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Grassroots Venice Art Tour Debuts Sunday

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The Venice ArtBlock - not to be confused with the annual Venice Art Walk or the quarterly Venice Art Crawl - is a new self-guided neighborhood studio tour that is free to the public and debuts this Sunday.  

More than 75 artists will be showcasing their work from noon until 5 p.m., in studios that span from Venice Blvd. to Rose Ave., from Ocean Front Walk to the edge of Lincoln Blvd. 

"Last year the Venice Art Walk committee reduced their studio tour, excluding many of the long supporting local artists," according to ArtBlock's announcement. "As a result local artists began to meet on a regular basis, eventually forming an artist run collective, ArtBlock. The group gradually expanded studio by studio to include painters, sculptors, ceramicists, glass artists, street artists, conceptual artists and photographers focused on creating inspiring, interactive studio events in Venice."

The Venice Art Walk & Auction is organized by and benefits the Venice Family Clinic. This year's event raised more than $650,000 to treat low-income, uninsured and homeless families on the West Side of Los Angeles.  Laney Kapgan, the director of development for the Venice Family Clinic, says that the studios featured on the Art Walk change each year, but they are happy to see another art event in the neighborhood.

"Our primary goal is really raising money every year to help provide healthcare to people in Venice and around Venice," says Kapgan. "Our supporters love to see new studios every year, and often we'll go back to studios every three or four years. There are so many amazing artists around Venice, we love the opportunity to highlight all of them over the course of such a long history."

With the inaugural ArtBlock tour, the primary purpose is to build momentum and help artists showcase their work. It's not tied to charities or commercial endorsements at this point, but they will revisit those sorts of opportunities when they return side-by-side with the Art Walk in May.

 "We're taking the art walk back to the way it used to be when people were allowed to show their work in their houses, in their garages," says Alberto Bevacqua, No. 3 on the tour and an ArtBlock organizer. "If you were a legitimate artist working in Venice, you were allowed to be on the Art Walk years ago."

Aside from a fresh art tour coming to Venice, one of the best parts for the artists involved was the experience of coming together and getting to know and appreciate each other better as peers and friends.

"The coolest part for me personally is to meet the neighbors," says Bevacqua. "There's a woman down the street from me who's been there in her studio for 40 years and I never met her."

Print or bookmark the map above for a self-guided tour. Open studios will be marked with flags. 

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