Venice Art Crawl visits Runway at Playa Vista for a music-themed art show and party

By Christina Campodonico

“Music Connects Us” features work by artists Annie Terrazo (left), Kasey McMahon and early Beastie Boys chronicler Sunny Bak

Now that they’re all moved in, the owners of Hal’s Bar & Grill are inviting some old friends from Venice to check out the new neighborhood. On April 20, the Venice Art Crawl will transform the Runway at Playa Vista restaurant’s nearby 3,800-square-foot event space into a pop-up art and photography show.

Musicians are the muses for “Music Connects Us,” a fundraiser to celebrate the organizations’ seventh anniversary that’s co-curated by Neely Shearer, the conceptualist behind the Abbot Kinney Boulevard-adjacent boutique “In Heroes We Trust” and its self-titled spinoff street art book. She recruited artists from Venice and all over the world to create and contribute original artwork and photographs to the show.

“I basically told the artists to think of music and whatever that means to them,” says Shearer. “It could be a lyric, a favorite musician, a decade, a style of music, or fashion for music.”

Artists from New York, Denmark, Austria and the Westside responded with portraits and paintings of Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Noel Gallagher, Run-D.M.C., Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, David Bowie and others — including a wild-eyed Mark Mothersbaugh back in his DEVO days.

Shearer’s tying the event together with live music performances and various deejays — including Arabian Prince, an original member of famed Compton rap group N.W.A., hip-hop performance poet Decora, Santa Barbara punk band Crying for Kafka and others — spinning a sonic backdrop for the art.

Also expect to see works by rock ’n’ roll photographer Guy Webster (who shot The Doors’ debut album cover), early Beastie Boys chronicler and “Music Connects Us” co-curator Sunny Bak, Venice muralist Jules Muck, Venice landscape painter Meryl Leibowitz and East Coast graffiti artist Bisco Smith. L.A. street artist Plastic Jesus, best known for putting up a life-sized Kanye West statue on Hollywood Boulevard, is bringing a new installation as well.

Shearer, for one, is excited to infuse Venice’s artistic vibe into Hal’s new location at Runway.

“Hal’s has such a great space on Abbot Kinney and in Playa Vista,” says Shearer. “It’s a great connector between the two neighborhoods.”

“Music Connects Us” happens from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 20, near Hal’s Bar & Grill in Runway at Playa Vista. Tickets for the fundraiser are $40, with VIP passes that include a special dinner at Hal’s available for $200. Visit veniceartcrawl.com for tickets.