through the airport.

“The beauty of the airport [art] is the interaction you have with travelers from all over the world,” Blake said. “It goes beyond what we do in Orange County and kind of transcends the county lines.”

In 2007, Bachiero earned a bachelor’s in Fine Art Studio from Boston College. Her work has been juried into the Armory Show in New York and exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum and the Smithsonian Institution’s International Gallery.

“I have devoted my career to this work, not only because it is my life’s passion, but also because this work is tied to my sense of community,” Bachiero wrote in a letter.

Steel did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

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