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And the Winning Word is ... Wonder

Unveiled in a Saturday ceremony, the word will be the theme for a new mural to replace the one destroyed last year on the wall of Laguna Canyon Winery.

BY TRISTAN SCHLOTZ

Wonder is the word.

Students and instructors at the on Saturday unveiled the one-word inspiration for a mural they will paint on the wall of the to replace the one destroyed at that location last year.

Local artist Mia Tavonatti set up a community-wide election in cooperation with the city of Laguna Beach and LCAD to pick one word that most accurately described Laguna Beach. Over 1,100 words were nominated and voted on, and last week, Tavonatti and her students at LCAD discovered "Wonder" was the winner. “Compassion” was a close second.

“I'm pretty happy with wonder,” says student Stephen Cartolano. “There were some other words that were a little sappy.”

Cartolano and nine other LCAD students will design and construct the mural. The finished piece might have several small scenes broken up by a mixture of large and small shapes. It will feature references to the lost original mural, and will include depictions of several people.

“The mural should be pretty realistic,” says Cartolano. “We were talking in class today about having figures in the foreground that look almost real.”

Wonder was celebrated Saturday with a colorful chalk drawing of the word on the blank wall where the mural will be. Several people gave speeches to inaugurate the project in the parking lot next to the mural site.

Tavonatti spoke first, introducing LCAD president Jonathan Burke, Mayor Jane Egly, and State Senator Curren Price (D-Los Angeles). She thanked everyone who participated in voting for her Power of Words Project.

“This project is very close to my heart,” says Tavonatti. “The Power of Words Project is going to engage everybody and will involve the community in the creative process.”

Everyone agreed that Wonder was a rich and valuable image on which to base the project. Tavonatti was given a certificate of recognition by Senator Price for organizing the project. According to Price, the mural would help unite the Laguna Beach community.

“Community makes art come alive,” says Price. “The creation of art engages the community at all levels. This project empowers the community.”

People at the event were glad to see work start on the new mural. Though many had voted for other words, all were excited about the project. Danielle Wilson commented that this new mural would help represent a new face to passersby.

“I voted for Serendipity,” says Wilson, “but I'm excited about Wonder. The new mural will be an update for Laguna Beach with a newer, more contemporary design for the community.”

Tavonatti and her students have already begun work on the mural by drafting some initial concepts. Tavonatti will have no direct input on the final design, but will help critique the students' work. The students will offer individual concepts to a panel of judges from the community this month. The designs chosen by judges will be presented to the Laguna Beach Arts Commission, which will vote on the final image for the mural.

Tavonatti announced at the event that other murals for the Power of Words Project had been started in Detroit, New Orleans and Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Laguna Canyon mural should be completed by the end of the year.

After the event, a reception was held across the street at LCAD.

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