Balboa Island ArtWalk, canceled last year, returns to seaside community

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Los Angeles-based artist Karen Stein said she was ready to participate in the Balboa Island ArtWalk last year as a first-time exhibitor, but then COVID-19 hit. After a few attempts to reschedule the event, traditionally held every May, ArtWalk 2020 finally had to be canceled.

But Stein was one of many performers happy to hear that the local jury show would return on Sunday.

About 2,500 attendees strolled along South Bayfront in Balboa to admire the works of 80 exhibiting artists while live music played in the background.

An attempt at social distancing was in effect this year, with a 20% reduction in artist booths on the normally crowded sidewalk. All artists have been encouraged to use contactless payment in their transactions with buyers.

MerriJane Morrison, left, describes one of her sterling silver pieces to event sponsor Mary Hardesty during Sunday’s 26th annual Balboa Island ArtWalk.

(Susan Hoffmann)

Laguna Beach jewelry designer MerriJane Morrison, who has exhibited in the salon for about 10 years, said it’s the interactions with people that motivate her.

“If the universe hadn’t given me the gift of expressing myself through creativity, I wouldn’t have been able to experience great relationships with people,” Morrison said. “There are many pieces that are spiritually inspired and when I tell people the story behind the piece, it offers the same opportunity for that kind of connection.”

First-time exhibitor Ian Stuart started creating pottery three years ago around the same time he started teaching ceramics at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.

First-time exhibitor Ian Stuart and his girlfriend Emily Floyd sit on the seawall during the Balboa Island ArtWalk on Sunday.

A first-time exhibitor, high school ceramics teacher Ian Stuart and his girlfriend, Emily Floyd, sit on the seawall during the Balboa Island ArtWalk on Sunday.

(Susan Hoffmann)

“I make my own glazes for my hand-thrown functional items,” Stuart said. “During the pandemic, I turned my garage into a studio where I have a wheel and an oven.”

Relying on oil paint as a medium, Anaheim Hills artist Kathleen Williams has exhibited at ArtWalk for approximately five years. She finds inspiration in a variety of subjects, from seascapes, landscapes and street scenes to portraits.

“I do a lot of landscapes; we have the best landscape scenes from SoCal, ”said Williams, who paints primarily outdoors. “California’s scenic landscapes are popular with tourists because they want to take a piece of California home with them.”

Williams explained that with the entry fee of $ 250, even if it hits the break-even point, it’s worth stepping out and interacting with the audience.

Outdoor painter Kathleen Williams holds it "Down on the back bay" painting during the Balboa Island ArtWalk Sunday.

Outdoor painter Kathleen Williams holds her painting “Down On The Back Bay” at Balboa Island ArtWalk Sunday.

(Susan Hoffmann)

“I do business afterwards,” she said. “People will follow up with something they saw at the show or have me paint something special for them.”

Mary Hardesty, a local real estate broker who is sponsoring the event, said she finds it “a pleasure to be part of the energy of neighbors, friends and visitors to the Island who come together in the spirit of celebrating. our artists and to be inspired by their presentations.

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