Even longtime locals might not know the hidden wonders behind the steel door on Forest Avenue. Look closely as you pass the Candy Baron. Sandwiched between the historic sweet shop and Violet Boutique lies the entrance to one of Laguna’s unintendedly best-kept secrets.
When Laguna Beach legend, and co-founder of BC Space, Mark Chamberlain passed away in 2018, the fate of 235 Forest Ave remained uncertain. Chamberlain’s gallery was a town treasure, hosting photography exhibits, film showings, poetry readings, concerts, solstice celebrations, and other artistic events for 45 years. What would happen to the iconic space after he died?
Enter Rick Conkey. Known around town as the beloved Laguna Beach High School tennis coach, Conkey is also an avid music fan, and an enormous supporter of the arts. He swooped in to save the space, transforming it into the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) and expanding its offerings to include a wider array of arts. Today, the LBCAC has something going on nearly every night.