Circle of Color, a summer solstice art and music celebration, organized by Venice boardwalk artists and performers is set for 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 18th, at Sponto Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave., Venice. Admission is free.

Performers and exhibitors, most of whom perform regularly on Ocean Front Walk, include Ra Superstar, Diane Butler, Bill Attaway, Leland Auslender, Sea Monkey Tetrad, the Venice Beach Drum Orchestra and a host of others. Street painter/African drummer Ibrahim Butler emcees the event.

One major theme of the summer solstice Circle of Color is the Venice artist community’s opposition to recent city legislation that requires a “Permit for Public Expression” in order to perform on the public Venice Beach boardwalk, says Lani Ware, who helps organize and exhibits artwork in the Circle of Color event.

Ware says she recently strung together interview footage of longtime Venice Beach artists voicing their dissent to the regulations curtailing free speech, and detailing the ways the legislation has affected their lives and livelihoods. Most of the artists interviewed have received tickets for performing in public without first paying $25 for a permit and waiting for a city-sanctioned lottery system to choose a designated space for them, says Ware.

Ware plans to screen her interview footage at Circle of Color. Interviewees include Barbara Peck, Harry Perry, Al Coberson, Ra Superstar, Diane Butler (Ware’s mother, a longtime painter of Venice Beach boardwalk scenes) and others.

“These new regulations totally criminalize being an artist,” says Ware. “It proves that society doesn’t comprehend the worth of art.”

“One activist I interviewed, Barbara Peck, was ticketed for holding a sign that read, ‘Stop, stop, stop the lottery’,” she says.

CELESTIAL IMAGES — At Circle of Color, art photographer Leland Auslender, who “celestializes” his photographs with a special optical distorting lens that he created, will exhibit new works. Auslender will also display his piece, “Ode to the Sun,” which was recently used on the cover of Jun Q’anil: One Who Walks the Way, a nonfiction narrative published this year by Cypress House, written by psychotherapist Jessica Nagler, about life questions answered during a journey through rugged terrain in southern Mexico.

Information, (310) 306-7330.

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