Cruise down a short stretch of Venice Boulevard between Lincoln Avenue and Abbot Kinney Boulevard and you will pass by a trio of significant art establishments that anchor this famous beachside neighborhood. The first building that may catch your eye is the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), an non-profit arts education organization committed to the production and preservation of public art in the community since its founding in 1976.
Set back from the street behind a manicured lawn and shrubs, the SPARC building was once the jailhouse of the Venice Division of the LAPD from 1929 to the early 1970s. The Art Deco building is a two story edifice composed of reinforced concrete with a granite base and stucco finish on its exterior, which lends it a stone-like appearance. Above the recessed metal-sashed windows, relief panels of Egyptian-Revival-style figures hover over the buildings entrance.
Engaging art exhibitions, like "Uprising Los Angeles: A walk through Los Angeles during the civil unrest of 1992," collaborative workshops, and engaging discussions are hosted year-round inside this impressive structure.
Just to the west of SPARC is Beyond Baroque, one of L.A.'s preeminent centers for literature and arts. Housed in the Old Town Hall of Venice that was erected in 1906, Beyond Baroque was home to many of the beat poets of Venice after its establishment in 1968. Today, the center continues its reputation as a public space for free speech and poetry. It offers free workshops on topics such as Latin American Poetry and publishing, along with a book store, music, and more.
Shelled in a small yellow building, the Pacific Resident Theater completes the trio. Founded by actors and celebrating over 25 years as an ensemble theater, the Pacific Resident Theater offers 20 plays a year, including rarely performed plays, classics, and pieces penned by new writers. Visit the Pacific Resident Theater for an excellent live theater experience and enjoy shows like "Concealing Judy Holliday" and "The Indians Are Coming to Dinner."
DIRECTIONS TO THE START
Transit: From downtown bus stop at Spring/1st in Downtown LA, take the 733 Bus towards Santa Monica. Get off at the Venice/Lincoln Stop and walk west 0.4 miles to 685 Venice Ave.
Car: From the 10 Freeway West take the Bundy Dr. exit and merge onto Bundy Dr. Continue onto S. Centinela Ave. Turn right onto Venice Blvd. After about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Pisani Pl. SPARC provides a parking lot just adjacent to the building.