Our Honorees

Honorary Chairs: Louis and Laura Rohl

Lou and Laura Rohl returned to Laguna Beach from the Bay Area in 2003 to rediscover the village they had always loved and had lived in during the devastating 1993 fires. The spirit of the town was strong and resilient as ever, and the arts were thriving. While Lou settled into managing the family business in Irvine, Laura was integrating the family into the new rhythm of life in Laguna.

As luck would have it, during a business visit to his office, Lou was introduced to Matt and Mary Lawson, the charismatic co-chairs of the Advisory Circle. When Matt and Mary heard that the Rohls were new to the city after many years away, they enthusiastically encouraged Lou to “come to the museum” and to consider joining the Advisory Circle as a way to meet new friends and support a fine institution. About the Lawsons, the Rohls share, “There may not be a more persuasive couple out there, and we are truly grateful for them.” The rest, as they say, is history.

From Advisory Circle to Board of Trustees member, to Vice President with Igal Silber, to President with Vice Presidents Elyse Miller and Robert Hayden, to Co-Chair of the Advisory Circle with Laura, back to President with Vice Presidents Tom Stiles and Joe Hanauer, Lou served for over 15 years with Laguna Art Museum Directors Bolton Colburn and Malcolm Warner, with a passion for this institution. Lou notes, “It has been my honor to serve this remarkable and historic institution in the company of so many outstanding and generous members of the LAM community on every level.”

Laura sat on Fundraising and Development Committees throughout the years and currently remains on the Collections Committee where she shares Lou’s devotion to LAM and continues to feed her long-held passion for Art History. Laura shares, “LAM has played an enormous role in our life here in Laguna Beach and continues to enrich us with world class exhibitions, outstanding education programs, fine art, and lasting friendships.”

Stephanie Barron, photo by Fredrik Nilsen

Wendt Award: Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator of Modern Art, LACMA

Stephanie Barron is Senior Curator and Modern Art Department Head at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Among her exhibitions and publications over the past 40 years are The Russian Avant- Garde: 1910-1930: New Perspectives; German Expressionist Sculpture; ‘Degenerate Art’: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany; Exiles + Émigrés- The Flight of European Artists from Hitler; Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures, New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933, and exhibitions of Alexander Calder, David Hockney, Ed Kienholz, Sharon Lockhart, John McLaughlin, Rene Magritte, and Ken Price. She has received the Order of Merit, First Class; and the Commander’s Cross from the German government. Her exhibitions and publications have been voted the best in the United States five times by the International Art Critics Association, and three times by the Art Museum Curators Association; and she has twice received the College Art Association’s Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for best museum catalogue. A long standing member of the Art Advisory Panel of the IRS, she is a fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves as trustee of: the John Baldessari Family Foundation, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, and The Industry LA. Ms. Barron was educated at Barnard College and Columbia University.

Anna Hills Awards: Janet Blake

and Louis and Laura Rohl

Janet Blake (Dominik), Curator Emerita of Historical Art, retired at the end of 2020 from nearly 40 years of service to Laguna Art Museum. Blake has been affiliated with the museum since 1983 in the field of scholarship on the history of California art from 1900 to 1950, with a focus on American impressionists in California and the regional or American Scene artists of the 1930s and 1940s. Transitioning from independent curator and contributor to staff of Laguna Art Museum in 1998, Blake worked as the registrar before assuming the additional position as curator of collections from 1999 to 2012. In 2012 she became the curator of historical art. During her tenure, Blake curated several exhibitions: California Holiday: The E. Gene Crain Collection, 2002 (with Susan M. Anderson); Laguna’s Hidden Treasures: Art from Private Collections, 2005 (with Tyler Stallings); Millard Sheets in Mexico, 1932 to 1943, 2006; E. Roscoe Shrader, 2010; Clarence Hinkle, 2012; Timothy J. Clark, 2012; George Hurrell: Laguna to Hollywood, 2013; Travels with Millard Sheets, 1950–1980, 2014; Rex Brandt: In Praise of Sunshine, 2014; Phil Dike: The Wave Series and Malibu Set Series, 1968 to 1981, 2015; City Life, Los Angeles: 1930s to 1950s, 2016; Miss Hills of Laguna Beach: Anna Althea Hills, Art, Education, Community, 2016 (with Keith Colestock); Phil Dike: At the Edge of the Sea, 2017; Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918 to 1935, 2018 (with Deborah Epstein Solon); and Thomas Hunt: California Modernist, 2020 (with Keith Colestock).

Art & Nature Commissioned 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 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.”

Emcee: Jason Feddy

Jason Feddy will host the evening as Master of Ceremonies. Feddy is Laguna Beach Arts Alliance’s 2019 Artist of the Year and a central figure in the music scene of Laguna Beach. He was the daily morning DJ on Laguna’s local radio station and he has produced the city’s popular Sunset Serenades, World Music, and Music in the Park concerts series. His all-star band, Mad Dogs & The Englishman, pay tribute to the legendary Joe Cocker.

Special Thanks

Art & Nature Committee

Kathleen and Gregg Abel
Jane and Joe Hanauer
Robin Kalota
Barbara and Greg MacGillivray

David Powers
Chris Quilter
Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg

Gala Event Chair

Kristin Samuelian

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