Venice Arts celebrates 21 years of transforming young lives with anniversary gala

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Venice Arts will celebrate 21 years of transforming young lives through its award-winning art mentoring and education programs for low-income youth with a celebratory gala this Saturday, Nov. 1.

The event honors community angels Tiffany Rochelle and Paul Hibler, both long-time supporters of Venice Arts and the Venice community, as well as dedicated artist-mentors Michael Cersosimo and Michael Jasorka.

For the past 21 years, Venice Arts’ program of free media arts instruction, mentoring, and internship opportunities has opened windows of possibility for thousands of poor and low-income children.

This year alone, students have received 25 prestigious national, state, and local awards, including: Presidential Scholar in the Arts; YoungArts Awards; California Scholastic Arts Awards; and the Music Center’s Spotlight Award. Graduating seniors this past spring went off to colleges including Boston University and NYU, some on full scholarships.

Describing the impact of his four-year involvement with Venice Arts on his life, current student Rickie Bautistia, age 18, said “When I started at Venice Arts … it took time for me to get out of my shell. I’ve changed … I can speak to people now. I can allow myself to take photos. Going to Venice Arts helped me to form a family that … can help me with any problems that I have. I’m really thankful for having this family.” Rickie is just one of the thousands of low-income young people whose lives have been transformed through their involvement with Venice Arts over its 21-year history.

In addition to its primary youth programs, Venice Arts also serves as a vibrant arts center and gallery connecting audiences of all ages with contemporary documentary photography and film. The organization expands the impacts of its work beyond the local area by consulting and training foundations and NGOs in participant-media, storytelling for impact, and artist and curriculum development, nationally and internationally.

To celebrate 21 years of exposing underserved young people to new opportunities, developing their creativity, and transforming their lives, Venice Arts will host its 21st Anniversary Gala on November 1, 2014, 5–8pm.

The fun and festive evening will include delicious food from the best local restaurants, exclusive wine from Kitá Wines and Sapere Aude Sparkling, beer from Lagunitas, and spirits from FAIR Vodka and Revel Spirits; a silent auction of work by renowned photographers and Venice Arts’ talented students, as well as numerous enticing items and services from local businesses; music by Santa Monica High School Jazz Combo; and fabulous raffle prizes.

Guests will be able to have their portrait taken and caricature drawn by Venice Arts photography and comics students, and can go home with one of four custom t-shirts featuring Venice Arts students’ photography, live screenprinted by Junk Food Clothing Co.

This is a great opportunity for collectors and art enthusiasts to purchase a beautiful piece of original artwork, or goods and services generously donated by local businesses, while supporting a local nonprofit organization.

Information on tickets and sponsorships can be found at www.venicearts.org.

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