Category Archives: Venice Beach Art

These posts are about the art, artists, and gallery events Venice Beach California is known for!

Join the Venice Art Crawl Thursday

The Venice Art Crawl kicks off another festive evening of art, entertainment, and culture on Thursday, June 18 when artists and performers team up with local businesses in a celebration of art and community throughout the streets of Venice.

Numerous businesses and Venice restaurants will be taking part in the event, such as: Danny’s Venice, Hama Sushi, Canal Club, The Venice Whaler, The Terrace, The Sidewalk Café and James’ Beach.

2015 marks Venice Art Crawl’s 5th year in the beachside community. The VAC is now part of the Venice Chamber of Commerce and wants to share, inspire and promote collaboration within Venice through mixers and art events hosted by local businesses and artists’ studios.Venice Art Crawl

“The VAC’s goal is to foster and reinvigorate the creativity that has historically made Venice such a vibrant and dynamic community.” says Lauren Harrison, one of the event organizers.

The Venice Art Crawl happens four times a year on the third Thursday of the quarter months. For 2015 the next dates are -June 18, September 17 and December 17.

The VAC is always looking for artists, venues, sponsors, volunteers, art lovers, and art buyers. For more information about joining the crawl visit their website.

VAC maps will be available at Danny’s Venice Restaurant, 23 Windward Ave., Venice.

To save a tree,  download the “official” Venice Art Crawl Boardwalk App here.

Post VAC photos with #VeniceArtCrawl

VAC_June 18

Venice Arts Student Receives Warner Bros. Honorship

Wednesday June 10, 2015 11:59am
Venice Arts Advanced Studies student Rocio Padilla has been formally awarded one of the Warner Bros. Entertainment Reach Honorships for 2015.Rocio Oshima_Animation Overload-wk6_27
Padilla has taken several classes at Venice Arts, developing her skills in photography, film, and animation. Her most recent workshop culminated in “View Masters,” a composite short of all participating students’ animations, and is available to view on the Venice Arts’ YouTube channel.
The honorship, which is both an internship and a scholarship, is a four-year program giving recipients guaranteed internships within the company beginning the summer after they graduate high school, and ending the summer before their senior year.
Padilla is the second student from Venice Arts to win the Reach Honorship. Genevieve Ward, a recent graduate of Reed College, was named a recipient in 2011.
Always an active student, Padilla’s extracurriculars did not end at Venice Arts. She has served as an ambassador for Girls Inc., a non-profit aimed at empowering young women; a member of the Finance Academy; a member of the National Society of High School Scholars since her freshman year; and the president and founder of her high school’s Art Club. She hopes to pursue a career as a creative director for film, animation or television.
“If you work hard toward your dreams, it will happen,” says Padilla. “And don’t be afraid to scream when it does.”
Since 2005, Warner Bros. has awarded internship-scholarship packages, known as Reach Honorships, to graduating high school seniors who are passionate about the business of entertainment.
Now in its twenty-second year, Venice Arts is a nonprofit arts organization that is committed to providing high-impact arts education for low-income youth in the areas of photography, filmmaking, and multimedia, and serving as a local and global hub for community storytelling through media. In addition to its core Art Mentoring & Education Program, Venice Arts implements regional, statewide, and international Documentary Programs with both adults and children; presents exhibitions, public programs, and workshops for adults centered around documentary photography and film; and consults on media arts, visual storytelling, and arts education locally and internationally. It is the philosophy of Venice Arts that self-expression, particularly through the arts, has the potential to transform and empower young people to see greater possibilities for themselves and for their communities.

SPARC’s Durón Gallery Exhibit On Oaxaca Charged With Emotion

Juana Martinez.
Juana Martinez.

It’s approaching 2 am. Juana Martinez’s flight from Mexico arrived at LAX hours ago. Her crisp new passport is in the hands of a doubtful homeland security agent. One can’t blame her skepticism. She knows the tell tale signs of a fake passport. Martinez has never traveled to the United States, her passport issued only two days prior contains nothing but stiff new pages and a freshly printed visa.

A visa she has earned through her work as an artist. Her visa grants her 20 days in the United States and she comes here as one of 19 featured artists in SPARC’s latest exhibition “New Codex: Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory.”

Waiting, anxious, on the other side in the LAX arrivals area is Martinez’s son. For him this is like that last, almost unbearable moment, just before you break the water’s surface as you swim up for air. He has not seen his mother in a decade.

“We were very poor, there was nothing and I was the man of the family so there was no choice. I had to go,” he said.

Like so many before him and since, Martinez’s son made the treacherous border crossing. He was only 13 years old.

“There was no water or food and we were in the desert for five days,” he said. “I was so scared. I thought I was going to die; I was so thirsty. I would ask for water and the people bringing us across told me to be quiet. They threatened to leave me in the desert. One man died. I still have nightmares about it.”

With more than one million Oaxacans having immigrated to the United States, the exhibit looks at the impact of immigration on those left behind: those who are often unable to see loved ones, husbands, mothers, and children for many years.

The opening night of SPARC’s latest exhibit was charged with emotion.

Martinez spoke about her art, works inspired by years spent mourning the loss of her son and the hardships faced in her town, San Francisco Tanivet in Oaxaca.

As she speaks her son breaks through the crowd and, tears streaming down his face, throws himself into his mother’s arms. There is not one dry eye in SPARC’s Durón Gallery.

“It’s very emotional,” said Martinez’s son, eyes red from crying. “I haven’t seen her in 10 years.”

He begins to tear up again as he squeezes his mother close trying to close the gap on the missing years.

Exhibit curator Marietta Bernstorff said there’s a lot of issues that society doesn’t talk about.

“It’s not just the struggle of crossing the border but what you leave behind and what you create on this side,” Bernstorff said. “What you leave behind is a culture, a home, children at a certain age, a wife or parent, and you expect them to be exactly the same when you return each time. If you return. Or if you wait 10 years, I mean, just imagine what that’s like. So psychologically a lot of these women had emotional issues and were not dealing with it well. They’re poor and, you know, they’re not going to therapy about it.”

The exhibit had its beginnings five years ago when Bernstorff traveled to Tanivet in Oaxaca.

She found a village in mourning.

“I met these women who don’t vote, who were at home all the time, and who’s children had a very limited education,” Bernstorff said. “They had no crafts and they had no understanding of the arts. For five years we taught them how to embroider, which we thought was a handy thing and that at least they’d end up with a skill of some sort. We showed them how to use color, concepts, techniques, and tell stories, personal stories as women. What’s your life like? What are you doing today? The farm the animals were obvious because that’s what they do, but then I asked, ‘What’s this other part about immigration that’s really difficult?’ and they began to tell their story about immigration. The loss of a husband, the loss of a child towards immigration. To talk to them on the phone but know you might never, ever, ever see them again.”

Bernstorff said the exhibit in itself is about immigration and cultural memory.

“We’re all immigrants, all of us come from somewhere else and cultural memory is something everybody should maintain in their brain,” she said. “To be just like everyone else sometimes isn’t the best thing.”

Now that five years have gone by, Bernstorff said these women are extremely creative.

“They’re very good at what they do, they have a talent, and people are wanting them in different shows,” Bernstorff said.

Debra J.T. Padilla is the Executive Director at SPARC. She said exhibit is “totally in line with the 40 year mission of SPARC. Which is to be a voice for the voiceless.”

The exhibit runs until Aug. 29 in SPARC’s Durón Gallery, located in the Old Venice Police Station at 685 Venice Blvd., Venice. For more information, visit

40+ Artists To Take Part In Venice ArtBlock this Sunday, June 7

The Venice ArtBlock returns bigger and better this Sunday, June 7, with more than 40 artists from about two dozen galleries opening up their doors to the public from 11 am to 6 pm.

Venice artists are perhaps some of the most fiercely independent, eclectic, colorful, and inspiring people you might find anywhere in the world.

They have finally organized themselves into a coherent group with the singular purpose of celebrating the products and processes of the highly creative mind.

Venice artists began to meet on a regular basis, eventually forming an artist-run collective, Venice ArtBlock.

The group gradually expanded studio by studio to include painters, sculptors, ceramicists, glass artists, street artists, conceptual artists, and photographers focused on creating inspiring, interactive studio events in Venice.

The artist-run Venice ArtBlock Open Studios Tour is completely free and open to the public – this year is set to be the most creative yet.

“This is a long overdue program for all Venice artists to be able to expose their work to our community, to meet each other, and create a more intimate community for all Venice artists,” said Emily Winters, Venice Arts Council co-founder. “It is a unique opportunity to experience local artists creative environments and personal work, allowing the public to see art where it’s made, and to meet and talk to the artists in an informal setting, developing relationships and discovering great local art.”

As Sandy Bleifer of the ArtBlock, says, “Venice has always been such a community with its high tolerance for diversity of origins, ethnicity, ideology, and expressions.”

Pick up a route map on Fourth St. and
Sunset Ave. or print it off online at

Opening Today – ‘New Codex: Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory’

Saturday 23rd May, 2015 11:44am

SPARC’s latest exhibition ‘New Codex: Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory’ begins today.

A special opening reception will run from 4:00pm-8:00pm  in SPARC’s Durón Gallery located in the Old Venice Police Station at 685 Venice Blvd., Venice.

The exhibit curated by Marietta Bernstorff, illuminates the contemporary visual discourse of Oaxaca and explores the impact of immigration to the United States.

With over one million Oaxacans having immigrated to the United States, the exhibit looks at the impact on those left behind who are often unable to see loved ones, husbands, and children for many years.

For many of the artists the exhibit has not only been an opportunity to explore otherwise suppressed emotions around loss of family and the hardships faced in their small town of San Francisco Tanivet,  but it has also been an opportunity to be granted a visa to visit the United States. For some this meant being able to reunite with loved ones they had not seen in as many as 10 years.

“This exhibition is totally in line with the 40 year mission of SPARC. Which is to be a voice for the voiceless” says Debra J.T. Padilla Executive Director at SPARC

Food for the evening will be provided by Oaxacan Restaurant La Guelaguetza and beer and wine is by donation. All proceeds go towards SPARC’s Mural Program.