What’s Missing From Laguna’s Cultural Arts Plan?

Dear Patron of the Arts.


The Laguna Beach Cultural Plan currently misses three major components that are essential to make the arts work for Laguna and revive its cultural relevance.
First, establishing a clear Voice of what differentiates Laguna Beach from all the other art cities and art districts.  A digital strategy of how to best represent Laguna Beach Arts on the web and in the digital world. Here, the proposed multi-purpose cultural facility could additionally act as digital terminal, content-production facility and as uplink of cultural content to support Laguna Beach’s web presence. Thirdly, a communication model consisting of a central mobile phone app linked to a website as interface for collaboration with existing local radio/TV and print. This model increases convenience of choosing and delivering the right programming to the right audience at the right time. This app also allows real time tracking of Laguna’s cultural content providers’ relevance and helps to keep art programming up to date.

1. Laguna Beach’s Cultural Voice?  Why is a clear Voice so important? Technology and digitization have sped up most of our lives resulting in unclear direction and an unforeseeable future. To stay on track, Laguna needs to establish who or what we are and how the City matters, or it risks diminishing its message/branding. Know thyself is more important than ever.  Laguna needs to make a choice about having cultural relevance or stay content being an affluent beach community and tourist destination with art? To avoid such a generic image hold off thinking about new ideas and instead follow the organic flow of image integration. Establishing a clear vision, followed by an executable function, followed by a fitting form. To establish a clear vision is the most thought intensive and intricate work. When done right it can act like a turbo charger, where function and form fall into place. If done haphazardly, the function will show major problems and the form will be unclear like a movie that does not make sense. A clear cultural Voice is essential to build a sustainable function to be on purpose to find content of various art forms that reflect the overall vibe of the City.

2. Digital Strategy Blueprint: Today, No business works without a digital interface. Since Real estate for artists housing is becoming increasingly limited due to Laguna’s high property values, digital real estate is cheap and unlimited. The advantage of a strong digital web platform would allow Laguna Beach not only to be a physical space for the arts, but also matter and be relevant as a well sought-after art-content destination on the worldwide web. Laguna would profit from a 24/7 hour “All Arts All The Time” pipeline to the web. Searchable by date and genre with a Live stream of what’s going on in California’s City of Arts. Artists, art organisations and stakeholders can feed into the system allowing bread crumbing audiences to the world’s famous artists community. The bigger Laguna gets on the web, the stronger the branding and cross promotion and the better for everyone.


3. A Communication Model: Convenience has become a key decision factor to engage or not. Traffic and parking is Laguna’s number one challenge. As the draft of Laguna’s Cultural Plan points out, people still want more art opportunities and thus looking for them outside of Laguna’s city limits. One of the reasons people look for art outside is that like in most cities, citizens are not aware what is offered at home. With today’s technology, a mobile app would allow Laguna Beach to have a complete central source that lists all events, galleries and other cultural activities and remind the audience about upcoming events on time. (more details of Laguna’s mobile app click here) Due to its size, Laguna Beach could be easily served with one central information source for all cultural, hospitality and recreational activities. This cultural mobile app can be part of Visit Laguna Beach’s app and linked and part of a Visit Laguna Beach website. Use social media campaigns to link audiences to website, app and stakeholders. I have proposed this app over a year ago and it is more relevant than ever.


In 2015, I have been asked by Peter Blake of Peter Blake Gallery, Robert Holton of Drizzle Gallery, Michael Roy of LGOCA, and many others to look into the Laguna Beach Art Business and give them my assessment. Michaell Magrutsche is an Austrian-Californian multimedia artist, creative consultant, art educator and former Cultural Arts Commissioner of Newport Beach living in Laguna Beach.

Other Related Articles:

Where Is Laguna’s Cultural Relevance?
Laguna Beach Digital Cultural Strategy
Spending Money On Art Without Direction Helps No One
Draft Laguna Beach Cultural Plan & Appendix