Young Artists Society Gallery

Young Artists Society Gallery

The Young Artists Society Gallery is located on the lower level of the museum’s gallery space and features artwork by K-12 students from Orange County schools and non-profit groups throughout the year. The rotation of shows coincides with the museum’s exhibition schedule, and student work is displayed in the same professional manner as art in the rest of the galleries. Laguna Art Museum’s Education Department collaborates closely with teachers to prepare for an exhibition, with student work based on—and inspired by—one of the other exhibitions on display at the museum at the same time. A special Young Artists Society Gallery opening reception takes place at the museum on the Sunday when new exhibitions open to the public.
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>> Click here for information about our current Young Artists Society Gallery exhibition.
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>> Applications for exhibitions in the Young Artists Society Gallery are accepted throughout the year. For more information, please contact Curator of Education Marinta Skupin at 949.494.8971 x201.
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Past Young Artists Society Gallery Exhibitions

A Fine Line
February 23-June 1, 2014
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On display in the Young Artists Society Gallery was work by high school students from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School inspired by ex•pose artist Dana Harel. Laguna Art Museum’s education department collaborated with art teacher Karen Poffenberger, who guided students to create a collection of photographs that explored gender identity by looking at ways in which social and cultural factors shape and perpetuate stereotypes, as well as at how these stereotypes can be challenged.
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The World as a Knot
October 27, 2013-January 19, 2014
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Thurston Middle School art students were inspired by ex•pose artist Richard Kraft. Laguna Art Museum’s education department collaborated with art teacher Linda Erickson on a series of lessons during which students learned about the history of collage, studied the work of Richard Kraft, and created their own collages. Students focused on the way Kraft uses play and imagination to fuse connections between unexpected things. “You may be amazed by what 11- and 12-year-olds can do, if given the right muse.” ~ Richard Chang, The Orange County Register
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Metastatic
June 2-September 29, 2013
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On display in the Young Artists Society Gallery was student work by Laguna Beach High School art students inspired by ex•pose artist Beatriz da Costa. Laguna Beach High School art teacher Bridget Beaudry-Porter worked with a number of 9th to 12th grade students during a two-month period in the spring of 2013 to create paintings based on microbiological images of cancer cells. The project not only introduced students to the use of scientific imagery as inspiration for making art, but also gave them the opportunity to investigate cancer from a different perspective. The result was a group of stunning paintings with a beauty all their own. “Even though the subject matter may be scary for some, the students demonstrate a remarkable level of maturity and creativity in dealing with concepts and actual scientific images of cancer.” ~ Richard Chang, The Orange County Register
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In Our Imagination
February 24-April 14, 2013
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The Young Artists Society Gallery presented student work by the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach inspired by ex•pose artist Allison Schulnik. For the exhibition, Boys & Girls Club Art Director Emily Murray worked with students between the ages of 5 and 12 in her after-school art class to create sculpted paintings using modeling paste and thick applications of acrylic paint.
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Jennifer Gardiner, Macha Suzuki, and Marinta Skupin work with CoachArt participant Dhanush Karthikeyan

Permission to Play
November 4, 2012-January 20, 2013
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Permission to Play featured CoachArt student work inspired by ex•pose artist Macha Suzuki. CoachArt was founded as a nonprofit in 2001 with the mission to improve the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses—and their siblings—by providing free lessons in the arts and athletics. For this exhibition, Laguna Art Museum’s Curator of Education Marinta Skupin and Development and Outreach Associate Jennifer Gardiner, along with artist Macha Suzuki and CoachArt staff and volunteers, worked with outpatient children between the ages of ten and eighteen from Children’s Hospital Orange County and Millers Children’s Hospital, Long Beach, to create papier-mâché sculptures.
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  23 Points of View: Inspired by the Paintings of Clarence Hinkle
June 10-October 7, 2012
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23 Points of View featured paintings created by twenty-three fourth grade students from Mrs. Cheryl Johns’s class at School of Our Lady in Santa Ana. Inspired by the paintings of Clarence Hinkle, the concept for this exhibition was developed around plein air drawing and learning the skills of painting. The project began with students visiting the museum and participating in a plein air drawing lesson from artist September McGee in the gazebo that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in front of the museum. McGee taught the students basics such as foreground, middle ground, and background, in addition to the use of line and shade. After the lessons, volunteer art teacher Mary Chabre photographed the area the students had been drawing. With the photos and drawings as reference, the students were shown images of Clarence Hinkle for additional inspiration to create plein air seascapes. Local plein air painter Julie Hermann assisted Chabre in teaching the children the basic skills and concepts they needed to complete their paintings.
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Student photographers from JSerra Catholic High School

Beauty Perceived: Photographs from JSerra Catholic High School, San Juan Capistrano
October 29, 2011-April 29, 2012
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“This project was an invitation to investigate the concept of beauty. Is beauty unique to each photographer, or do all photographers find beauty in the same things? Why is beauty so thrilling to our minds and hearts? Why does beauty inspire awe? What makes us seek out the beautiful? Why are these images both an expression of and a challenge to our notion of the beautiful? What were the photographers visualizing? We continue to question and discover the essence of beauty. We presented these images and accompanying thoughts questioning what is it about beauty that demands our attention and why does it attract us. We hope these images by these remarkable students inspire your own artistic vision. As their photography teacher, I am so proud of all of my students who have won over thirty awards while still in high school. These students have learned that hard work and high standards produce excellence in art. Their extraordinary works exhibited in this exhibition reveal the creativity and high aspirations of young people.” –Regina Stehney, JSerra Catholic High School Fine Arts Instructor
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  Natural Wonders: Wood Sculptures Inspired by Isamu Noguchi
June 12-October 2, 2011
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This exhibition featured wood sculptures created by 60 4th grade students from St. Mary’s, an IB World School, Aliso Viejo. This exhibition was on display in the Young Artists Society Gallery at the same time Noguchi: California Legacy was on display in the main galleries.
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St. Mary’s School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School dedicated to inquiry-based academic excellence, developing well-rounded, confident children who flourish in a creative environment founded on Christian values. As the only primary school in Orange County to offer the IB Programme, the school promotes critical thinking while focusing on developing skills for students in Preschool through Grade Eight. Through a unique combination of rigorous academic standards, foreign languages, technology, field studies, sports, arts and music set in a Christian environment, students develop into global thinkers. Their inquiry-based approach and optimum class sizes provide the foundation to cultivate future global leaders for an increasingly diverse and technological society.
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  Cultural Identity
February 27-May 15, 2011
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The Cultural Identity art project featured works created in 2011 by twenty high school students. The concept for this exhibition was based around the idea of awareness of one’s cultural identity. One’s culture is a way of life for a group of people. Their behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols are passed on generation to generation by communication and imitation. For this project, the students specifically explored cultural identifiers with which they strongly connected, such as family, race, heritage, aesthetics, age, religious beliefs, ethnicity, location, and gender.
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St. Margaret’s Episcopal School is in San Juan Capistrano, and is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory day school serving students in pre-school through twelfth grade. A broad arts program is offered with courses in visual arts, choral and instrumental music, dance and drama. Students participate in more than 70 arts performances and events each year.
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These digital photographs were created by Ms. Karen Poffenberger’s freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior high school 2D Studies students.
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Megan Hart Jones with Father John Paul Jones

Megan Hart Jones with Father John Paul Jones

Megan Hart Jones: A Tribute
October 31, 2010-January 23, 2011
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“Art is not merely for the eye’s enjoyment. Rather it is the reflection and examination of the world we live in and our way of perceiving it. It’s a noble cause, indeed, and will always be a part of my life.” –Megan Hart Jones, 1986
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Daughter of artist John Paul Jones, Megan Hart Jones (1966–1987) graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1984 and attended studio art classes at the Laguna Beach College of Art from 1978 to 1985. In 1983, she received a commission from Laguna Beach High School to paint a life-sized mural in the library. The completed work—still extant today—is comprised of fifteen life-sized images of students engaged in various school activities such as sports, music, dance, studio art, and reading.
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While she was still in high school, Jones began to achieve local popularity as an artist, and she began to show her work in community galleries. Her works were included in several group exhibitions from 1983 to 1984, including Up and Coming Young Artists at TLK Gallery, Costa Mesa; Drawing: A Personal Vision, at Mills House Art Gallery, Garden Grove; and All Media at the Laguna Beach Museum of Art.
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Determined to go away to college after high school and in need of funds, Jones baked white chocolate chip cookies that she sold twice a week at the café adjacent to the University of California, Irvine Fine Arts Gallery. She was then fortunate to receive a full scholarship to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she enrolled in 1984.
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As a freshman, Jones was placed in a special studies program where she excelled in her majors of studio art and creative writing. Tragically, during her sophomore year she was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. Although she had to leave college for treatment, she continued to create drawings, small sculptures, and writings on life and her struggles with cancer. After an operation at the UCLA Medical Center in November 1986, she began a course of treatment that included several experimental drugs; yet she was expected to live only a few months.
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On May 5, 1987, at the age of twenty, Jones died of complications from cancer. A few months later, her parents, John Paul Jones and Chadlyn Jones, established the Megan Hart Jones Studio Art Scholarship Fund in her honor at Smith College. Each year a scholarship would be awarded to one studio art undergraduate for her artistic abilities in painting or drawing. Megan’s parents considered this a lasting gift in memory of their daughter and the college she had hoped to return to one day.
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  Mud Houses and Bird Shacks: Laguna Beach Dwellings Interpreted by Festival of Arts Students
June 13-October 3, 2010
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“When clay squiggles through my hands, it feels like silky rubber bands.” ~ Sheri Sussex, age 7. Festival of Arts student.
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Laguna Art Museum and the Festival of Arts partnered to put the works of Festival of Arts students on display at the museum in the Young Artists Society Gallery. In line with Laguna Art Museum’s main exhibition at the time Art Shack, these students, led by ceramic instructor Monica Dunham, created their own art shacks in the form of ceramic dwellings, mud houses, and bird shacks.
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The origin of Mud Houses started with an in-class discussion about architecture by Festival of Arts ceramics instructor Monica Dunham with her students. Laguna Beach is historically renowned for its bungalows and cottages. Based on this idea, the students created their own version of cottages. After completing the project, Festival of Arts junior artists were able to look at Laguna Beach’s cottages with new eyes. They began to notice porches, dormers and other architectural elements. They realized how unique and, at the same time, stylistically united the cottages were. They learned that a house is not fully represented without its surroundings.
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With Bird Shacks, students were given minimal instruction and asked to use their imagination. They set out to explore the concept of enclosed space, of vertical versus horizontal planes and of different roof types. They were encouraged to employ non-traditional exterior design and vivid color patterns.
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Through these projects, Festival of Arts students learned ceramic skills and aesthetic values. They applied architectural and design principles to their work. The result was a very innovative exhibition that complimented the museum’s main exhibition Art Shack.
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  Plaster Friezes of the OC: Art from St. Mary’s School in Aliso Viejo
February 21-May 16, 2010
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Fifty-eight third grade students at St. Mary’s School in Aliso Viejo created three friezes depicting their favorite scenes from “the O.C.” Each frieze is a unique expression created by these young artists.
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The photographs next to each work showed examples of the projects process. Working in groups, under the supervision of art teacher Roxanne Scruggs, they used large cardboard rectangles cut from boxes as bases for the friezes. They then used graphite to sketch out their ideas for each scene (mountains, beach, and freeway).
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Once the sketches were in place, students worked with modeling material in order to craft a relief effect against the cardboard backing. Several coats of plaster were then applied, and the artists proceeded to paint their friezes, experimenting with a wide variety of acrylic paints to complete their creations.
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  California Colors: A View of Orange County
November 8, 2009-January 17, 2010
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California Colors: A View of Orange County was created by Mrs. Donna Okamura’s junior, senior, and advanced placement high school visual arts classes at Sage Hill School, Newport Coast, California.
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This art project featured works by sixteen high school students. The concept for this exhibition was based around the idea of awareness of one’s community and the places, people, and things that surround us in our daily lives. The students were first asked to take photographs of California scenes, mainly focusing on Orange County. The students then chose one photograph that they felt best represented a part of their community and then painted the scene using watercolors. The exercise was intended to be an outlet for creativity and a chance to analyze familiar surroundings. The outcome of their scenes varied, yet, as a whole, the paintings represent a unique slice of the Orange County community in which we live.
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  Stretch of the Imagination: Art from Pacifica High School, Garden Grove
June 12-October 4, 2009
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Stretch of the Imagination was created by Ms. Cherri’s junior and senior high school art classes at Pacifica High School, Garden Grove, California, and featured works by seven high school junior and senior students. The concept for this exhibition was based around the idea of fantasy and dreamlike states that exist in our day-to-day realities and routines. The students were asked to render their version of fantasy or surrealism without a list of objects or themes that needed to be addressed within their final works. The exercise was intended to be an outlet for creativity and the emergence of imagery that exists in one’s own imagination. The artworks ranged from mixed media to more traditional forms of painting and drawing, and revealed a journey through fantastical worlds, elements, creatures and bizarre beings. The stories illustrated by these students dealt with many different themes, including coming-of-age quests and personal narratives.
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  The Trees of Knowledge: Illustrating Rumi’s Poems
March 15-May 24, 2009
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The Trees of Knowledge was created by the Ms. Heather’s second grade class and by Ms. Melanie’s fifth grade class from Anneliese Schools, Laguna Beach.
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“The Trees of Knowledge project was inspired by the great 13th century Persian poet and theologian Rumi. Rumi’s ideas as expressed in the words of his poems have greatly influenced my teaching. The students from the second and fifth grades at Anneliese Schools in Laguna Beach began the project by each painting a symbol of the great tree. We then discussed Rumi’s thoughts on nature, knowledge, and love. We decided that when each of our painted seeds is planted in the ground, it would reflect one of Rumi’s thoughts. These seeds will then sprout into many thoughts as others experience Rumi’s words through our artworks. The broken glass was added later, giving the work more dimension and the reflection of light, giving more inspiration to many of Rumi’s powerful insights.” ~Ms. Rose Wazana-Levy, Art Teacher, Anneliese School.