Festival of Arts also puts on special benefit events such as the reclaimed, reused or recycled materials Fashion Show, Celebrity Benefit Concerts that include Red Carpet arrivals.
In this interview, she discusses how her career started with POM, her challenges, favorite experience and her words of advice for those who want a career in Public Relations especially in the arts. Sharbie: I am definitely one of those people who would have never predicted where my career would have ended up. It certainly was an unexpected path, I enjoyed the journey and I am so happy to be doing what I do at an organization that does so much good for the arts. As a side note and many years before I began working here: The Pageant of the Masters was one of the first dates that my now husband of 25 years took me on. Ruchel: Over the years working for POM what was one of the most stressful situations you encountered? Ruchel: What are the challenges of being the PR Director of one of the most anticipated art festivals in the world? Sharbie: There are many, but keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology and its impact on advertising and public relations is a big one. Sharbie: The Pageant’s theme is selected by the Pageant of the Masters Director Diane Challis Davy. Sharbie: Our Special Event Director Susan Davis selects the guest performer and negotiates the contract. Ruchel: What advice can you give for those who want a career in Public Relations especially in the arts? This amazing event takes place every summer at Laguna Beach’s outdoor, Irvine Bowl as part of Festival of Arts.

I’m honored to interview Sharbie Higuchi who has an impressive career in Public Relations and works as a Marketing and PR Director for Pageant of the Masters. Fortunately, the Festival remains in Laguna Beach today – for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Some standout moments have been … securing stories in New York Times Magazine, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” with Mike Rowe, The Wall Street Journal, and CBS Evening News.
When I first started it was a pretty simple formula focusing on a combination of PR, print, radio, television and direct mail. Believe it or not, I begin working on the collateral material for the following season before the current one is even over.
When working with a non-profit arts organization, it is important to be creative and multitask while recognizing and juggling deadlines.
With the growth of the internet and mobile platforms, relationship marketing has continued to evolve and move forward as technology opens more collaborative and social communication channels.
Some are fans of the Pageant of the Masters and look forward to attending every year, like the cast of “Criminal Minds.” Joe Mantegna comes every year with his family and has introduced many friends and fellow actors to the Pageant. Every night POM features re-creations of classical and contemporary artworks with live models imitating the original piece of art – world famous sculpture, paintings, and figurines. I have met so many incredible people – Neil Patrick Harris, Joe Mantegna, Steve Martin, Teri Hatcher, Mario Lopez, Angela Bassett, Marcia Gay Harden and many others. But my favorite experience was being in the show posing as a living statue. Leveraging these new marketing avenues is very important for attracting new audiences; however, it’s not always easy to keep up with the latest trends.
I am responsible for securing sponsors, public relations, marketing, advertising, promotions, branding, social media, development of all collateral, website and merchandise.

Also, I am always looking for innovative ways to market the Festival’s art show and to showcase our artists.
I love to multitask and develop new concepts and ideas that benefit the organization’s finances and outstanding reputation. In my opinion the key to a successful marketing campaign is based on a diverse promotional mix and knowing your market while growing new audiences. I am very fortunate to have a great team that supports me. I am passionate about relationship building and collaboration. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I worked three different jobs trying to figure it out.
I started in the graphics department and quickly moved my way up to Senior Account Executive. I had a boss who recognized my ability to develop marketing and advertising campaigns. All of my clients were travel and entertainment venues…. At the end of the day, my goal in working with other individuals and organizations is to bring value to everyone involved, and I’m never more satisfied than when I succeed in that.
I felt very comfortable with the marketing aspect of the job, but I was lacking the public relations experience.

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