With a bash at Google & hands-on workshops, the Venice Art Walk celebrates its 40th birthday

By Kelby Vera

Jens Lucking brings his talents for surreal portraiture to the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction

For 40 years, the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction (also known as the Venice Art Walk for short) has spotlighted Venice’s arts scene and given back to Venice Family Clinic primarily through a silent auction and tours of local artists’ studios.

This year the beloved arts event not only highlights works donated by 200 compassionate creatives and honors painter Laura Owens, but also invites you to get crafty through a series of workshops held during its free community party at Google’s Venice campus this Sunday. `

“The workshops are really a nice initiative, welcoming attendees into the creative process themselves,” explained event publicist Jessica Trent. “People can be inspired by and even bid on amazing art, but they can also have a hand at creativity themselves.”

Amid food trucks, live music, the silent auction and a beer & wine garden, you can learn how to craft paper flowers from creative florist Sara Kim at noon or 2:30 p.m., learn beautiful lettering techniques from artist, teacher, and author Nicole Miyuki Santo at noon, 1:15 p.m. 2:30 p.m. or 3:45 p.m., or create your own lush yarn tapestries from Trudy Perry’s Fire Horse Studio at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. (Tickets for these workshops range from $25 to $55.) There will also be a raffle and a “Family Fun Zone” with crafts and activities for all ages.

Radical Souls Collective can help you make macramé plant hangers at noon, 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m., while photographer Jens Lucking welcomes a small number of attendees into one of his surreal images. He hosts five interactive portrait sessions from noon to 4 p.m. — (which cost $500 per person) —but hey, it’s for a good cause! A percentage of sales from each class booked will go toward supporting Venice Family Clinic, which offers healthcare services to nearly 30,000 people in need.

Lucking, who has participated in the art walk for the past seven years and creates whimsical family portraits from superimposed images—(think a giant laughing baby sitting on the roof a midcentury modern home while mom, bro & sis hang by the pool)—is thrilled to return and share his creative skills with participants.

“It’s nice to be able to share this passion for photography and get the public excited about it,” he said. “And also give a little behind the scenes kind of look.”

Inspired by his series of work called “Hammer Time,” portrait session groups will pose as if they’re valiantly trying to repair a retro gold Ford. The photo is given a quirky twist by having the youngest or daintiest of the group straining to lift up the front of the car while someone else works underneath.

Continuing to support Venice Family Clinic is important to the European-born photographer, who said, “I love the work Venice Family Clinic is doing in our community. Living in Venice, I feel how much an organization like VFC is needed to help the vast number of people in need and without the means for care.”

The Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction happens from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Google Venice (340 Main St., Venice). The event is free and open to the public, but workshops ($25+) and studio tours ($40) are ticketed. Purchase tickets at theveniceartwalk.org.