Location: 935 Laguna Canyon Road Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Phone: (949) 494-3030
When: August throughout September
Originally, Sawdust was part of the well known Festival of Arts and it was known as the Laguna Gallery Owners and Artists Association. In 1965 it broke away from the famous festival and it became a festival on its own. This was a protest against the jurying system of the show. The very first edition of the festival was held on Peacock lot, downtown Park Avenue. This edition gathered around only 12 exhibitors and the media called it the Rejects Festival
In 1966 the show was not organized, but it managed to reappear in 1967. This time it was held on The Kronquist lot, North Coast Highway, and it had more exhibitors. This particular show was a success and so, the artists decided to move it on the famous Laguna Canyon Road. They leased the property from Dorothy and Walter Funk. This remained the festival’s location until today. The ground was covered with sawdust to combat the mud and dust, and so the media named it the Sawdust Festival. This title became a brand throughout the decades
In 1968 the festival expanded and moved a little farther, on 935 Laguna Canyon Road, to a 3-acre lot. This edition of the show promised to support unrestricted art, provide sales outlet and educate the public. Nowadays, the artists are placed in demo booths where they can demonstrate their artistic talent. The public can get inside the booths and take part in the demonstration. There are also special booths designed for visitors who want to try their artistic skills. The background of this entire show is composed of rippling waterfalls and eucalyptus groves
The Sawdust Festival is renowned for being a local event. The artists that take part in the show are living in Laguna Beach. The administration of the Sawdust Festival consists of exhibiting members. Not many non-profit arts organizations have exhibiting members within the administration board. Every year, the Board of Directors elects its members from the exhibiting artists. At the same time, an annual lottery is held every February to determine the booth locations. An interesting aspect about this show is that it’s not juried. Thus, people have the chance to see accomplished veteran artists working along with enthusiastic amateurs. That’s what gives the variety and spice and what makes the shows seem so different
The Sawdust Art Festival kept its spirit and was never the same as the previous show. The organizers don’t think of this event as a stuffy exhibit, but rather as an artists’ happening. That’s why every summer, the artists build their own booths from scratch and design a temporary village. The works of art they showcase are interesting and varied, and so are the architectural designs. After the booths are constructed, exhibitors spread the sawdust and design the landscape. They turn on the music and this is the primarily sign that the Sawdust Art Festival is back for the summer. It’s a unique artistic experience that attracts hundreds of visitors annually.