Art and activism often go hand in hand and our Venice neighbors are hosting an event celebrating and contributing to both.
The Venice Family Clinic Art Walk returns for its 40th anniversary this weekend, an event that will feature studio tours, live music, a beer and wine garden, food trucks, hands-on art workshops, a family fun zone and more.
The crux of the Art Walk is a silent art auction that will showcase the works of over 200 artists. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Venice Family Clinic’s health care services at 12 locations as well as contribute to homeless outreach across Los Angeles.
“For 40 years, the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction has been so much more than just a fundraising effort,” Elizabeth Benson Forer, CEO of Venice Family Clinic said. “The Art Walk is an event for the community as well as its artists, many of whom have been contributing artwork to help support the Clinic since the beginning.”
Forer says established and new artists from across Southern California have offered their best pieces to the silent auction, with names including Laura Owens, Raymond Pettibon (of Black Flag fame), Ed Ruscha and longtime Art Walk stalwart Laddie John Dill.
Dill, a Venice-based light and space artist, has been with the ArtWalk for all of its 40 years, getting his initial invite from none other than Frank Gehry.
In its inaugural year, Dill says the Art Walk had maybe 20 artists or so, raising about $10-12 thousand for the clinic.
“That was successful for us, 40 years ago,” Dill said with a laugh. “We went ahead and did it the following year, allowing people in our studios, showing ‘em our stuff.”
Eventually, what began as a small event grew by leaps and bounds. Dill jokingly says the event went from How Do We Get People To This thing to How Do We Get In Our Friends Off The Wait List.
“That worked in a lot of good directions,” Dill said of the event’s growth. “The community became aware of the artists in Venice and we all became acquainted with each other. We all became a supportive community.”
Forer says that community support helped establish a sense of caring within the Clinic and Art Walk’s DNA — after artist support, physicians, nurses, students from UCLA and local colleges local high school students would pitch in and volunteer at the clinic.
“It’s an important event as it brings everyone together,” Forer said. “Collectors, interested in art and helping the clinic, volunteers interested in art and helping us and of course, the artists. It’s a unique mix.”
While Dill says he’s seen Venice radically change over the years, he says the Art Walk and the Venice Family Clinic’s mission has always remained the same — to look out for its intertwined community.
“It’s a serious event,” he says, noting he has seen firsthand how the funds raised from the clinic assist fellow artists with health problems.
“A lot of us don’t have health insurance. This thing has lasted for years, holding up against a lot of opposition. It attracts lower-income people, which I’m all for. Art is for everyone. I think Venice is in its final throes of what it was before, but this clinic and the Art Walk stand as monuments to that time.”
The Venice Family Art Walk takes place at Google Los Angeles from noon to 6 p.m. On Sunday, May 19. A VIP Art Auction Preview & Cocktail Reception will take place Saturday, May 18, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Google Los Angeles as well. For more information, visit https://theveniceartwalk.org/