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Laguna Playhouse Accepts Donated Artwork by Festival of Arts Founder

Matt and Mary Lawson donated painter Virginia Woolley’s still life for a fundraising auction.

Submitted by the Laguna Playhouse:

Laguna Beach residents Matt and Mary Lawson have donated a still life oil painting by one of Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts founders, Virginia Woolley, who lived and painted in Laguna Beach from 1923 to 1971.

The 20” x 16” piece, entitled “Fruit Still Life,” boasts vibrant colors and a beautiful gold, wood frame.

“After a year and a half of engagement with The Laguna Playhouse, my wife Mary, and I, have become devotees of the Laguna Playhouse,” said Matt Lawson who is a member of the non-profits' Players Club. "We have come to enjoy both the performances and social opportunities that the Playhouse has brought to us and are delighted that we can help this special Laguna arts institution with an opportunity to raise funds for their good work.”

Virginia Woolley was born in Selma, Alabama on Aug. 27, 1884. Having grown up in Atlanta, Woolley chose a career in art and moved to Chicago in 1904 to study at the AIC under Freer and Vanderpoel. From there, she continued her art studies for three years in Paris with Jacques Blanche, Lucien Simon, and Richard Miller. While in Paris, she sketched throughout the countryside and exhibited at the Paris Salon. After returning to Atlanta, she taught art at Woodbury School.

Having visited Laguna Beach years before by means of stagecoach, she decided to make the community her home in 1923. Woolley taught adult outdoor classes and gave free lessons to children at the Art Gallery where she was curator. She was a founder of the Festival of Arts and active in Laguna until her death on Feb. 15, 1971.

“Matt and Mary Lawson are such delightful friends and great supporters of the Playhouse — and we so appreciate their creativity in providing this new opportunity for us.”

According to Elizabeth Pearson, Development Director of the Playhouse, “This gift is just one of the dozens of examples of the generosity of our patrons. We look forward to offering this piece through the online auction program we have established for these types of donations.”

Anyone who wishes to see the piece in person may contact Elizabeth Pearson at 949/497-2787, ext. 216 – and/or may see a close-up photo and bid on it (with bidding starting at $2,000) -- at www.biddingforgood.com/lbpyt.

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