Sawdust glass and mixed media artist Michele Taylor, and former Sawdust artist Gerard Stripling won “Artist of the Year” at the Laguna Beach Alliance of the Arts’ Art Star Awards on Sunday night. The ninth annual Art Star Awards were held at [seven-degrees], next door to the Sawdust.
Tom Klingenmeier, general manager of the Sawdust, announced the nominees and presented the award to Taylor and Stripling, who were nominated together. The two have collaborated on several public artworks, including a bench embellished with limestone and resin in front of the Susi Q Senior Center, and a fallen police memorial outside the Laguna Beach Police Department.
Taylor and Stripling received a one-of-a-kind trophy sculpted by local artist Louis Longi.
The other nominees in the “Artist of the Year” category were Carla Meberg and Terry Thornsley, also a former Sawdust Art Festival artist.
Awards went to individuals and organizations in seven total categories. Sunset Serenades & Music in the Park (City of Laguna Beach) won “Best Arts Program”; Ilona Martin won “Individual Arts Patron of the Year”; the Ritz-Carlton of Laguna Niguel won “Corporate Arts Patron of the Year”; The Sock Thief (Laguna College of Art + Design and Laguna Concert Band) won “Outstanding Arts Collaboration”; Fred Sattler won “Arts Leadership”; and Carol Reynolds won a lifetime achievement award.
TV star Joe Mantegna (of “Criminal Minds”) was the keynote speaker.
Congratulations to Michelle, Gerard and all the nominees and winners Sunday night!