3.3VeniceArts JeanetteVasquezVentura030Venice Arts is a local non-profit organization that runs education and mentoring programs in documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia primarily targeting Los Angeles-area low income youth. They’re an astonishing and very successful group that has grown tremendously in the last few years since my very own teenage son took photography classes there 3 or 4 years ago. See student image to right, by Jeannette Vasquez.

Kathy Leonardo and I attended a special evening recently that was a combination party and fundraiser for the Venice Arts Youth Art Internship Program, and advanced component of Venice Arts’ free Art Mentoring Program for low-income youth which was established in collaboration with the Venice Media District in 2007.

The program places highly skilled high-school age students in internships at creative production and post-production companies throughout Los Angeles. Two new internships are being launched this spring – one at GRAINEY PICTURES in Marina del Rey and the other at COLD OPEN, a Venice Ad Agency.

3.3 VeniceArts ClaudeVelas009The evening was quite lively, and included music spun by DJ Jacques, lots of delicious food (I can attest to the delicious part) donated by local restaurants like Outback Catering, Venice Beach Wines, and 26 Wines, and best of all, a whiskey-tasting with the Bourbon Baron, something I highly recommend anyone staging a fundraiser in the future look into. Whiskey makes the “fundraiser” component go down much easier.  Student image to left, by Claude Velas.

There were also some amazing photos taken by current Venice Arts students during the fall workshop and “best of” work from their archives which could be bid on.

In addition to helping out one of the best causes around (students), we had a swell time and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And probably due to the whiskey tasting, we didn’t mind a bit that we didn’t win any raffle prizes, which included a night at the Hotel Shangri-La and gift certificates to local Venice restaurants. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

For more info about Venice Arts, see their website at http://www.venicearts.org/.