Arts festival lauded as success

Actress and local artist Sally Kirkland shows off one of her signature art pieces during the 33rd Annual Malibu Arts Festival on Saturday on Civic Center Way.

The event attracted artists from throughout Los Angeles County and around the country.

By Ryan O’Quinn/Special to The Malibu Times

The sponsors, exhibitors and attendees of the 33rd Annual Malibu Arts Festival and Food Fair at the Civic Center area this weekend deemed the event as one of the biggest and best in recent years.

The popular summer event began as a community gathering of artists who wanted to display their works, and has continued to grow each year. This year most of the available spaces were reserved well in advance.

“We had to stop [exhibitors] from coming in,” said Pam Brady, Board of Directors vice president of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce. “There has been a continuous flow of people coming in to the festival all weekend.”

The two-day event attracted artists from throughout Los Angeles Councy and around the country. One exhibitor made the trek from Brooklyn, New York to be part of the festival.

According to the final figures, there were 207 vendor booths this year, with a special emphasis on new events for children.

“We had many returning artists this year,” said Tina Firestone, the Chamber’s executive vice president. “We had applications from 140 new artists, but only accepted 54. The turnout is great, the parking lot is at capacity and it’s a beautiful day.”

Some of the changes to this year’s fair were the addition of a clown for the kids, an inflatable bouncer, new food vendors and various stations of music as opposed to a center stage area.

Also different this year was the lack of an honorary chairperson. However, actress Sally Kirkland, who has served as celebrity chairperson in the past, displayed her art at a popular exhibitor’s booth.

Kirkland, a Malibu resident, has been painting since the age of 10 and showing her art since she was 17. Kirkland said she was trying something new with this festival and was selling some prints of her work in addition to the originals.

“I love the Malibu festival because everyone is so nice here,” Kirkland said. “It’s nice to sell, but it’s also communal and tribal. I’ve seen people here I haven’t seen in twenty years.”

Kirkland moved to Malibu from New York City and said Malibu is a major influence on her artwork.

“I honestly think everyone should come spend time here. It’s healing,” she said. “I get to meet terrific people here who end up staying in my life. Malibu is paradise.”

Some of the weekend’s highlights were the traditional pancake breakfast provided by the Malibu Optimist Club, plenty of eats from hot dogs to Thai cuisine and a performance by the Malibu High Symphony. The festival was free to all attendees.