Founded by artists and volunteers, the Venice Art Walk & Auctions held its 35th annual fundraiser for the Venice Family Clinic. The event raises funds to continue The Clinic’s mission of providing free quality health care for those who are lacking the income or the insurance to get proper healthcare. The Venice Art Walk & Auctions is their largest community fundraiser, raising over $600,000 in critical funds.
Before the pitched battle of The Affordable Care Act, the Venice Family Clinic stood alone as the model of a successful solution to the health care crisis for the underpriviledged. A former patient described to me their experience of the clinic at a time when they were between jobs.
"It's not like some public clinics where you are treated like a second class citizen or a problem" the prior patient states, "you're given every bit as much dignity as any paid clinic would give to their insured customers and possibly now as I am finding, more. Everybody, from the person at the front desk, to the nurse who escorts you in and takes your history, your doctor or registered nurse, to the pharmacist, who hands you your medication free of charge, are qualified, caring healthcare workers. I was able to be seen there for broken ribs, sinus infections and asthma (I couldn’t afford my inhaler). Though it sometimes took two to three hours a visit, it beat having to go to an emergency room"
This year the main event, located at Google’s Venice Headquarters celebrates more than four decades of quality health care for 24,000 men, women, and children in need across the Westside of Los Angeles. The highly anticipated 300+ piece art auction was installed in the lobby of the main building with a live band in their courtyard designed with orange trees, a hammock along with plenty of hang out areas for the attendees. Tickets provided access to private artist studio tours ongoing throughout the day offering a insight into their work and creative techniques.
Patients to the Venice Family Clinic typically make an average of four to five visits per year, for everything from prenatal care to immunizations to health education to chronic pain management. In addition, local hospitals rely on the Venice Family Clinic to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and readmissions. The Clinic itself was founded in 1970 and has grown to from a small storefront to eight sites in Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City. The amount of volunteers exceed 2100 each year including more than 500 physicians.
Laddie John Dill, an artist who has been participation since the inception of the Art Walk fundraiser 35 years ago understands the risks of not having health insurance when he slipped and fell once in his studio braking his ankle in 5 places and hospitals kept turning him away This was before the federal law was enacted to provide emergency care regardless of patients' ability to pay. Not only does he donate a current work to the auction each year but also donates a portion of his studio sales for that day only. He has stated “I have some people who only buy art that day,” he says. “Sometimes, I just have them make out their checks to Venice Family Clinic.”
Laddie's father was a lense designer and created what today we call nightvision lenses and he explains that this was an influence in some of his work. Crushing minerals and oxides with sulfur, pressurized between layers of glass formulates Laddie's incredibly colorful and other-worldly patterns. Influencing his newer pieces was the experience from working in etching for Jasper Johns with a mix of using retired airplane aluminum. Using a large machine polisher as a paintbrush he burnishes patterns into the metal.
One of the many works up for auction was a piece by former Los Angeles Art Association artist Richard Bruland, a 3-dimensional painting comprised of multiple layers of intense color and tiny patterns, created by sanding and overpainting while adding subtle tonal changes throughout the piece.
Part of the auction included on the walls of the Google showroom were photos of celebrities and by celebrity photographers including the one pictured below by Jeff Bridges who has taken fine art photos from a number of his movie sets including Iron Man and True Grit. Beside Bridges’ work there were fine art photos of Bono and The Edge as well as Andy Warhol.
For more information about the Venice Family Clinic and how you can get involved please visit their website www.venicefamilyclinic.org.