Winter break welcomes art world

When you finish that last final, the feeling is almost indescribable. Suddenly you’ve got more than enough hours to plan out your day the way you want, with no class schedules or impending deadlines standing in your way.

If you’ll be staying in Los Angeles for winter break, spice up your stay by exploring the artsy-er side of the city. There are enough events and exhibitions to give your break an interesting spin. Whether it’s at a gallery or outdoors at an iconic location, Downtown Los Angeles has plenty to keep you busy and maybe even get you inspired.

Take, for example, the Watts Towers, an impressive collection of 17 spires, some of which soar more than 90 feet high. Simon Rodia built the towers by hand from 1921 to 1954. The towers are mostly made of steel but also include other materials, such as porcelain. As part of the current Pacific Standard Time initiative, which involves many galleries and museums, there will be an opening reception Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. for the exhibition “Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Art Center.”

The exhibition will focus on these locations and how they came to be. The opening reception will feature the jazz act Nedra Wheeler Trio and will include a screening of I Build the Tower, a documentary about Rodia’s life.

If that visit gets you feeling crafty and ready to learn more about how to make your own masterpiece, the Getty Villa might be able to get you started. Learn more about glassmaking at the Villa by attending a handling session on a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday starting today. You can hold and look closely at everything from a flask to a glass bowl while learning more about the creation processes. The tools behind the magic and the secrets behind the ingredients that go into successful glassmaking are also at hand. The session is free with your ticket to the Getty Villa — just make sure to get that ticket in advance.

If you want something a little more modern and kooky, make sure you head to the Hive Gallery. Saturday marks opening night for the upcoming show, entitled “The Opening Show,” and for $8 you can enjoy everything from burlesque performances to tarot readings from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. “Price…less” features art you can purchase  for less than $250 with artworks from resident artists and new talents.

Expect anything from Michelle Romo’s cutesy creatures to Daniaelle Simonsen’s sewn installation art. With more than 60 artists and performances every hour, the opening night is bound to stay interesting, especially as you weave your way through the gallery’s many rooms. If you can’t make it to opening night, the exhibition will be open until Dec. 31.

It might be located in enemy territory, but Westwood’s Hammer Museum also has a few events worth checking out. Among them is a screening of videos by Kara Walker, an artist bold in her subject matter and medium.

Walker works with paper, cutting silhouettes that she then pastes onto the wall. The figures and stories she creates address issues such as gender and race and have garnered her much acclaim. Walker’s videos will be shown at the Hammer on Dec. 11. The screening will feature three new works, and at 2 p.m. Walker will converse with Hilton Als, a prominent theater critic. Walker has toured everywhere from Johannesburg to Chicago — so now is your chance not only to experience her works but also hear from the artist herself.

Whether you head to West Los Angeles or stay in Downtown, the upcoming month is teeming with upcoming art events that can make your winter break, and the days leading up to it, all the more memorable. The city is constantly abuzz with some new art event or another, and you might as well take advantage of them when you can.


 Eva Recinos is a junior majoring in creative writing. Her column “Art Box” ran Thursdays.