Thank You Laguna Beach!

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City of Laguna Beach votes unanimously in favor of Cultural Facilities Improvement Matching Grant Program

 At its March 15 meeting, the Laguna Beach City Council made a bold and enlightened move in support of the arts– all five City Council members voted in favor of a matching grant program to help the two oldest artistic institutions in town, Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Playhouse. The decision has been hailed as a clear sign of support and trust in these organizations, both approaching their 100-year anniversaries (2018 for Laguna Art Museum and 2020 for the Playhouse). It demonstrates the City’s belief that the arts are a vital part of the past, present, and future of this idyllic seaside community.

The Cultural Facilities Improvement Matching Grant Program, as it has been named, allows the museum and the playhouse to apply for a grant of up to $250,000 per year for the next four years (2016-2019) for use toward capital improvements. To secure the City’s dollars, the two institutions must match them, raising $250,000 in excess of what they would normally raise during the given period. It is a substantial challenge, but both institutions feel confident that they will be able to meet it. Both have important repairs that need to be addressed if they are to move to the next level of artistic excellence and quality.

Through this gesture, the City of Laguna Beach has sent a message to the community and beyond of the importance of local governments supporting their arts organizations. Fundraising for capital improvements is a difficult task yet one that is critical for all non-profits whose facility deeply affects the artistic experience of visitors.

Laguna Beach has a considerable history in the arts. Its founders at the end of the nineteenth century were visiting artists who decided to stay. The distinguished landscape painters William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, Anna Hills, and Joseph Kleitsch, to name just a few, were among the town’s early settlers. They created a legacy of engagement with the arts that continues to this day, one of practicing, appreciating, and educating.

The museum’s board of trustees, staff, and supporters are thrilled with the matching grant challenge and look forward to working with the City and the community to realize some vital capital projects and help safeguard the museum’s next hundred years. In recognition of this grant, admission to the museum will be free to Laguna Beach residents till the end of the current exhibitions (May 30). Thank you Laguna Beach!