Winter solstice, the day on which the Northern Hemisphere receives its shortest dose of daylight from the sun, is a day to celebrate the earth and the arts for Venice Beach performers and artists.

Circle of Color, an art and music gathering of Venice Beach-based creative people and street performers, is scheduled for 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, December 16th, one block from the ocean at Sponto Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave., Venice. Admission is free. The theme of the upcoming winter solstice is “Tsunami of Love.”

The actual winter solstice occurs on Friday, December 22nd, this year. Because the earth is tilted relative to its rotation around the sun, the Northern Hemisphere receives less direct sunlight (creating winter) while the Southern Hemisphere receives more sunlight (creating summer) on the solstice. Earth rituals and celebrations of various types centered on the solstices have been occurring since Neolithic times.

The lineup of Circle of Color performers includes musicians the Venice Beach Drum Orchestra, Suzy Williams, the Off Their Jingle Bell Rockers, Black Shoe Polish, Diane Butler and Friends and The Sixth Chamber.

Participating artists include Leland Auslender, Lani Ware, Ibrahim Butler, Diane Butler, Ralph Ponsa, Ra Superstar, Herciuk, Jolie Kraft and Bret Woods.

New to performing at Circle of Circle this time will be the belly dance troupe Amaya Baraka.

Circle of Color is held twice yearly on the winter and summer solstices and is organized by the Ibrahim Butler, Diane Butler and daughter Lani Ware, a family of Venice Beach street artists/performers and activists.

Ibrahim Butler paints and leads the Venice Beach Drum Orchestra, an ensemble that combines African drumming and tribal beats with an improv Beatnik jazz flare.

The trio members have been vocal opponents of the city ordinance regulating “public expression” on the west side of the Venice Beach Boardwalk since the legislation surfaced in 2004.

Sponto Gallery itself holds a strong historical significance to Venice arts culture, as it is the site of the former Venice West CafÈ, a hangout of West Coast Beat Generation poets.”

“We’re looking to carry on and to reinvent the spirit of freedom and creativity that the Beatniks and poets and political activists brought to Venice in the 1950s and ’60s,” says Gerry Fialka, who helps organize the event and performs with his band Black Shoe Polish.

Information, (310) 306-7330.

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