An Exhibition of Community Spirit

It just wouldn't be spring on the Westside without the Venice Family Clinic's annual art walk.

The event, now in its 15th year, raises funds for the Venice Family Clinic, a nonprofit health care organization that serves needy children and adults. It is the largest free clinic in the nation, with about 50,000 patients annually.

The art walk, which will take place this weekend, provides an opportunity to visit the studios and homes of more than 50 artists who live in Venice, including Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, Laddie John Dill, Madelin Coit and E.F. Kitchen.

It begins on Friday with "An Evening of Music, Art & Architecture," which will include musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a tour of Leonard and Annette Shapiro's contemporary art collection and architecturally award-winning home. Reservations are essential. Tickets are $100 each and include a ticket to Sunday's events.

Docent-led tours of artists' studios are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $95. The tour includes lunch.

Self-guided tours are reserved for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Patrons will receive a map and may choose which studios they wish to visit. The cost is $45.

Many artists said they see the event as an opportunity to give back to the community.

"The (clinic) is an important institution in the community and it's a worthwhile event," said 38-year Venice resident Renee Petropoulous, an artist and the designer of this year's commemorative T-shirt.

In addition to self-guided tours, eight exhibitions will be presented in galleries and spaces throughout Venice. Highlights include "Architects Do Furniture," a sculpture garden and a photography exhibit.

Chefs from 18 Los Angeles-area restaurants, including 72 Market Street and Tatou, will prepare sample dishes available for $4 to $7 at booths along the walk.

A silent auction also will be held. About 300 works by artists such as David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Dennis Hopper and Robbie Conal will be auctioned as well as a walk-on part on CBS-TV's "Murphy Brown."

The central location for activities will be at Westminster School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Shuttles will run on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to three parking lots: Walgrove, Broadway and Couer D'Alene elementary schools. Reservations are suggested for most events. Information: (310) 392-9255.

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