SOURCE: Festival of Arts

August 08, 2011 20:11 ET

Love Blossoms at the Festival of Arts: Art Provides the Medium for Marriage Proposals as the Summer Art Season Turns Into the Season of Love

LAGUNA BEACH, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 8, 2011) - 2011 has proven to be the "Summer of Love" at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts / Pageant of the Masters. Two couples, totally unrelated, got engaged on Saturday night, both through commissioned art created by Festival of Arts exhibiting artists!

Andrew Shen and his girlfriend Crystal Paul have been attending the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters together ever since they began dating four years ago, but Saturday night will forever be the most memorable of their visits.

"We have been together for a while, so I had to do something really special," said Andrew. Knowing he wanted to incorporate the Festival of Arts, he commissioned painter Elizabeth McGhee to paint an image of himself on his knee in front of Crystal, at Elizabeth's booth. Before they attended a performance of the Pageant of the Masters production of "Only Make Believe," their own dreams came true when they strolled by Elizabeth's booth and Crystal saw the painting. Andrew got down on his knee, life quite literally imitating art, and Crystal agreed to spend the rest of her life with him.

"I looked at the painting and thought, 'Hey! That's us!'" said Crystal, who was beside herself as dozens of friends and family (who had been waiting in the wings, trying to be inconspicuous) swarmed the happy couple.

According to Patrick Moss, his girlfriend Sophia Phan (also of four years) has a classy and sophisticated approach to life, which in his mind the Festival of Arts reflects. He wanted to do something dramatic and romantic in his proposal to marry her, so he took Sophia to see the Pageant of the Masters for the very first time and afterward made a point of seeing just one more artist's booth before their night was over. At the booth of fine art photographer Barbara White, Sophia saw a photograph of Patrick on his knee, only to turn and see him on his knee.

"I'm in shock!" said Sophia. She also said yes.

And the Festival of Arts has its own love story. Festival employee Nan Fisher grew up with Mike Kortge; they graduated kindergarten, junior high and high school together. After decades leading separate lives, they reunited earlier this year and fell madly in love. On July 24th, they were walking the Festival together and Mike found the perfect sapphire ring by fine jewelry artist Lance Heck, who was present. On the spur of the moment, Mike hit his knee and asked her to marry him, Lance's design in hand.

"It was the most magical moment," said Nan. Both in their sixties, Mike has a charming take on the future with his fiancée: "We're going to be together for at least thirty years -- if longer, I'll buy an extended warranty."

"These proposals are unprecedented occasions for artists Elizabeth McGhee, Barbara White and Lance Heck," said Sharbie Higuchi, director of marketing and PR for the Festival of Arts. "The artists and the staff here at the Festival of Arts all feel honored to be a part of these couples' special moments. We wish them all the happiness in the world!"

The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization that produces The Festival of Arts-California's Premier Fine Art Show and the Pageant of the Masters-Where Art Comes to Life. For general information, call 949-494-1145 or visit the website at The event is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California. Proceeds support the arts and art education in and about Laguna Beach.

Additional photos available upon request.

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Sharbie Higuchi
    Director of Marketing and Public Relations

    Festival of Arts
    650 Laguna Canyon Road
    Laguna Beach, CA 92651