L.A. Art Party was proud to attend the gala event at Venice Arts which celebrated its 21st anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 1st. Student Zinnia Moreno was proud to show her work to us…exceptional work for such a young person.

See image: Zinnia Moreno with her workVeniceArts-Zinnia Moreno

For those who are unaware of this wonderful organization, they sponsor an unsurpassed program of free media arts instruction for children, along with mentoring by successful working artists and countless internship opportunities in the arts that have opened doors for literally thousands of poor and low-income kids in L.A. over the past 21 years. This year alone, Venice Arts students have received 25 prestigious national, state and local arts awards and scholarships.

The festive event was held at the arts center/gallery HQ of Venice Arts, and was packed with program supporters, teacher/mentors, and current and past students. A lot of amazing student art and photography was on display, and we talked with several of the students who were showing there, including Zinnia Moreno and Rickie Bautista, both 18. Rickie told us “When I started Venice Arts… it took time for me to get out of my shell. I’ve changed. I can allow myself to take photos. Going to Venice Arts helped me form a family.”

There was a presentation during the party to honor Tiffany Rochelle and Paul Hibler, both long-time supporters of Venice Arts and the local arts community, as well as dedicated artist/mentors Michael Cerosimo and Michael Jasorka.

The food trays were kept flowing by an impressive array of local restaurants and merchants, including 3 Square Cafe + Bakery, Abbot’s Habit, Abbot’s Pizza, Baby Blues BBQ, Danny’s/James’ Beach, Hal’s Bar & Grill, Hama Sushi, Jody Maroni’s, La Cabana, Locali, Marla’s Cafe, Mosto Enoteca, Native Foods, Oscar’s Cerveteca Venice, Poke Poke, Primitivo, Santino’s Tapas & Grill, Scopa Italian Roots, Superba, The Rose Cafe & Market, Trader Joe’s, Uncle Darrow’s, Wabi-Sabi, Whole Foods Market, and Willie Jane.

See image: Rickie Bautista with his work

BabVeniceArts-RickieBautistay Blues BBQ donated delicious food to the event. “Dann and Karen Florek got us involved,” said Robb Aguirre, owner of the restaurant. “We work with several charities and organizations and do try to make sure the majority of them are located within our local community. Venice Arts does a great job of working with and developing young people’s creativity and imagination. For us at Baby Blues BBQ this is a great group of people to be associated with.”

Helen Wassell-Paez and Alex Paez, who own Centanni Venice located right next door to Venice Arts, contributed some delicious mini caprese. Helen said “We have a caprese salad on our regular menu which is fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and fresh basil, but for catering events, we like to add a twist by skewering mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with the fresh basil…easy to eat!! Venice Arts is a wonderful, inspiring organization. Great neighbors!”

We’ll take their word on the “great neighbors” part, but we can certainly testify ourselves that Venice Arts knows how to throw a great party. We’re marking anniversary #22 on our calendars right now!