Last weekend I was wandering around Venice and I came across a sad piece of news in the Venice Beachhead (a free local paper that is available at numerous locations around town). Their January 2009 issue is devoted to the life of Mark “Sponto” Kornfeld, filled with stories and memories shared by residents who knew him well.
According to the Beachhead, Sponto died on December 28, 2008 at his gallery on Dudley Ave. of an apparent heart attack.
I did not know Sponto well, but I did have the chance to talk to him last year in connection with the research for this Yo! blog entry about the possible closing of Sponto’s Gallery. He struck me as a warm and generous man, who loved his community and really just wanted the opportunity to share that love with as many people as possible. He wasn’t in it for personal gain, just for the joy of giving back. The movie night at Sponto’s that I caught last fall was a quintessential Venice experience and made me wish I had seen Venice during the beat years.
Today I stopped by Sponto’s Gallery and was touched by the memorial to Sponto that covers the front of the gallery. It is clear that he meant so much to so many in Venice and he will be missed. I’m not sure how long the memorial will be up, but if you have a chance in the next couple of weeks, head over to 7 Dudley and say goodbye. And thank you.