Venice Art Walk, an annual bringing together of about 500 emerging and established artists in the Venice community for the cause of benefiting the Venice Family Clinic, the country’s largest free healthcare clinic, has expanded this year to include two days of art tours and events.

The Venice Art Walk kicks off this year with “Architecture as Art,” a self-driving home tour and silent auction from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 20th; and concludes with the traditional Venice Art Walk tour of artists’ studios and exhibitions from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting at the Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Tickets are $50 per day.

The Venice Art Walk is an annual fundraiser that ensures that the Venice Family Clinic is able to offer free healthcare to uninsured individuals and families in Los Angeles County.

This year’s Art Walk will also feature an auction party with live and silent auctions of 400 works by renowned Los Angeles artists from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 20th, at Track 16 and Berman/ Turner galleries within Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. The event will be presided over by honorary co-chairs Will Ferrell and Viveca Paulin. Tickets are $75 to the party. A free auction preview will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also new this year is a “Focus on Photography” silent auction taking place Sunday, May 21st. The exhibit will have about 130 pieces and will contain a special exhibit of The House is Small, But the Welcome is Big, a series of photographic portraits of 15 HIV-infected mothers and children in Khayelitsha, an impoverished township in Cape Town, South Africa. The photo series is meant to give a human face to the AIDS crisis and the people it affects.

Sunday’s Venice Art Walk will also include a food fair with cuisine by local restaurants and live jazz on the stage at Westminster Elementary School.

This year’s list of artists that will open studios for public viewing includes Larry Albright, Kwaku Alston, Bill Attaway, Michele Bradley, Christine Burrill, Rick Buxie, Richard D’Amore, Woods Davy, Laddie John Dill, Jean Edelstein, Mollie Favour, Linda Fenster, Steve Fleitz, David Franck, Frederick Fulmer, Alejandro Gehry, Sam Gehry, Desy Safan-Gerard, Nicola Goode, Lynn Hanson, Kenny Harris, Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez, Jim Hubbard, Sue Keene, Trek Kelly, George Ketterl, E.F. Kitchen Aaron Kramer, Marianne Magne, Carolyn Mendoza, Brad Miller, Gary Palmer, Paulin Paris, John Rose, Barbara Schwan, Sudad Shahin, Fotune Sitole, Tanja Skala, Michael Sokolis, Judy Stabile, Carol Surface, Michel Tabori, Lee Waisler, Pamela Weir-Quiton, Marian W. Winsryg, Judy Wold, Jennifer Wolf and Robert Yeager.

VENICE FAMILY CLINIC — The Venice Family Clinic has provided access to basic medical services for the poor and the uninsured in the local area since 1970. The clinic has branched out into seven locations, including one on the grounds of the Mar Vista Public Housing Development.

The clinic operates on about a $15 million dollar budget from a combination of public and private funding. The private funding is from grants, corporate donors and individual contributors.

Money raised at the Art Walk each year goes directly to medical costs, according to spokeswoman Linda Feldman.

The idea of the free clinic is to provide healthcare to families of workers who do not receive health insurance from their jobs and to provide medical coverage to those unemployed who couldn’t afford it.

The clinic operates with a staff of 16 doctors, plus about 465 doctors who volunteer a few hours per week, she says.

Many of the volunteer doctors have their own private practices elsewhere and volunteer time at the clinic. Others are retired doctors able to commit personal time to the clinic.

Information, (310) 392-9255, or http://www.venice milyclinic.org

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