Shop local and give back on Small Business Saturday

Agapito Doronio’s work is featured in the Mar Vista Art Walk’s Community Art Gallery at Buckwild

We all know that the Black Friday is the official start of the frenzied holiday shopping season in big box stores across the country. But what if prepping for the holidays could be a little more personal and a lot more altruistic?

That’s the mission of Saturday’s Mar Vista Art Walk and Make It Mar Vista’s “Inner Giving,” which combines the neighborhood’s signature quarterly cultural event with the power of American Express’ Small Business Saturday to benefit Venice youth services nonprofit Safe Place for Youth. Think of it as an antidote to Black Friday.

Starting at noon, participants exploring Venice Boulevard’s mom-and-pop shops (some offering raffles, free hot cider, classes or gift wrapping) can donate gently used clothing to collection bins at 3838 S. Centinela Ave. (the Coffee Connection parking lot near Venice Boulevard) and the Mar Vista Art Walk’s Community Art Gallery at Buckwild (12804 Venice Blvd.). Show your thanks at Vintage on Venice (12218 Venice Blvd.), where passersby can write down words of thanks and contribute them to a gratitude tree.

From noon to 6 p.m., glide through a Winter Wonderland at the corner of Grand View and Venice boulevards, featuring a skating rink, falling snow, holiday lights and photo opportunities with Santa.

The art walk officially kicks off at 2 p.m. with the unveiling of Venice artist KFISH’s sculptural ode to entrepreneurship and art “Lemonade Stand” outside Buckwild Gallery. Live music and painting fill the sidewalks between Inglewood Boulevard and Beethoven Street until 10 p.m., with a special performance by The Fifth Dimension’s Florence LaRue at 1:30 p.m. Four different stages host concerts by local musicians Paul Chesne, Sonic Acrylic, and Runson Willis III with The Holy Mountains, as well as performances by R&B artist Miki Rose, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter DYLLAN, and Team Zanja (featuring local music impresario and multi-hyphenate musician Farmer Dave Sher).

Elsewhere, Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue is hosting its own Small Business Saturday with sales and special activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (see, and Santa Monica’s Main Street combines its monthly “Last Sundays” event with Small Biz Saturday for a weekend-long bonanza featuring live music, carolers and sidewalk sales till the early evening hours.

— Christina Campodonico

The Mar Vista Art Walk and Make It Mar Vista happen from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 24) along Venice Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Inglewood Boulevard. Follow Mar Vista Art Walk on Facebook for updates.