Donations of artworks by 12 former exhibitors were added to the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection this year, highlighted by four original Paul Outerbridge photographs from the Laguna Art Museum.

Outerbridge was an exhibitor in the festival in the early 1950s, at the time the photographs were taken. Three of them are related to the festival and the Pageant of the Masters, but one is of special significance.

It is a portrait of Roy Ropp, who has been called the father of the Pageant of the Masters. In the background of the photograph is one of Ropp's paintings.

"But the story doesn't end here," festival Vice President Tom Lamb said.

The donation of the Ropp portrait was publicized in an article in the LAM Magazine. Michael Gosselin, who owned the Ropp painting depicted in the portrait, was quite surprised when he saw the article.

A local Realtor who was aware of Ropp's importance in the city's art history, Gosselin contacted the festival to ask if there was an interest in adding the painting, "Newport Fish Harbor," to the Permanent Art Collection.

"Without hesitation, we jumped at this amazing opportunity," Lamb told an audience of festival members who attended the annual meeting Wednesday night. "This donation holds a unique historic significance, as it links the art show and the pageant.

"It must be fate that the painting was donated as we wrap up the festival's 80th anniversary and begin celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Pageant of the Masters in 2013," Lamb continued. "We can't begin to thank Michael enough."

Festival Board President Fred Sattler presented Gosselin with four tickets to the 2013 pageant as a small token of appreciation.

The painting, which was recently conserved by Susan Brown, and the framed portrait of Outerbridge in front of the painting were displayed at the meeting and at the reception at Tivoli Terrace that followed.

"They most likely will forever hold, not only a special place within the collection, but be inseparable when exhibited," Lamb said.

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