Katie Schmid (Coastline Pilot / August 19, 2010)

Mad Hatter party for human rights

A group of Laguna businesses and residents will take part in the Orange County Chapter of Human Rights Campaign's Mad Hatter Garden Party at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at a Newport Coast estate, with Lorna Luft and Greg Louganis in attendance.

Laguna residents and HRC Federal Club co-chairs Dave Gibson and Catherine Reid, who will oversee the festivities, have invited Mark DePalma, owner of Mark's Restaurant, to provide a sunset dinner.

"I'm excited about our Mad Hatter theme," Gibson said. "Both conventional and creative types can participate"

Prizes will be awarded for best political, best garden, grandest, and best team hats. Ruben Flores, owner of Laguna Nursery, will create a surreal setting by installing 25 towering flower sculptures throughout the hilltop property.

Laguna Beach artist and auctioneer Mike Tauber will kick off the live auction with a pair of DaVinci Level passes, valued at $350 each, to the Festival of Arts Gala on Aug. 28. Winners will enjoy a VIP dinner and Pageant performance, hosted by Extra TV host Mario Lopez.

Also auctioned will be memberships to Laguna Health Club, gifts from Bushard's Pharmacy, shopping sprees at Mitchell Gold/Bob Williams interiors, local yacht excursions and flights on American Airlines.

Certificates to local restaurants include Zinc Café, French 75, Sundried Tomato, Watermarc, Sapphire Laguna and Mozambique.

A grand prize opportunity drawing includes VIP tickets to a Cher concert, two nights at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and dinner for two in a Caesars Palace restaurant.

Louganis will join HRC field director Marty Rouse to speak on the work of HRC, whose mission is to achieve equal civil rights for gay and lesbian citizens and their families.

Tickets are $75, and can be purchased at the door. For more information, visit http://www.HRC.org/gardenparty and click on "attend events."

LCAD presents California impressionism

Laguna College of Art & Design will present a collection of masterpieces of early California impressionists on loan from the Irvine Museum from Monday through Sept. 26 at the college gallery, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

"Today, with the renaissance of the glorification of nature in art, that spirit is motivating enlightened people in the same way it energized artists of nearly a hundred years ago," said Joan Irvine Smith, president of the Museum. "The common bond is the deep reverence for nature, and the common goal is to preserve our environment, and no statement is more eloquent than the silent testament of these elegant paintings.

"Each generation, in its turn, is the steward of the land, water and air. Our time is now. I sincerely hope that the message this exhibition imparts will inspire us all to action in this most pressing obligation."

The free exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Alumna's painting at the Vatican

A painting by Laguna College of Art and Design alumna Katie Schmid is currently on display at the Vatican.

A patron of Schmid's gave her work, entitled "Monsignor Herron," as a gift to Archbishop James Harvey, the prefect of the papal household. The work is a posthumous oil on panel of the late Monsignor Herron.

An image of the painting was also given to Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his birthday, as he and Herron were close friends.

Pope Benedict is expected to personally view Schmid's painting this summer after the apartment's renovations are completed. The painting itself is currently located just one floor below Pope Benedict's residence at the Vatican.

"I was filled with a great joy and thankfulness," Schmid said upon hearing the news about her painting's current whereabouts.

Though the artist had never met Monsignor Herron, her painting's subject, she said she holds great admiration for him.

"I always strive to bring the life of the subject into the place of the picture, and I hope this was accomplished in this past work."

Schmid earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, in 2007. Although a naturalist in her approach, her work touches upon both symbolism and realistic aspects of life.

Of the many periods she studied, she said the High Renaissance left the deepest impression. Michelangelo, Francisco Zurbaran and Abbott Thayer are among a few of her inspirations. Schmid works from her studio in Southern California, but her work can be found in public and private collections across the United States and Europe.