Festival Beverly Hills a ‘Smashing Success,’ More Arts Events in Pipeline

Arts and Culture Commissioners took a moment to bask in the success of Festival Beverly Hills in their meeting this week, but then quickly turned their attention to the many other exciting arts events on the horizon.

These include the long-awaited installation of artist Judy Chicago’s “Trinity” sculpture, the first ever MADE in Beverly Hills art festival, the 50th Anniversary Art Show and the Music in the Mansion Festival.

Festival Beverly Hills

But first, celebration was in order. The commission had long envisioned launching a Festival Beverly Hills and with the help of staff, the Next Beverly Hills Commission and the Human Relations Commission, was able to pull off a spectacular event on a shoestring budget.

“We as a department feel very strongly that this was a smashing success,” said Paul Paolone, senior recreation supervisor in the March 14 meeting. “We were really happy with the outcome of this event and we look forward to the next one. There’s only up to go!”

The event was designed to highlight the city’s diverse cultures and took place at the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market on March 12. It transformed the shopping venue into a carnival-like experience complete with live music, dance performances, art workshops, culinary demonstrations and more.

Highlights included a Chinese New Year lion’s dance, a BHUSD student cooking competition, a Bob Baker Marionette Theater puppet-making workshop, Cortines High School folklorico dances and a Nowruz spice-making workshop.

“The Farmers’ Market is forever changed,” said Commissioner Karla Gordy Bristol. “No one is going to come back and only want only the food, they will want to have some more special fun events like this.”

Commissioner Chair Liliana Filipovic was also pleased with the event but noted that the Farmers’ Market was not the initial venue the commission had in mind, but rather the best way to get the event up and running given the lack of available funding. “How do we go from an enhanced Farmers’ Market carnival day to a world class international festival in Beverly Hills?” she asked.

Community Services Director Stephanie Harris explained that the commission may be able to elevate the event next year by presenting a plan to the City Council to request dedicated funding for a larger event.

Installation of Judy Chicago’s “Trinity” Sculpture

In August 2022, the commission approved the acquisition of acclaimed modern artist Judy Chicago’s “Trinity” Sculpture for installation in Beverly Gardens Park, which is already home to an impressive collection of public artworks.

The sculpture consists of three different-sized triangular arches rising from the ground.

In November 2022, Chicago visited the proposed installation site and requested the addition of a concrete base below the sculpture to better preserve it. The original plan was to install the structures directly into the grass and, as result, the commission had to reconsider the proposed installation.

Filipovic did not like the new proposal to add a concrete base.

“The appeal of this piece in the first place, when we voted for this, to me, was that it was three separate pieces coming from the grass or from no specific surface,” she said. “Now it’s like one sculpture sitting on the base instead of three individual pieces coming from nowhere, so it’s a completely different artwork for me.”

Vice Chair Maralee Beck, on the other hand, thought it was appropriate to defer to the artist’s preference.

“She is the artist and I think you have to give some respect for her concept and for what the piece is,” she said. “And I don’t think your eye is going to be going to the base. You’re going to be looking at this beautiful work as it exists.”

The commission ultimately decided to pass the matter to their City Council Liaisons for a final decision.

Upcoming Art Festivals and Events

The commission concluded its meeting by looking forward to the array of upcoming artistic and cultural events.

First up is the Music in the Mansion Festival at Greystone Mansion, which will feature a series of concerts from April 20 to April 23. Artists include the Shining Sound Ensemble, Latsos Piano Duo, the OC Classical Trio and the Seraphour Voice Ensemble, among others.

May is then set to be a huge month for the Beverly Hills art scene as it will feature both the City’s 50th Anniversary Art Show and the first-ever MADE in Beverly Hills art festival.

MADE in Beverly Hills is presented by the same team behind Modernism Week in Palm Springs and will include an array of guided tours, art talks and evening celebrations fromMay4to7.

The City’s 50th Anniversary Art Show will take place on May 20 and highlight artists from across Southern California, the nation and across the globe. The jury has already selected its featured artists and will begin mailing out acceptance letters next week.

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