A Public Art Event

The event serves a number of purposes: to provide a festival of art and ideas for the community; to inspire artists; to find and develop connections between art and science; to raise awareness of environmental issues; and to celebrate Laguna Beach as a center for the appreciation of art and nature.

The theme of Art & Nature speaks particularly to the identity of Laguna Beach, which for over a hundred years has fostered art, the love of nature, and environmental awareness. In 1929, when the Laguna Beach Art Association built a gallery to show and sell their work, they chose a commanding location on the coastline, close to the natural wonders they loved to paint. The present museum occupies the same site. There could be no more appropriate venue in which to explore the art-nature connection.

Featured Artwork

The Sea Around Us

Creating an immersive 360-degree video art installation, Rebeca Méndez’s The Sea Around Us will transport viewers to an area of the Pacific Ocean located 30 miles from the Laguna Beach Coast, portraying the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interconnectedness for all living things. Using scientific footage, the video shifts to thousands of oozing barrels of DDT on the seafloor being sampled by robotic arms. This hidden ecological calamity is revealed in conjunction with imagery that inspires awe and strengthens the bond between sea and viewer, inspiring the courage to face environmental wrongdoing, to take restorative action, and to avoid repeating transgressions against our natural resources. Learn more about The Sea Around Us at this link.

The Artist

Rebeca Méndez

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 investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to her many great 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 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.

Outdoor Exhibition


An interactive sculptural experience inviting contemplation of the layered history and unique geology of Laguna Beach. Beginning at the museum, participants will journey to several sites through the local Heisler Park and Main Beach, encountering seven pyramids of various sizes and colors that reflect the ever-shifting nature of the landscape. The temporality of the installation parallels much of the earth’s landscapes that shift and change due to weather, geology and the effects of climate change. Learn more about Pyramidion at this link.

The Artist

Kelly Berg

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

Featured Exhibition

The Big One

Laguna Beach artist Robert Young began his magnum opus in 1971. The enormous 9’ x 15’ painting was a work in progress throughout Young’s life. An avid scuba diver and ocean lover, Young added colorful fish, pristine reef, coral and other sea life onto his canvas over decades. The painting was displayed at Sea World but eventually came back to Laguna Beach where it is thought to still hold record as the largest painting ever created in the city. Learn more about The Big One at this link.

Featured Exhibition

Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition

Laguna Art Museum is stoked to present Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition on the occasion of the iconic surf film’s 50th anniversary. Created in 1972 as a love poem to the sport of surfing, the film quickly was named the most important surf movie ever made exceeding the wildest expectations of filmmakers Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman. Original artifacts showing how the film was made will be displayed alongside ephemera from the attendance-breaking theatrical release, surf boards, film footage and imagery epitomizing the positive force that comes from riding the waves. Learn more about Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition at this link.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

From Mission-Blue.org: National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by The New Yorker and The 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 lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the 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, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Futures.

Family Festival

The Art & Nature Family Festival is an event for all ages. Laguna Art Museum partners with local organizations whose missions focus on art, climate, science, animal welfare, and environmental education to present fun and enriching hands-on activities and educational stations throughout the museum.

Opening Week Schedule

Opening Week November 3-6, 2022

Thursday, November 3 – First Thursdays Art Walk

Art & Nature’s featured outdoor installation Pyramidion is on display all day and during the First Thursdays Art Walk. Robert Young’s The Big One also opens for display. Laguna Art Museum will offer free admission from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Laguna Beach First Thursdays Artwalk featuring local galleries art-and-nature themed exhibitions.

  • Participating galleries:
    • Wax & Wood Gallery
    • Dawson Cole Fine Art
    • Gallery Q at Susi Q
    • Las Laguna Art Gallery
    • BGC Laguna Beach
Friday, November 4 – Art & Nature 10th Anniversary Celebration + Keynote Lecture (tickets above)

Dr. Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, will give this year’s Art & Nature Keynote Lecture at the Art & Nature 10th Anniversary Celebration from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Following the keynote lecture, the museum will reveal The Sea Around Us by artist Rebeca Méndez and welcome opening night guests to experience the immersive exhibit at 7:00 p.m.

Along with light bites and libations, the event will give guests the opportunity to get a first look at select Art & Nature exhibitions, to meet the artists behind this year’s festival and to help the museum raise much needed funds for future programs and exhibitions. LAM’s partnership with MacGillivray Freeman Films and Coast Film Festival, Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition, will also debut during the anniversary celebration.

Saturday, November 5 – Free Family Festival

Art & Nature fans of all ages can join Laguna Art Museum and its partners during the Art & Nature Family Festival at the Main Beach Cobblestones and the museum from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The event will include a docent-guided tour from the Main Beach Cobblestones through Heisler Park to view Pyramidon and back to the museum. There will be fun, enriching hands-on activities and educational stations set up throughout the museum that explore art, climate, science, animal welfare, and environmental education.

The Art & Nature Family Festival and all-day museum admission will be free.

Sunday, November 6 – Art Workshop: California Marine Wildlife

As part of the 10th Annual Art & Nature Celebration, join artist Jane Lee McCracken, founder of Drawing for the Planet, as she leads a drawing workshop for all ages. Inspired by the ocean, this workshop will teach you how to draw some of your favorite marine animals while also inspiring empathy for the animals that share the planet with us.

Sunday, November 6 – The Sea Around Us Panel Discussion

Laguna Art Museum will host a Panel Discussion: The Sea Around Us moderated by Los Angeles Times environment reporter Rosanna Xia at 3:00 p.m. Join featured artist Rebecca Méndez as she delves into the process of making The Sea Around Us and its important message of ocean preservation. Panelists will include University of California, San Diego Professor of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Lihini Aluwihare, University of California, Santa Barbara Professor of Geochemistry and Microbiology David Valentine, and more.

Saturday, November 12 – Artist Spotlight: Kelly Berg

Join Curatorial Fellow Rochelle Steiner as she and Art & Nature featured artist, Kelly Berg, discuss Berg’s multi-location installation piece, Pyramidion. Sprinkled throughout Laguna Beach, the pyramids of Pyramidion vary in sizes and colors to reflect the ever-shifting nature of the landscape. The temporality of the installation parallels much of the earth’s landscapes that shift and change due to weather, geology, and the effects of climate change.

Sunday, November 13 – The Seven Ecological Regions of California Lecture

As part of the Art & Nature Celebration, join Curatorial Fellow Jean Stern as he explores the varied landscapes of California and the art inspired by it. California is a large state that consists of seven distinct and different ecological regions: the North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast bordering on the Pacific Ocean, the Shasta-Cascades, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada, and the Mojave Desert. Mr. Stern will discuss what makes these regions unique and show and discuss historical paintings from each region.

Saturday, November 19 – Panel Discussion: The Art of Surf

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the classic surf film, Five Summer Stories, a panel of notable surfers will come together to discuss the film’s influence on the sport, their lives, and careers. Panelists include Jeff Booth, Hans Hagen, Ryan Hitzel, Bob McKnight, Alisa Schwarzstein, and distinguished guest, and director of Five Summer Stories, Greg MacGillivray.

Special Thanks

Art & Nature programs and exhibitions are generously funded by an anonymous donor, Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg, Chris Quilter, The Bevins Family, Mike Johnson and Taka Oiwa, Tiare and Patrick Meegan, Susan and George Wood, FOA Foundation of Laguna Beach, Jan and Ken Kaplan.








Access Granted!