Summer is only halfway done, but if you’re like me, you’ve run out of things to do. Fear not! If you’re looking to do something that’s a little different, I suggest you visit art festivals. And no, that doesn’t mean travelling to MOCA. Believe it or not, there are some really spectacular art festivals going on close by that you can enjoy for cheap prices.
Festival of the Arts: If you’re looking for a really nice getaway that’s just a few minutes down the 405, then try the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. The Festival is an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photographs and abstracts that local artists have been working on during the year. The event is held in an outside plaza, at the center of which is a bar and band that serves refreshments and relaxing music throughout the day for the attendees. Doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. daily, and admission is only $7-10.
However, the real attraction that takes place at this festival is the original Pageant of the Masters. This pageant is where volunteers dress up and pose to recreate famous works of art, such as “The Last Supper.” The pageant is 90 minutes long, and starts at around 8:30 every night, and costs between $15-146. Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, and you merely have an appreciation for the arts, I would suggest you go to the pageant. If you just want to peruse some art and then hit the beaches, then go for it; the Festival is on the road to the strip of beach that made Laguna Beach so famous.
Sawdust Festival: This festival takes place less than a mile up the road from the Festival of the Arts, but it’s perfect if you don’t really want to partake in the slightly fancier festival. The Sawdust Festival is more family oriented; you can take your time going through the galleries set up by the many local artists, partake in hands-on workshops and presentations, or just sit down and enjoy their food and bands. Admission is $7.75 and the Sawdust is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. every day until September 2.
Irvine Museum: A museum right down the road from UCI, the Irvine Museum is housed in a skyscraper-like building right by John Wayne Airport. Currently they have an exhibition of paintings that depict “Paradise Found: California Summer,” a few impressionists’ looks at California during the early 1900’s. Entry is free for students with valid ID, and the museum is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Bowers Museum: Go up the 5 freeway just a little ways and you’ll find the Bowers Museum—a slightly quaint museum that is currently hosting several diverse exhibitions, such as a look at tsar jewelry, ancient arts of China and the fascinating histories of California. Tickets are slightly pricy at $10-$12 (for students), and hours are a limited 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesdays until Sundays.
Getty Center: If you want to travel to a place a bit more urban than Irvine, I suggest you head out to Los Angeles and go to the Getty Center. The Getty currently has about eight exhibitions going on at the moment, some of which look interesting, such as, “Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity,” which focuses on how the introduction of photography into modern society changed celebrity status and the image/idea of the “celebrity.” The Getty is a little more mature than the other places, so if you go, and it doesn’t turn you on, then feel free to explore the LA/Hollywood area for the rest of the day. Admission is free, but parking is not. Parking is $15 and there aren’t a lot of spaces, so I suggest you get there early, especially since doors open at 10 a.m. and end around 5:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., depending on the day.