The most prestigious art event in Venice, if not in Los Angeles, is the Venice Family Clinic’s annual art walk hosted by Google.

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Inside the Frank Gehry designed Binoculars building. Google’s Venice Beach offices become an art gallery during the Venice Art Walk.

Now in its 39th year, the art walk is said to raise more than $800,000 in donations to help pay for health care of low income families that lack insurance through the Venice Family Clinic.  The community of Venice has always been known for the numerous artist that call it home.  And it turns out many of the artists consider their relationship with the Venice Family Clinic special.

The artist in particular is at risk when it comes to health care.  He lives in constant uncertainty on whether or not he will earn enough from his art to meet the basic necessities, let alone cover his healthcare costs.  And as individuals, they can forget about group plans or rates.  Some say the Venice Family Clinic has been there for them and they welcome the chance to give back.

The event featured a 350-piece art auction, live entertainment, a beer garden, and enough art by top LA artists to satiate your appetite for beauty for some time to come.

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Venice Art Walk Volunteer and featured artist, Gwen Samuels.

In recent years the Venice Art Walk moved from a nearby school to Google’s offices in Venice.  Not everyone welcomed the corporate presence, especially from big brother Google.  Some artists have said the clinic and Google are using the Venice Art Walk to promote themselves as supporters of local artists when they are using artists for their own gain while eroding the Venice arts community.  Other artists have said that the Google environment was “unfriendly” and that they feel “uncomfortable and watched” when in the Google facility… understandable considering Google’s complete disregard for the privacy of individuals.

I have to admit, I had similar thoughts when driving out to Google for the art walk.  Those feelings vanished as soon as I stepped onto the grounds.  The staff went out of their way to help me with anything I needed.  Yes, there was a lot of Google security there, but this is to be expected at any public event and they were again friendly and helpful.

In the presence of that much beautiful art, Google can’t seem anything other than a very beautiful, welcoming place no matter how “sinister” the corporation may be.  I want to point out again, that for any that are criticizing the clinic or Google there are many more that thank the clinic for being there as their healthcare safety net and thank both for the exposure they gain through the art walk.  The Google headquarters in the Frank Gehry designed “binoculars” building is itself a work of art and a fantastic venue for an art exhibit.

Either side of that debate you sit on, one fact is clear.  It is the artists in Los Angeles that have revitalized neighborhood after neighborhood in our city.  The artist that is there to give a helping hand for every worthwhile cause.  So while you are giving to the charity that the artist has come forward to support, don’t forget to give to the most important charity of all – the artist himself.  Buy art directly from the artist too and enjoy the satisfaction each time you see the beauty the artwork has added to you home in knowing you have contributed to the most vital force in keeping our world a better place – the artist.

If you missed the Venice Art Walk this year, watch the video to see what will be in store for you next year and why you want to go.  Click for more information on the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk.

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Artwork in the Sculpture Garden at the Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk Hosted by Google