Southern California's Top Art & Design Events 2009

February 16, 2009, 8:00 AM EST

Photo L.A.'s exhibition at the Barker Hangar

Photo: Earle E. Gibson

1. Hammer Museum’s Gala in the Garden
This museum’s stylish gala continues to grow while maintaining an intimate feel. Gucci sponsored the 2008 event, which raised a record $1.2 million. The fundraiser takes place in October in the courtyard of the Westwood’s museum.

2. Orange County Art of Dining Benefit
Every year, this event draws Orange County socialites and honors an artist while raising funds to support programs for the museum. In 2008, the event raised $450,000 and featured the announcement of the museum’s move to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This year’s event will take place June 5.

3. Westweek
The annual two-day event at the Pacific Design Center, presented in partnership with Architectural Digest, exhibits the latest trends in the design industry. Westweek 2009 is set to take place March 25 and 26, followed by a student day.

4. Los Angeles Art Show
Put on by the Fine Art Dealers Association and KR Martindale Show Management, the L.A. Art Show moved from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica to the Los Angeles Convention Center this year. With 175 gallery exhibitors, the show drew a record 30,000 attendees January 21 through 25. 

5. San Diego Museum of Art’s Art Alive Benefit
This event turns the museum into a spectacle of art and flowers for three days—from June 12 to 14 this year. The weekend of events includes a floral demonstration, luncheon, member preview, champagne celebration, and gala.

6. Photo L.A.
Featuring artwork from both known and emerging photographers, the 18th edition of this photo exhibition took place at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica from January 9 to 11. An opening reception and press preview were held on January 8.

7. Pageant of the Masters
This annual show in Laguna Beach featuring artwork, demonstrations, and wine tasting takes place July 8 through August 31 this year. The 2009 theme is “The Muse,” focusing on artists’ inspirations. The annual gala associated with the program takes place August 29. 

8. ArtWalk San Diego
Now in its 25th year, this free art event takes to San Diego on April 25 and showcases the work of more than 400 artists in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood. The accompanying Kids-Walk event provides creative projects for children during the weekend.

9. Art International
The OSAT Company produces this fine art fair in Pasadena, a city home to big-time art galleries and institutions. The annual event draws more than 30 art exhibitors and is slated to take place March 13 through 15 at the Pasadena Center, with a gala preview on March 12.

10. Art L.A.
A celebration of the Los Angeles art scene, the exhibition-style fair will be held at the Barker Hangar January 23 through 25, with an opening reception on January 22. The event features prominent international and L.A galleries showcasing emerging and known artists.

11. Venice Art Walk
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the walk, hosted by the Venice Family Clinic. The event features a silent auction, more than 60 studios with exhibits, and access to homes and private art collections.

12. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’s Gala
MOCA’s big fund-raiser is tied to an exhibit, but the event did not take place in 2008 as it is tied to the fiscal—not calendar—year. With the museum’s financial future in question at press time, no date had been set for the next gala—but we’re reserving space on our list for what is typically a chic and production-heavy event.

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