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Obscura Society LA Explores “Inside” Laguna Beach with Cartwheel Art Tours

January 9, 2016 @ 11:00 am - 1:30 pm



Laguna Beach is a famed art  colony, best known for its plein-air  art, but you’ll discover a different side of this beach community when you join Cartwheel Art Tours and Obscura Society LA in Laguna Beach. This special tour  provides a unique perspective and immersive experience in art, food/beverage and history with a tour itinerary that has been created for visitors and locals by Cartwheel Art and Cartwheel Art Tours founder Cindy Schwarzstein, who has been a Laguna local since 1974.

On this tour you’ll explore some of Cartwheel Art’s favorite contemporary art galleries, meet artists and gallery owners, view a mural recently painted by an internationally well-known UK street artist and other public art sculptures.  The secret history of hippies and activists will be highlighted with a visit by one of the visionary artists of that movement currently showing at the Laguna Art Museum,  as well as experiencing the city enclaves’s surf culture. The tour begins in a magical art garden where we will enjoy specialty baked goods and beverages.


(Note: Early Bird discount of $35.00 ends December 18,2015, then price will be $40.00 )

More specific details for the itinerary are as follows:


– We will begin the tour at Madison Square & Garden Cafe, where we will be served their delicious handmade muffin tops along with coffee and tea. Madison Square Garden and Cafe is a magical space.  The original Craftsman style home, an architectural style that has become synonymous with California, has been restored and converted into a boutique with whimsical and unique gifts. Outside is an incredibly landscaped garden with fountains and so much more!


– We will view the current exhibition of work in the following galleries on the north side of Laguna Beach: JoAnne Artman Gallery and Sue Greenwood Fine Art Gallery (SGFA) and Kelsey Michaels Fine Art.

– At SGFA, we will meet Downtown Los Angeles based artist Dave Lefner whose work will be on exhibition. Dave works in reduction block printing, reflecting a nostalgia for its aging, vintage looks and unique storefronts, signage and architecture in Los Angles. Check out his video here and a recent article by KCET here.

-View the mural recently painted by internationally known street artist, Ben Eine, and see other public art sculptures along the paths in Heisler Park where we will be strolling, including that of Marlo Bartels, Cheryl Ekstrom, Naomi & Scott Schoenner, and others. It is in Heisler Park, where we will take in the magnificent, and breathtaking coastline views of Laguna Beach.

Marlo Bartels, who  has been producing and installing permanent ceramic and stone sculpture, mosaics, pictorial murals and functional art for cities, institutions and personal clients since 1977, will be a guest speaker of ours along the tour route. With the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., he has developed new techniques for fabricating furniture and sculptures, using tile facings on ferro-cement with polystyrene substrates that he will discuss with us his work in front of the Laguna Art Museum


– There will be a walk-through by Mark Chamberlain, activist and artist for the current show “The Canyon Project: Artisvism!” at Laguna Art Museum (LAM). “The Canyon Project: Artisvism!” curated by Mike McGee, shows work created as part of a long-term project Chamberlin and artist Jerry Burchfield  for the cause to protect Laguna Canyon through activism, when the beautiful area was threatened by development. The project slowly evolved into sixteen different phases over thirty years, during which the artists were assisted by thousands of volunteers.  The eighth and paramount phase was The Tell, a 636-foot long photographic mural that was mounted in the canyon, covered with more than 100,000 personal photographs donated by concerned individuals.

The Canyon Project examined, considered, and lobbied for the very existence of Laguna Canyon. It was both art and activism, or “artivism”—the tongue-in-cheek portmanteau that the artists coined to describe it. The exhibition features actual portions of The Tell and other objects that relate to the project, including documents, ephemera, and photographs.

– In addition, at the Laguna Art Museum, Chamberlin will speak on another historical period in Laguna Beach involving the Mystic Artists, a collective of  psychedelic artists who inspired twenty five thousand hippies converged on Laguna Canyon in 1970 for a music and Christmas Festival. It is relevant to discuss as there is a reunion being planned for this year to occur again in the canyon.

Additional notes about this tour and more information:

* We will meet at Madison Square & Garden Cafe, located at 320 N.Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651. We invite you to arrive earlier for breakfast. Here is more from their website on the menu.

* Light refreshments will be served at Madison Square & Garden Cafe and Sue Greenwood Fine Art (SGFA).

* This is a walking tour. Wear comfortable shoes.

* If this is your first time to Laguna, please feel free to contact Cindy for tips on directions, overnight hotel discount options and additional itinerary items that can be added to your visit including the Sawdust Winter Festival and private artist studio visits along with restaurant recommendations and whatever else you might be seeking for your adventure in Laguna Beach. Her email address is here. 


We will hear about the Laguna Canyon Christmas Festival that occurred on December 25, 1970. Photo by Mark Chamberlain

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The work of Marlo Bartels, will be seen along the route in numerous locations.


Madison Square & Garden Cafe will be where we begin the tour.

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Madison Square & Garden Cafe patio .

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The new mural by well-known UK street artist Ben Eine will be seen while in Laguna.


Preview of work by Dave Lefner, who we will be meeting at Sue Greenwood Fine Art.

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Preview of work we will view at Sue Greenwood Fine Art by Jason Kowalski


Preview of the work we will be viewing at Laguna Art Museum for “The Canyon Project: :”

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We will meet Mark Chamberlain, activist and artist for the current show “The Canyon Project” at LAM.