Thousands of people will converge on the Malibu Civic Center this Saturday and Sunday for the 45th Annual Malibu Arts Festival.  More than 200 painters, sculptors, craftsmen and other artists will be showcasing their work in what organizers say will be a new and improved event featuring a little something for everyone.

After criticism last year over attendance and accessibility, the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the long-running festival, said there will be some “forward thinking” changes that it claims will increase recognition and foot traffic.

The Chamber surveyed a targeted focus group of artists, vendors and residents to gain insight on the pulse of the festival and improvements. 

Chamber CEO Mark Persson spoke with The Malibu Times and said a new design element will now be included featuring architecture and graphics.  There will also be a section featuring clothing design with a runway for fashion shows.  

“At the arts education village, folks can learn about turning their art into a business.  Perhaps your passions would end up in a gallery someday,” Persson said.

This year, the festival is trying something new by creating seven “villages” that will each focus on a different area of the arts, including jewelry, home crafts, photography, painting and stations where visitors can experience, as Persson calls it, “art in action” — where art is made on site.  Children will have a dedicated area to explore as well.  

New to the festival is also a health and wellness area with a crystal lounge that, in Persson’s words, is “not to be missed.” 

Malibu resident Lenise Soren of SorenityRocksMalibu that sells crystal jewelry and art pieces will be holding interactive events in the lounge where participants can sit, stand or, on large crystals and experience healing sessions. World musicians will play sacred instruments including crystal singing-bowls, gongs, drums and harmonium.

There will be, of course, food trucks, live music on the upper courtyard stage and local actors from adult and children’s theater groups to perform and pay homage to the arts in general, all while keeping an emphasis on local artists and their work.

Among the artists is a local who has shown at the festival before. This time, she will return with her own booth after a prolific year of painting. 

Dr. Daniela Schweitzer spends just about as much time in front of an easel as she does treating patients at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. As a pediatric geneticist, Schweitzer treats patients with facial congenital anomalies. 

“I have always been curious about what is going on around me,” Schweitzer said. “I paint with emotion. I think that’s what took me to medicine, even the subspecialty, genetics — how we are made.”

She said curiosity in how the human being works and interacts is the motivation for her art and her practice of medicine.

“I don’t just paint what I see — a pretty woman in a pretty dress.  I paint the gesture, what is happening in that moment,” Schweitzer said.

Because of her work seeing patients with facial malformations, Schweitzer chooses not to place any importance on facial features and does not include faces in her paintings.

“I see a big variation of faces. I do not think they are important. In my painting, I like to express the rest of my feelings toward a human gesture or action or activity and emotion.”  

Schweitzer’s paintings have been exhibited in roughly 50 gallery showings throughout Malibu and Southern California.  She’s been active in Malibu Artists Unite, the Malibu Arts Association and Arts Angels at Malibu High School.

You can meet the artist Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and July 31, from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.

The Optimist Club will hold a pancake breakfast on site at 8 a.m.

There is free and paid parking. Festival admission is free.

(1) comment

Lois Lyons

The Arts festival would get a far better turnout if all parking were free. Free parking near the venue is extremely limited. As long as the city insists on parking being a money-maker, there will always be fewer people attending any gathering.

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