By Michael Aushenker
This past year, the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for the Venice Art Crawl transformed the once-monthly Venice Art Crawl into a seasonal event and reduced the number of happenings at each event.
But in this case less truly is more, as art crawls have emerged better planned, more carefully curated visitor experiences united by a theme.
Tonight’s Venice Art Crawl, titled “December Lights and Venice Murals,” offers 20 receptions and happenings of a larger scale than previous attractions.
Take the Venice Symphony Orchestra Art Show and Fundraiser, featuring a full-size concert alongside work by its curator, the prolific Lincoln Boulevard muralist Jules Muck, as well as artists Annie Preece, Benjamin Alejandro and Daniel Silvas. Funds raised by that event, from 6 p.m. to midnight at The Containers (1410 Main St.) go toward the orchestra’s music education program for local youth.
Two rooftop art parties happen simultaneously from 6 to 10 p.m. at Venice Breeze (2 Breeze Ave., between Speedway Alley and the boardwalk) and Venice Suites (417 Ocean Front Walk), with both events featuring art, music, food and drink. The Venice Breeze event includes live body-painting art, and there will be a special black light installation at Venice Suites.
An event called “Unique Boardwalk Art” features work of sculptor Ben Allanoff and fractal artist Anders Hjemdahl in the parking lot east of Hama Sushi (1504 ½ Main St.).
A gathering at Flannel (1223 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) from 6 to 9 p.m. spotlights local photographer Stephanie Vovas’ images of flannel garments.
An event from 7 to 10 p.m. features artists Theresa Holiday and Jon E. Nimetz will at Cairo Cowboy (46 Windward Ave.), and from 6 to 9 p.m. Danny’s Venice (23 Windward Ave.) features live music, photography and painting by a number of artists.
“Waves, Trains and Graffiti Girls,” a street art mural project featuring live painting and music, happens from 6 to 10 p.m. at 40 20th Place (near Pacific Avenue and North Venice Boulevard).
Artist Drew Blood, a roller-blader who has been painting empty swimming pools for four years, shows his works on canvas and paper from 6 to 9 p.m. at Venice Ranch Market (417 Rose Ave.).
“Moments,” a one-woman show by elemental line artist Alice Batliner, takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Particle South (1317 Innes Place).
And who can resist pet portraits? Christian Shenouda will exhibit quirky canine and feline portraiture and take photographs of your pets for free at Sunny Bak’s photography studio (2214 Pacific Ave.). Also at Bak’s from 7 to 10 p.m., Venice Story, a new initiative devoted to collecting local stories, will have a booth recording people’s interesting, poignant or funny anecdotes of living or working in Venice.
New this month: custom Venice Art Crawl shirts for sale at the Danny’s Venice and Hama Sushi information booths, and a film crew will document the night’s happenings.
Nicole Muyingo, executive event producer for the Venice Art Crawl, said rather than let people take monthly events for granted, going all-out a few times a year has made crawls more special.
“We’re really growing,” Muyingo said. “We have more time to curate and orchestrate these events … [and] engage with people in the community who want to get involved.”
For a complete listing of events, including times and locations, see veniceartcrawl.com.