Anna Hills, Edgar Payne, and other artists formed the Laguna Beach Art Association (LBAA) with a purpose “to advance the knowledge of and interest in Art, and to create a spirit of cooperation and fellowship between the painter and the public.”
Following a successful fundraising drive led by Anna Hills, the LBAA opened a grand, custom-built gallery designed by the well-known Los Angeles architect Myron Hunt. This survives as the Steele Gallery within the present museum building.
With the growth of a permanent collection of donated works and the beginnings of a program of loan exhibitions, the LBAA’s gallery took on some of the characteristics of a museum and became the Laguna Beach Museum of Art.
The museum changed its name to Laguna Art Museum and a physical expansion that completed the building as it now stands added galleries, public spaces, and staff offices.
The museum established Art & Nature, an annual event with special exhibitions, a commissioned outdoor work of art, lectures, panel discussions, films, and family activities on the theme of art’s engagement with the natural world.
The museum celebrates the centennial of the founding of the LBAA and continues to collect and show California art, offer art education programs, and serve the community as a cultural and social center with programs in music, dance, and film as well as the visual arts.
The mission of Laguna Art Museum is to be the premier museum of California art, financially stable and managed according to the highest professional standards—both an artistic destination and a relevant, respected center of culture for Laguna Beach.
Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. It collects, cares for, and exhibits works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. Unlike any other museum in the state, it collects California art and only California art, and ranges across all periods and styles, nineteenth-century to present-day.
Laguna Art Museum believes that the artists of California have created works of the highest quality and significance. An artistic center throughout its history, Laguna Beach is a natural home for the premier museum of California art.
Laguna Art Museum seeks to develop a permanent collection that represents the rich history of California art; stage serious exhibitions of high artistic quality that complement the collection; offer a robust education program for children, students, and adults alike; and serve the community as a cultural and social center.
Meet Our Team
Julie Perlin Lee
Julie Perlin Lee joined LAM as Executive Director in May 2021. Previously she was Executive Director at the Catalina Island Museum, and Vice President of Collections and Exhibition Development at the Bowers Museum.
At Catalina Island Museum from 2016 to 2021, Lee led a period of growth including high-profile exhibitions and educational programs, and the completion of a capital project for the museum’s new permanent facility which opened in 2016. At the Bowers Museum from 2008 to 2016, she procured acquisitions for the museum’s permanent collection, directed research and preservation, organized exhibitions, and contributed to publications. She holds a BA in Art History, MFA in Exhibition Design, and Certificate in Museum Studies from California State University, Fullerton.
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