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Venice High School students at the Trunk Gallery fundraiser on March 30. The students raised funds for the school’s retreat program called Oakgrove.
Photo by Wesley Pacleb
Venice High School students at the Trunk Gallery fundraiser on March 30. The students raised funds for the school’s retreat program called Oakgrove.

Venice, Seven Days, Santa Monica, Art Gallery, High School

Gallery Raises Money For Venice High's Oakgrove

Posted Apr. 10, 2013, 9:28 am

Kathy Leonardo / Mirror Contributor

Trunk Gallery was alive and buzzing on Saturday, March 30 with its newest exhibition “Real Talk.” The venue was overflowing with Venice High School students proudly displaying their artwork as part of the silent auction and benefit for Oakgrove, a human relations retreat program based at Venice High School.

Gallery owner and director Ann Perich was approached by Lili Raygoza, a recent graduate, about hosting the benefit to raise funds for Oakgrove.

Raygoza volunteers as a mentor for Oakgrove along with fellow graduate, Nicole Ogino, who also worked on the show.

Erin Fitz and Michal Greenfield (Oakgrove student council co-chairs) helped to coordinate the silent auction with Perich and Trunk curator Wesley Pacleb.

Fitz and Greenfield are responsible for raising funds for the organization, which awards students scholarships for retreats.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Oakgrove was founded in 1972 in response to the Watts riots of the 1960s.

“High school students can talk to each other in an open environment, which is free of the typical social expectations or barriers placed on them,” Fitz said.

Greenfield added, “Kids are really trying to get their name out there… I think giving students in our age group an opportunity like this is exciting!”

Local community artists such as Nick Busco, Joshua Hernandez, Keiden Oguri, Scott Tansey, and Michael Temple also donated work.

Busco, who specializes in rock band photography, donated a framed photo of Bonnie Raitt.

Busco spent years on the road with legendary bands and has managed to capture casual up close moments of rock icons.

“I have heard of Oakgrove and have explored it a bit more,” said Busco. “I think that this is something we need in the community. I was very happy to donate a piece.”

Busco’s work appeals to a broad range of fans.

“The young adults love the photos of the early days of the touring business, and the older adults remember the day when they saw these acts,” he said. “When they find out that I actually toured with the bands, they love the stories and that perspective.”

Busco’s work has been featured throughout the Los Angeles area and is currently on view at Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills ( For more information, visit

Tansey, a landscape photographer, donated a framed photo of an iceberg from Lago Gray in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. Tansey has traveled all over the world attempting to capture that perfect shot.

He attended the opening reception at Trunk and enjoyed watching the teens who were eager and excited that their work featured in the show.

“They all seemed to be having a great time,” said Tansey.

He has donated to previous auctions such as a fundraiser for the National Council of Jewish Women and said he was happy to help support Oakgrove.

He recently had a successful show at the Santa Monica Studios where he sold a significant piece.

Locals can see more work from Tansey’s “Patagonia” series on view now at Figtree’s Café at 429 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. For more information, visit

The event was a win-win situation for all involved. The exhibition will remain on view until the closing party on April 26 from 6-9 pm, where the winners of the silent auction will be announced.

For more information about the upcoming closing reception and the artists involved, visit,, and

Trunk Gallery is located at 12818 Venice Blvd, Venice.

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