Venice artists will open the doors of their studios to benefit the Venice Family Clinic on Sunday, May 22nd, at the 26th annual Venice Art Walk.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting at the Westminster School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.

Tickets are $50, and proceeds go to the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the United States. The event is the premiere community fundraiser held for the clinic each year. Venice Family Clinic’s mission is to provide healthcare to those who would otherwise not have access to it.

Art Walk festivities started with a live auction that took place on Thursday, May 12th, at the studio of Venice artist Laddie John Dill and featured comedian Cheech Marin as an event chairman. A total of $104,000 was grossed at the live auction, outdoing last year’s auction totals, says Linda Feldman, spokeswoman for the Venice Family Clinic.

The Venice Art Walk fundraiser is a collaboration of well-known Venice artists. The art walk T-shirt design uses a piece titled “Rose Parade Float,” by Robert Graham, and the Art Walk poster design uses “The Dancing Tables,” contributed by painter Patssi Valdez.

A second fundraising event the day before the actual Art Walk is the Venice Art Walk “On the Fringe” Art and Architecture Tour, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21st.

The Saturday tour will feature homes along the Venice Canals that were designed by architects Steven Ehrlich, Glen Irani, Michele Saee and Vaughan Trammell. Also on the tour will be Switch Studios, a creative workspace and digital cinema facility created from a former corner market.

The second part of the Saturday tour will include artists’ studios along Victoria Avenue, including that of photographer Robert Berger; mixed media painter Ron Griffin; mixed media and installations artist Jeremy Kidd; installation artist and architect Susan Narduli; and figurative painter and photographer Marischa Slusarki.

Also, Bridges and Beyond, an exhibit of site-specific installations, will be set up on the walkways and bridges of the Venice Canals in observation of Venice’s centennial, and will be on view for both the Saturday and Sunday events. Participating artists include Richard Ankrom, Eric Johnson, Marianne Magne, Nancy Buchanan, Natasa Prosenc, Tarek Naga, R.T. Bob Pece and LeRad.

Tickets to the self-driven “On the Fringe” Tour are $75 per person or $100 for an art walk weekend package and can be picked up the day of the event at Westminster School.

The Venice Art Walk on Sunday will feature about 50 Venice art studios open for viewing. (See next page for studio list.)

Special exhibitions along the Art Walk include Art From Fire, new ceramics by Richard McColl, Sue Keane and Ernie Carlos; Night Bloom images by Tony Berlant and new paintings by Per Kirkeby at LA Louver gallery; LA Noir, images, music and words evoking the mysteries of Los Angeles by Helen K. Garber; artwork by kids in the STArt! Teaching Science Through Art elementary school program; a tour of the “Milwood Mansions”; the Cartelle Gallery Collection curated by Sam Freeman; a Museum of Neon Art satellite exhibit curated by Michael Fletchner; the Eclectic Collector “funhouse for grown-ups; and a group show curated by Gallery C.

Entertainment will take place from noon to 6 p.m. on a stage set up on the soccer field at Westminster School including live music by JazHarp featuring Lori Andrews at noon, and Straight Up With A Twist. There will aso be interactive art and dancing with paints by ballerina Caitlyn Carradine, who paints with her feet while dancing.

Also at Westminster, a silent auction will take place througout the afternoon until 6 p.m.; the Dr. Morton K. Rubinstein Award will be presented to “outstanding volunteer physician” Tracey R. Childs at 5 p.m.; a drawing to win a Mercedes 2005 SLK 350 convertible will take place at 5:15 p.m.; and a drawing to win a Robert Graham sculpture will take place at 5:30 p.m.

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 annual 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 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 ordinarily couldn’t afford it.

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

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.