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History Timeline

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History Timeline

The Making of a Laguna Beach Masterpiece

A fantastic look at the Festival of Arts, the Pageant of the Masters and Laguna Beach through the eye of a 1958 camera.

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Looking Back: 85 Years at the Festival of Arts 1932-2017

A History Timeline

1932

1932
The first Festival of Arts, produced by local artist John H. Hinchman, was held in downtown Laguna, August 13-20, 1932. Los Angeles Olympic Games were also held that summer, July 30-August 14. The Festival was held on El Paseo, near Hotel Laguna. With no permanent location, the Festival was held at various venues during the next seven years.
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1933

1933
“Living pictures” were presented at 2nd annual Festival of Arts in “Spirit of the Masters Pageant.”
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1934

1934
The Festival of Arts incorporated, September 29, 1934. Local businessman George A. Portus was elected the first Festival Board President.
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1935

1935
Roy Ropp, having assumed direction of the “living pictures,” added a larger stage, painted backdrops, music and narration. He called his new and very popular program the Pageant of the Masters.
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1936

1936
After building a bigger stage to accommodate his expanded Pageant, Roy Ropp concludes his second presentation with “The Last Supper,” its traditional finale ever since.
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1937

1937
The sixth annual Festival of Arts, held in a eucalyptus grove adja to the Woman’s Club (near the present site of City Hall), is dedicated to the “spirit of Laguna expressed in beauty, service, hospitality, friendliness, recreation, the arts and crafts.”
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1938

1938
With Frank Cuprien serving as Master of Ceremonies once more, the 1938 Festival was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Laguna Beach Art Association. Roy Ropp considered the setting next to the Woman’s Club to be his favorite Festival location and negotiations between the City, the Festival and the Woman’s Club intensified, in hopes that this might become the permanent home of the Festival.
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1939

1939
The Festival is held for the final time in the grove next to the Woman’s Club, following extensive efforts by the Festival and City to purchase the site. When no agreement could be reached, attention was focused on the present Festival location in Laguna Canyon, but a purchase agreement was not completed in time for the 1940 Festival.
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1940

1940
For its final year prior to the successful purchase of its permanent home, the Festival was held at a new site near the bottom of the hill on Third Street. Up until this year, the Festivals had lasted no more than nine days. This year, it extends its run to fifteen days.
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1941

1941
Irvine Bowl Recreation Park was dedicated as the permanent home of the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters. Record attendance and ticket sales created intense anticipation for the 1942 Festival.
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1942-45

1942-45
World War II halts Festival and Pageant for four years.
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1946

1946
Festival and Pageant return with first of a series of new Pageant directors replacing Roy Ropp.
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1947

1947
Festival exhibitor and future board member Russell Iredell is credited with the inauguration in 1947 of the Junior Art Exhibit, a perennial favorite of Festival visitors, featuring the works of student from Orange County schools (K-12) selected by a jury of public school art teachers.
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1953

1953
A New Stage built and dedicated for the Irvine Bowl
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1955

1955
Pan Am Airlines creates controversy and publicity bonanza by censoring visitor's guide with Pageant's re-creation of Venus de Milo on the cover
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1957

1957
Donald Williamson designed the Festival of Arts dining pavilion, now known as Tivoli Terrace, which featured a dramatic paraboloid roof.
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1957

1957
Pageant guest-star and volunteer Bette Davis "almost" appears in the Pageant.
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1957

1957
In 1957, the Festival of Arts Scholarship Program was established to provide financial assistance for Laguna Beach High Schools students preparing for careers in various disciplines in the arts. Sally Dunn Reed, a senior graduating from Laguna Beach High, was awarded the very first scholarship of $1,000.
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1960

1960
First Photography Exhibit
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1962

1962
Festival Helps Found Laguna Beach School of Art, later renamed Laguna College of Art and Design.
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2016-11-29T15:50:51+00:00