One of my favorite events every summer is the Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Art in Laguna Beach, CA. I’ve gone to this event every year for as long as I can remember, and it is always fantastic. Basically, the Pageant of the Masters is a show that brings art to life according to a theme; live volunteers masterfully recreate some of the most famous pieces of art so that they look identical to the painting. The people in the paintings or sculpture go through training to learn how to hold their breath and barely blink for 90 seconds. The result is a collection of the most incredible artworks from around the world brought together to be celebrated for one night.
This years theme was “Genius” and highlighted the artistic, musical, and scientific masters throughout history. Featuring pieces that payed homage to masters in all fields like Beethoven, Mozart, Michelangelo, Copernicus, Galileo, and Da Vinci, among others, this years Pageant of the Masters was a fascinating journey through some of the greatest minds in history. It was almost impossible to choose a favorite, but I would have to say the tribute to Galileo and the field of astronomy was by far the most breathtaking. The entire solar system came to life in the canyon through Laguna Beach.
I’ve always gone to this event with my family and we always go somewhere fun for dinner before. This year we found this little cafe about three blocks from the beach that had fantastic soup and bread, as well as the best pesto I have ever tasted. It’s always fun to explore new places and try new foods, and this little cafe is somewhere I would definitely try again.
Before the show begins, artists from the area all gather and display their work for sale. This festival of arts portion showcases a variety of talent and many different genres of art from traditional oil painting to collage to jewelry making. Many of the artists are present and happy to discuss their inspiration and stories. By far my favorite painting in the festival was a fantastic oil painting of the USC Coliseum, and I definitely wasn’t the only Trojan admiring this work of art. Many USC alumns were also there and it was really cool to hear their stories and tell my own.
Overall this show is a really awesome experience, and I don’t just enjoy it because I’m an art history minor. Watching live actors become seamlessly embedded into pieces of art is, put simply, really cool. Beyond the show itself, this is one of the few times that all these masterpieces from around the world can be viewed in one place, and although not the original, they are incredible and accurate life size recreations that brings a whole world of art to Laguna Beach.