A piece by Venice artist Isabelle Alford-Lago, who is known for her gorilla characters and whose murals adorn her neighborhood’s streets.

A piece by Venice artist Isabelle Alford-Lago, who is known for her gorilla characters and whose murals adorn her neighborhood’s streets.

By Michael Aushenker
Three unrelated events this month will employ the Westside’s rich fine arts scene to assist local charities.
Santa Monica-based Instacanvas is hosting its inaugural Instacanvas Night Out Gallery Show at Hamilton Galleries, 1413 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, bringing to life the company’s digital storefront (a marketplace to buy, sell and discover Instagram art and photography from around the world) and honoring more than 50 artists who have submitted imagery through the Internet startup’s website. All proceeds will go to Santa Monica-based environmental organization Heal the Bay.
The finalists were chosen from more than 200,000 photographers in 120 countries submitting their images via Instacanvas’website. Anchored by a silent auction in which prints of the canvassed images can be purchased, this event will also include giveaways and raffle prizes. The Instacanvas Night Out Gallery Show is free and open to the public.
Matt Munson, co-founder and CEO of Instacanvas, told The Argonaut that this project is based “to empower the world’s up-and-coming photographers and help them get a larger audience.”
Originally from Michigan, Munson started Instacanvas with his partners after creating and selling several startups, including the car-shopping website Smarter Purchase.
“We really wanted to do something local,” Munson said, adding that he wants to tap into the mix of creative artists and technology companies inhabiting the burgeoning Silicon Beach. He says it’s the reason he based his company in Santa Monica.
“I love L.A. creativity and technology and we love the creative scene, the fashion scene and art scene. The conversion of these scenes is awesome,” he said.
Also on Thursday, Oct. 10, “A Night to Remember 4Ever” will combine the fine and performing arts for a benefit supporting West LA’s Cancer/Benjamin Center from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lois Lambert Gallery at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets run from $10-20.
Event organizers are expecting some 300 people to attend the event, featuring a silent and a live auction, Gary Gray’s jazz trio along with food and a wine bar. The Bergamot event will feature more than 80 high-end auction items. Phil Brock, chairman of Santa Monica Parks and Recreation Commission, will serve as the evening’s emcee.
For event chairwoman Ellen Knable, the work done at the Benjamin Center network of cancer treatment facilities is personal. Knable has lost her father, two best friends and two aunts to cancer.
Knable, who runs Green Envi, an environmental public relations firm, told The Argonaut that “the fact that there’s a center where anyone touched by cancer can go to get emotional support for free is amazing.”
On Saturday, Oct. 12 from 7 to 11 p.m., the combination of charity, art, and music will mingle at Sulkin/Secant Gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., T-6, in Santa Monica, where the Laroa Artflow Foundation charity event will showcase the art of Venice artists Kelcey Fisher and Isabelle Alford-Lago, and Westwood-based Kevin Brewerton. The Venice Symphony Orchestra will perform as will an acoustic singer and a DJ.
Mark Otto, who with Casey Creaney created the Baltimore-based Laroa Artflow in 2011, commends his non-profit’s West Coast liaisons Colby Rhodes, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Fisher, who is one of three local artists participating in the Bergamot Station event. Otto enlisted the trio after visiting Los Angeles last January.
Otto noted that “Laroa” is a made-up world meaning “to live a full, fulfilled life” inspired by a catchphrase he and Creaney caught on to while visiting Costa Rica. It has become his organization’s mantra to “inspire cultural and artistic development in youth.”
Laroa Artflow primarily uses “art shows to give exposure for rising artist proceeds from art shows to buy art supplies for local schools,” Otto told The Argonaut from his East Coast headquarters. In the past summer, Laroa Artflow has expanded to Hawaii, where the charity supports in-school and after-school programs to support Hawaiian education in the native tongue that is deprived of government support.
“The more we can expand and grow our brand, the more legitimacy we’ll have (as a non-profit) and we can turn this into a movement to raise awareness in arts and culture.”
Nicole Muyingo, an active member of Venice Art Crawl’s board, is behind the Laroa Artflow Foundation charity event. Originally from England, Venice resident Muyingo has been tapped as the event’s coordinator.
“In many schools unfortunat-
ely, when budget cuts are made, the first thing to go is art,” Muyingo said. “It is crucial to maintain this form of artistic expression as for many people this is the main source of communicating and truly connecting with their environment.”
The featured artists represent “three completely different concepts,” Muyingo said.
Muyingo had rounded up several sponsors for this event, including Colorado-based Suerte Tequila, Venice Art Crawl, and Venice beverage label JustChill. A minimum donation of $10 is recommended. Thirty percent of proceeds from this event will go to two yet-to-be-determined L.A. high schools in support of their art education programs.
With this event, Muyingo intends to create “a social experience for everybody. L.A. is such a big place and we’re always in our cars. We want people to get people together and be connected.”
Information,Laroaartflow.org;cancersupportcommunitybenjamincenter.org.
Michael@ArgonautNews.com

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