On May 15th from 11:00am – 6:00 pm, Venice artists celebrate community with a free studio art tour called the Venice ARTBLOCK. The event and organization calls attention to the vitality and importance of the arts in Venice and the diverse art district that is undergoing rapid change. The ARTBLOCK is funded in part by The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and with the help of Community Partners.
Sandy Bleifer will be showing her work as well as spreading the word about her latest project, an effort to bring PLACE, a national nonprofit, to Venice in order to explore the development of permanently affordable living and working spaces for Venice creatives. Their project in Ventura, WAV, is a landmark project in southern California, the country’s first sustainable arts community, providing affordable live/work homes for hundreds of artists and their families, along with permanent homes for families transitioning out of homelessness. “I am garnering support for the development of an affordable live work space for our artists (an art colony) in Venice,” explained Bleifer. A lifelong Venice resident, the artist has witnessed the affects that the gentrification of Venice has had on her fellow artists and has spearheaded this important cause. For more info, go to Sandy Bleifer’s website.
The Venice ARTBLOCK continues its partnership with the historic Venice cultural center, SPARC, (Social and Public Art Resource Center) that will participate in the May 15th event. Curator Marietta Bernstorff previously worked at SPARC in the 90s and recently returned to become the in house curator. “I think SPARC is one of the most important non-profits in Los Angeles due to the fact it has stood the test of time, 40 years coming up May 2017. SPARC has always worked with important issues that affect Los Angeles such as in past exhibits on immigration and cultural memory. These are issues Judy herself has always discussed in her own personal work and has made sure SPARC is the center of those discussions for the past 40 years through the Mural, Digital Lab and teaching Programs.”
SPARC has partnered with Daryl Elaine Wells, artist and founder of ArtResponders to present “VIRAL: 25 Years from Rodney King”…a multimedia exhibition marking 25 years of artists’ responses to police brutality. The exhibition opened in April and features art inspired by the well-known incident…when motorist Rodney King’ savage beating by LAPD was captured on film and was one of the first viral videos of its kind. Voices for Change: Speakers Panel and Performance next door at Beyond Baroque's theater on May 29 (5-7pm) will occur in conjunction with “Viral.”
“This show was put together in honor of my late brother, Paul, who had been harassed by police throughout his life,” said Wells. “Although it appears he did not die at the hand of law enforcement, as a black man struggling with mental illness, he had been especially vulnerable to the same altercations with law enforcement that African Americans, and young black males in particular, struggle with across America. His death incited me to start collecting work about the issue of police brutality, and I started Art Responders in his memory.” Panelists include: Shamell Bell, Black Lives Matter organizer, Co-Founder of Black Infinity Complex, UCLA PhD student in Culture and Performance, Dr. Aquil Basheer, A Better LA, Executive Director; Professional Community Intervention Training Institute, Founder; The BUILD Program, Founder; Professional Peacekeepers Collaborative Alliance, Founder, and more! “VIRAL: 25 Years from Rodney King” will remain on view through June 4th, 2016 at the Durón Gallery @ SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291. Gallery Hours: 11:00AM-5:00PM. *Extended hours include the ARTBLOCK on May 15th from 1-6pm and ART WALK on May 22nd from 12-4pm. For additional info, visit the SPARC website.
Pamela Weir-Quiton who runs the ‘ARTISTORE’ a unique space that gives Venice artists an opportunity to merchandise their work at her studio, said she is excited to share the beginnings of her new project at the May 15th ARTBLOCK event. She has incorporated her old clothing, accessories, etc., and displaying them on MAN-ICONS. (mannequins) The artist explained, “The idea is to photograph pieces with an energetic vibration on my MAN-ICONS, including masks, shoes & accessories & other collections, while simultaneously creating an exhibition, (and then finally a sale).”
Her husband, Gregory Weir-Quiton will be drawing some of the pieces on a live model during ARTBLOCK. ARTISTORE will have work for sale by the Weir-Quitons, plus Bisco Smith, Rohitash Rao, Eric Schwabel, Bee Colman, Jasmine Angelique, Michele Castagnetti, Yas Niktash and Avery Wheless. For more info, see Pamela Weir-Quiton's website.
An ARTBLOCK map can be obtained at 1003 Art Gallery and Lounge, 1003 Abbott Kinney Blvd, Weir-Quiton Studios at 4th and Vernon Blvd, Letelier Studio at 6th Avenue and Indiana Court or anywhere along the route. Look for the Yellow flags for an official ARTBLOCK venue. Shuttle buses and pedicabs will be available. For info and to download a route map visit the Venice ARTBLOCK website.