A historical precedent is being set in Venice, California by an association of artists who call themselves ARTBLOCK. They are a cross- generational and inter-disciplinary group that are bypassing some of the conditions that have become part of cultural life on the Westside.
First off, they are reaching out to artists of all stripes and sizes. The group believes that getting to know one another matters. Instead of solely looking towards patrons
institutions and galleries, the group is holding open studios and meetings that have created a wide audience and growing public interest. I reported on their first open studios in May. Building on that success, the group is now planning a bigger Open Studios event for October 13 from 12-5pm. The artists have received endorsements from a wide range of cultural and civic organizations, including The Office of City Councilman Mike Bonin, The Venice Neighborhood Council, The Social and Public Art Resource Center and The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.
Many think of the Boardwalk when they think of this historic beachfront community and although this stretch of Venice forms an essential component of Venice identity, it is by no means the only pulse felt within the district. Along it’s avenues and alleys, despite a major influx of newcomers, there are those that keep the fires of cultural brilliance and legacy burning.
Venice is also known for other groups and events that use art to raise funds or increase commerce, but ARTBLOCK is the first instance in current times of artists themselves creating a culture and market in a beachside area of Los Angeles that is often recognized as a source of art trends and sensibilities. As a result there is a genuine feeling of legitimacy amongst these creatives.
An authenticity exists in the work of those who have been creating brilliant art in Venice for decades, through ARTBLOCK It is a quality that is extended to newcomers and younger artists. Among these associated artists are the well known and internationally recognized, as well as the under represented and inward looking. What brings ARTBLOCK artists together is something that moves beyond art world concerns and gallery markets. These artists are creating a vision for Venice culture that is inclusive and sustainable.
ARTBLOCK artists can be seen as legitimate inheritors of the traditions, legends, myths and spirit of Venice. The city of Los Angeles can look forward to more activities and events produced by the group .
ARTBLOCK Open Studios offers a rare opportunity to visit the studios of artists and to get to know them in a more intimate setting that is usually possible. The vists are open and free to the public. You can learn more about ARTBLOCK, the artists and their activities at http://veniceartblock.wordpress.com or at their FB page www.facebook.com/veniceartblock.