January 20, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Flying Carousel

by Akela Morinaka

From her peephole box to her camel topiaries, local artist Robin Murez has spent the last ten years creating interactive and story-based works all over Venice. She greatly enjoys sharing Venice’s colorful history with the public and has even created a tour guide to all her art pieces, just a walk away from one another.

A guide to Robin Murez’s art around Venice. Courtesy: venicepublicart.com

The Venice Place Project is sponsoring the Venice Flying Carousel by way of providing a workspace for Murez in its Pop-Up Park “where I carve and host carousel events,” Murez told Yo! Venice. The public space at 250 Broadway Ave., just off Abbot Kinney Blvd., is equipped with wi-fi, outlets, and tables. “I’ve always had a public studio. And I love the interaction with the public. Stop by to see me carving and join in on the project,” she said.

Using the Flying Carousel, Murez has devised a plan to turn Venice’s Centennial Park “into a place of joy and community.” Running from Abbot Kinney Blvd., to the Venice Public Library on an island sandwiched between Venice Blvd., North, and South, the park goes largely ignored and with the lack of benches and visitors, feels a bit unwelcoming. But, within proximity to the library, farmers markets, and Abbot Kinney, Murez believes the park has great potential with the carousel.

The proposed Flying Carousel will be 30-feet in diameter, holding 15 riders (yes adults, you’re welcome to ride too). Bike-powered and solar-lit, the carousel can be operated by a single person and run into the evenings. Total costs are estimated to reach about $200,000. Wrestling for grants and funding to cover construction, installation, permits, potential licensing fees, insurance, and the other hidden fees that are sure to come her way, Murez hopes to underwrite the rest of the balance with her Adopt-a-Carousel idea. A tradition in carousel building, a dozen people or so will have the opportunity to adopt a carousel animal of their choice or create one. Donors can help in the design and naming of the animal and have their own personal touch engraved into what will be Venice history.

The carousel has received widespread support. “Everyone I’ve told it to loves the idea,” Murez said. Projected to be finished by 2019, she is currently at the stage of carving the animals and working with the city and the Department of Recreation and Parks to commence construction.

Taking influences from the Oregon Albany Carousel and The Davis Dentzel Carousel, Murez is determined to handcraft the sculptures. She started her first carving in April working on an ostrich laced with eucalyptus leaves on its side. During the establishment of Venice, Abbot Kinney commissioned ostrich farms on Windward Avenue, a lesser-known fact about Venice that she wants to share. And seated on the back of the ostrich is her dog, Astro, donned with goggles.

Abbot Kinney commissioned ostrich farms on Windward Avenue. This little-known fact inspired the first carousel animal. Photo by Alon Goldsmith.

Some of Murez’ other carousel creature ideas include a turtle, symbolizing the Tongva tribe and creation of California, a rocket in honor of Ray Bradbury and science fiction, a guitar referencing Jim Morrison and the Doors, and a winged lion. The Winged Lion of Saint Mark is the symbol of Venice, Italy, where Abbot Kinney often found inspiration. Later, when building his Venice of America, he sculpted lions onto some of the Italian architecture archways and columns.

Murez has already begun involving the community. Safe Place for Youth (SPY) have helped with the landscaping and weeding of the park., and Murez has plans to engage the public at any point she can. When asked why she wanted to do this project she said, “The essence is really telling these stories, and having there be a sculptural element that brings out these stories. It will be this happy, beautiful, cool thing that brings out history and art and alternative technology.”

Donate, participate, and find out more at veniceflyingcarousel.com or venicepublicart.com and follow Yo! Venice for updates.

Robin and her dog Astro. Photo by Alon Goldsmith.
Related Posts

‘Doctor’s Office on Wheels’ Homeless and Those at Risk of Losing Homes

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Venice Family Clinic launches mobile clinic van aimed at preventing homelessness By Chad Winthrop A Venice non-profit has launched a...

Edify TV: Ticketing Maskless Angelenos?

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Los Angeles lawmakers want to fine people for not wearing masks. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Missing Man Last Seen in Palms Area

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Chance Olsewski last seen in on the Westside on Friday A missing 20-year-old man was last seen in the Palms...

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Illegal Marina del Rey Boat Charters

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The issue of illegal charters brought up at recent County meeting By Toi Creel Officials recently discussed the issue of...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

Venice Homeless Encampment Fire Spreads to Boardwalk Building

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

Over 100 firefighters respond to Ocean Front Walk fire Tuesday morning By Sam Catanzaro Over 100 firefighters responded this week...

Edify TV: Westside Kids Compete to Keep Beach Clean

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Westside kids are competing to keep the beach clean! Learn more in this video made possible by Santa Monica College.

One Hospitalized in Marina del Rey Fire

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Fire breaks out Monday morning at MDR apartment complex By Sam Catanzaro One person was injured in a Monday morning...

Edify TV: Over 1,700 Units Proposed for Westside Neighborhood

January 10, 2021

January 10, 2021

Over 1,700 apartment units are planned for a few block radius in a Westside neighborhood. Learn more in this video...

City Planning Approves Venice Boardwalk Apartment Development

January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021

Los Angeles Planning Department advances nine-unit development By Toi Creel The Los Angeles Planning Department has signed off on a...

RV Along Penmar Golf Course Destroyed in Fire

January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021

Vehicle catches fire earlier this week Another RV went up in flames in Venice recently, the second such fire to...