Art: The art walk will run for several blocks on Montana this Saturday. Courtesy image

The annual Montana Avenue Art Walk is returning this year with more artists than ever, twice the amount of children’s activities and a full schedule of performances. The event, which is free and open to all, will take place along Montana Avenue between 7th and 17th Street this Saturday Sept. 24. 

Artist and Montana Avenue Art Walk Chair Anahid Boghosian said she is expecting over 60 artists, about half of which she said have previously participated in the event and the other half are first-timers. She said she hopes this year’s art walk helps to support these artists as well as Montana Avenue businesses, many of which are still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The street has been suffering since COVID and I think the art walk brings a lot of attention to the need,” she said.

She added that artists who make a living by selling their art have also been struggling due to the pandemic.

“We’re a luxury item,” she said. “During COVID I don’t think many people were thinking ‘oh let me decorate my hallway or my entry,’ so artists have been suffering.”

Boghosian said she thinks this has contributed to the increase in artists interested in participating in the event, which is one of the few art fairs in the LA area that doesn’t charge artists to have a spot. Additionally, she said they rarely turn artists away. 

“If you’re interested in expressing yourself, we’re happy to have you there because you’re putting yourself out there and we want to illustrate all kinds of art,’’ she said. “We have a fine oil painter, we have an acrylic abstract painter, we have a ceramicist and that makes it more fun.”

Performing artists are also a significant component of this year’s art walk and include individual signers, local bands, drummers and even a contortionist. 

Boghosian, a painter herself, will be teaming up with one of these artists, Italian singer Giovanna Gattuso, for a live-painting musical performance. Gattuso will sing as Boghosian paints on the spot, inspired by the music. 

In addition to performing, Gattuso said she is excited to see the work of other artists and be part of Santa Monica’s artistic community. 

“Just being in the middle of this art atmosphere with other artists – I can’t wait to see all of the artwork,” she said. 

Most artists will be displaying their work along the street, but some have partnered with local businesses and converted their spaces into temporary galleries, including the two Coldwell Banker locations on Montana Avenue. Boghosian said The Music Castle, a music school on the street, has been especially helpful and supportive throughout the planning process and will be hosting an open house on the day of the art walk. She said the event would not be possible without the support of the local businesses like these. 

“People have really gotten involved,” she said. “Something that would have cost us a lot to rent, like a PA system, they’ve given for much, much less – everybody has tried really hard.” 

More information about the event as well as a list of artists, performers and activities as well as a map can be found on their website: https://mdvdesign.wixsite.com/montana-art-walk-map

“There’s so much to see, there’s a lot of entertainment and it’s family friendly,” Boghosian said. “There’s lots of comfortable seating, eating places, places to grab coffee, see something different and maybe go home with a new treasure – it’s definitely a fun Santa Monica event.”

grace@smdp.com