The Laguna Art Museum dives into ‘the sea around us’ at the 10th Annual Art and Nature Festival

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will present its 10th annual Art and Nature, a multidisciplinary exploration and celebration of art’s diverse engagements with the natural world, starting November 3. The multi-faceted event is the museum’s largest public program of the year, bringing together thousands of attendees to foster a love of nature, environmental awareness and discover the intersections between science and the arts.

“This year’s 10th Annual Art & Nature Festival will once again bring the community together to appreciate the intimate connection between art and nature,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Laguna Art Museum. “The festival celebrates the museum’s long history as a cultural center, offering in-depth programming and impactful exhibits that honor California’s rich art history.”

Rebeca Méndez returns to Art & Nature as a featured artist with her new project The Sea Around Us, which will debut in the museum’s historic Steele Gallery on November 5. Creating an immersive 360-degree video art installation, The Sea Around Us transports viewers to an area of ​​the Pacific Ocean 30 miles off the coast of Laguna Beach, depicting the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interdependence for all living beings. Using scientific footage, the video cuts to thousands of barrels seeping DDT on the seabed being sampled by robotic arms. This hidden ecological calamity is revealed in conjunction with imagery that inspires awe and strengthens the bond between the sea and the viewer, inspiring courage to confront environmental harms, take restorative action and avoid repeating transgressions. against our natural resources.

Featuring the first outdoor exhibit since 2020, LAM will present Kelly Berg’s Pyramidion in the town of Laguna Beach from November 3-6. Pyramidion is an interactive sculptural experience inviting contemplation of the multi-layered history and unique geology of Laguna Beach. Starting at the museum, participants will travel to several sites through the local park and beaches, encountering pyramids of varying sizes and colors that reflect the ever-changing nature of the landscape. The temporality of the installation parallels much of the earth’s landscapes which shift and change due to weather, geology and the effects of climate change.

Beginning November 3, the California Gallery will exhibit Robert Young’s The Big One, which still holds the record for the largest painting ever created in Laguna Beach. As a resident of Laguna Beach, Young began his 9-by-15-foot painting in 1971 and continued to work on the piece throughout his life.

Additional Art & Nature Festival programming includes the First Thursdays Art Walk, a keynote lecture by National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle, and the free annual Family Festival.

Continuing Laguna Beach’s legacy as a center for the arts, Art & Nature offers a unique opportunity for the Southern California community to come together for a festival of art and ideas, inspiring artists and d enhance appreciation of nature as a place that inspires awareness. on the environment we share.

About the artists

Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer, and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice focus on design and media arts in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities, and landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to his many major permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Among them are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 to 2019, she was a member of the selection committee for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.

Kelly Berg is a Los Angeles-based artist who creates mixed media paintings and sculptural works that explore the ever-changing nature of our world. Known for her compositions illustrating the movement of tectonic plates, volcanic eruptions, and dramatic geological formations, Berg’s works offer a new perspective within the context of the contemporary landscape and the sublime. The incorporation of geometric shapes into his compositions and the recurring imagery of pyramids emerging from dark fissures in the earth create a visual framework that symbolizes a convergence of the human and natural worlds.

Berg received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Southern California and is part of major private and corporate collections. Berg has been invited to be artist-in-residence at Art 1307 Cultural Institute in Naples, Italy (2019) and Boxo Projects in Joshua Tree, California (2021). During the two artist residencies, she created works in dialogue with the unique geological features specific to these areas; Mount Vesuvius Volcano and Joshua Tree National Park respectively.

An avid diver and ocean lover, Robert Young worked on his magnum opus for decades adding colorful fish, pristine reefs, corals and other marine life to the canvas of his work The Big One. The painting was exhibited at Sea World, but eventually returned to Laguna Beach in 2013. Young was an extraordinary artist/painter who lived, loved and worked in Laguna Beach for most of his life and was one of founders of the beloved Laguna. Beach Sawdust Art Festival. It is his love for the sea that has inspired much of his work as an artist. Young connected with the ocean as a young boy while playing in the waves near his family’s beachside trailer in El Moro. He spent time there as a lifeguard at Scotchman’s Cove and, by chance, served his tour of duty as a Marine in Hawaii where his interest in the ocean and its people continued to grow. As a young man he spent hundreds of hours underwater exploring countless coves along the coast, diving for dinner at the end of the day or simply observing the wonders that lived below the surface. .

Keynote speaker

From National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Called Her Deepness by The New Yorker and New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and First Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and speaker with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director of corporations and nonprofits including Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Futures.

Formerly Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. Earle is Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc. (DOER), Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA)/Mission Blue, Chairman of the Harte Research Institute Advisory Board, Inspiration for the ocean in Google Earth, leader of the NGS Sustainable Seas Expeditions and subject of the 2014 Netflix film, Mission Blue. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, a Masters and a Ph.D. from Duke University, 27 honorary degrees and has authored over 200 scientific, technical and popular publications, including 13 books (most recently Blue Hope in 2014), has lectured in over 90 countries and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.

She has led over 100 expeditions and logged over 7,000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of female aquanauts on Project Tektite in 1970, participating in ten saturation dives, the most recent in July 2012, and by setting a solo diving record in 1,000. meters depth. His research focuses on marine ecosystems with particular reference to the exploration, conservation and development and use of new technologies for efficient access and operations in the high seas and other remote environments.

For more information on Art & Nature and Laguna Art Museum, visit To stay connected and find out about upcoming events, follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Mildred D. Field