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Festival of Arts Acquires Two New Artworks to its Permanent Art Collection

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Culture OC. The information provided has been written by the submitting organization and not by the writers at Culture OC. We include this on our site in the spirit of sharing information about the arts and culture community in Orange County.


The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of two new pieces from talented, longtime Festival exhibiting artists to its Permanent Art Collection. Artwork from Kirsten Whalen and Dennis Dunton will join the over 1,000 two-dimensional and three-dimensional works featured within the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection, some dating back to the early 1900’s.

"We’re thrilled to expand our permanent art collection with Kirsten’s and Dennis’ work," said Festival of Arts Exhibits Director Christine Georgantas. "They bring fresh perspectives and creativity, enriching the tapestry of the Festival's collection."

Housing over one thousand diverse and eclectic pieces, the Permanent Art Collection is valued for its cultural and historical significance in relation to the art, culture, and ability to tell the story of the birth of the Festival and local art scene. The Permanent Art Collection showcases how the Festival became a major influence in the art world of Southern California, and many deem the collection a time capsule of art from the last century.

The recent additions, now finding their permanent home amidst the Festival's treasured collection, include two extraordinary artwork: Dennis Dunton's 2021 black and white photograph, "The Giant Cow Beside the Road," and Kirsten Whalen's 2022 watercolor painting, "Once Upon Another Time."

Kirsten Whalen's painting, "Once Upon Another Time," has captured the attention of the Festival and art enthusiasts with its evocative and timeless quality. A native Californian, Kirsten was born and raised in Sacramento. She holds degrees in Design from University of California, Davis, and Fine Art Drawing and Painting from Laguna College of Art + Design. After several years working as a graphic designer in publishing, she refocused her creative efforts on fine art, working in watercolor and mixed media. Her background in the graphic arts is still evident in her work, in which she combines a keen eye for composition with deft touches of humor. Kirsten has been a regular exhibitor at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach since 2008, and an Artist Member of the California Arts Club.

Like Whalen, Dennis Dutton is a long-time exhibitor at the Festival for over 24 years, beginning in 1999. Growing up in Orange County, Dennis received a AA Degree in Technical Illustration/Drafting from Fullerton College and a BA Degree in Graphic Arts from California State University Long Beach. He later went on to receive his Masters Degree in Education from Pepperdine University. For over thirty years, Dennis taught photography at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, CA before retiring in 2003. Focusing on black and white photography, his images often evoke his sense of humor and irony, drawing attention to both place and feeling. Dennis Dunton's photograph, "The Giant Cow Beside the Road," has been celebrated for its powerful composition and narrative depth.

These artworks will join the historic pieces included in the Permanent Art Collection, adding their own influence on the art world of Southern California and the Festival of Arts. The Festival’s Collection are presented in themed exhibits at foaSOUTH and loaned out to museums and institutions for specific exhibitions.

To learn more about the Festival of Arts, and the Permanent Art Collection visit


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