July 1, 2022 #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.
Tags: , in Opinion
Related Posts

Inside CD-11 2022: ‘Moderate Middle’ Could Be the Deciding Factor in Darling/Park Contest for LA City Council!

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

The Allison Holdorff-Polhill, Mike Newhouse vote total combines for 10,500 votes or nearly 16% of the vote up for grabs...

The Yo! Venice Interview: Erin Darling For City Council

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

First-place finisher & Venice local Erin Darling talks frankly with Yo! Venice about, homelessness, climate change and the upcoming runoff...

Column: Where Will We Shelter the Homeless?

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Jeff Hall Federal Judge David O. Carter is a hero, as far as I’m concerned.  He essentially forced the...

Column: LA Election Results Remain Tight, Close & Competitive Come the Fall Runoffs!

June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

By Nick Antonicello The results for the June 7th Primary continue to trickle-in with not much change:  In that special...

Column: Centennial Park Update – Cleared, Cleaned & Fenced!

June 16, 2022

June 16, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Centennial Park, long a homeless encampment for months that had spilled out-of-control into a haven for open...

The New Math: How Does Caruso Get to Victory in a One-on-One Race With Karen Bass?

June 15, 2022

June 15, 2022

By Nick Antonicello After a $45 million investment in a race he was expected to win, Republican-turned, independent-turned Democrat Rick...

Column: The Endorsement Race!

June 13, 2022

June 13, 2022

With 40 percent of the CD-11 vote up for grabs and four months to go, Park & Darling will compete...

Column: It’s Caruso/Bass for Mayor, Darling/Park for CD-11, Rest of the Field Is Eliminated as We Brace for a November Runoff!

June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

Villanueva/Luna locked in a tight battle for LA County sheriff! Hertzberg/Horvath headed for runoff for LA County Supervisor! Pullen-Miles leads...

The Yo! Venice Interview: Kevin McGurk for LA County Judge

June 6, 2022

June 6, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  With so much time in court litigating both criminal and civil cases, the position of public defender...

Population Loss: New Era or Pandemic Glitch?

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The numbers suggest a major change is underway in California. It would take a Nostradamus to...

Column: Down the Stretch They Come

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  A “manufactured narrative” in this race to succeed outgoing,  “lame duck” Councilmember Mike Bonin is that certain...

Interview: LAUSD School Member Nick Melvoin. The Teacher That Puts Kids First!

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello If you didn’t know any better, you would think LA school board member Nick Melvoin was twenty-points...

Keeping Kids Safe in Wake of the Tragedy of Uvalde, Texas

June 2, 2022

June 2, 2022

By Nick Antonicello In wake of the shootings that occurred in Uvalde, Texas I reached out to Allison Holdorff-Polhill, a...

Column: MAYOR ROBERT PULLEN-MILES, THE BEST CHOICE FOR VENICE REPRESENTING IN SACRAMENTO!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

Lawndale Mayor uniquely qualified to succeed Autumn Burke in the California General Assembly By Nick Antonicello  On Tuesday June 7th voters...

Yo! Venice Sits Down With CD-11 Conservative Mat Smith About Homelessness, Rising Crime and the Quality-of-Life Conditions in Venice and Beyond!

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

By Nick Antonicello  It was only appropriate that Yo! Venice speak with CD-11 council hopeful Mat Smith over the long...