Holiday Spirit on Display in Venice and Marina del Rey

Residents of Venice and Marina del Rey revel in the spirit of the holidays with boat and canal parades, home decorations and toy drives for disadvantaged youths.

You certainly can't accuse Venice and Marina del Rey of not getting into the holiday spirit.

The G2 Gallery kicked things off during the First Friday art walk in December with a holiday party featuring the work of photographer Nathanial Havholm and his Oceanscapes series consisting of shots taken from the Venice Pier over the course of a year.

Havholm took his first frame in the series in February 2010 as a storm moved into Venice and the "clouds looked like pillows," he said. He liked the shot and went back to try to recapture the magic, but it eluded him.

"Each and every time it's a very different image, regardless of where you are in the span of the year and that was the germ that created the idea," Havholm said. "I realized that I could never do what I had done before, but what I could do was build a catalog of images to represent it."

He tried to create a right-angle piece that observers could "walk into," but said it probably has to be twice as long and two times as high to create the horizon effect that he wanted.

"I'd love feedback. While the optical illusion wasn't as successful as I had hoped, I think it's a successful project and I would love to hear what people have to say," Havholm said.

The festivities continued the next day when the Voice of the Canals held their annual bridge lighting and holiday party in the canals. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl was on hand and gave canal residents an update homeless issues and lauded Steve Clare, of the Venice Community Housing Corporation, for the work he's been for the past two decades to help the poor and homeless find affordable housing.

The Venice Family Clinic on Dec. 10 also hosted its 24th annual Children's Holiday Movie event where 1,000 poor and homeless children from around the area enjoyed a private screening of "Arthur Christmas" and gift bags from Santa Claus. The UA Marina del Rey 6 Theater donated space for the screenings and toy give-away. Hundreds of donors donated nearly $75,000 to sponsor the event, but since all the products and services were donated, the money will go to the clinic's pediatric programs in 2012. About 7,000 poor and uninsured children in Venice, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Culver City and other Westside communities have their health care needs taken care of at the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the country.

The theme was "A Christmas Carnivale" for the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade that has been a tradition for decades. The "Christmas in Rio" entry by the California Yacht Club was the top theme winner, while "Having A Ball at 'Mask-er-Ade'" by the Women's Sailing Association was the Best Overall Winner.

The Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade celebrated its 30th anniversary Dec. 11 with a flotilla of creative designs. “Ducks Occupy the Venice Canals” by Kent Hayward, Elizabeth Hurchalla and James Arnall was a crowd favorite and one of the winners of the Venice Canals Association's Holiday Boat Parade contest.

First-year canals resident Gregory Weber, 37, footed the bill to light up the bridge outside his home.

"This is my first holiday season living in the canals and I'm proud to be the provider for the electricity for the bridge in front of my house. I think it's one of the most beautiful bridges, even without the holiday decorations, that the canals has to offer," Weber said.

If you have your own holiday photos, please feel free to share them with the community.

carolyn rios January 04, 2012 at 02:47 AM
You forgot the Toy Drive and Christmas Party that the Venice Neighborhood Council supported at the Oakwood Recreation Center


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