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Into the Labyrinth at the Annenberg Community Beach House This Weekend

Lars Howlett to create two temporary site-specific walkable labyrinths Nov. 13-14

By Sam Catanzaro

The Annenberg Community Beach House has commissioned artist Lars Howlett to create two temporary site-specific walkable labyrinths in the sand this weekend. 

The event, part of Out-of-the-Blue, a program of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs will take place on November 13 and 14 and is intended to cultivate “stress reduction, healing, reflection, and community building through art.” 

“I’m stoked to offer three new, unique designs, unlike anything I’ve ever attempted! The sandy area near the Annenberg Community Beach House is so expansive, I decided to create a monumental labyrinth 120’ x 170’ in the form of a double spiral meant to echo the form of a wave. Planned in the pandemic, I figured that 8’ wide pathways could allow people to socially distance while circumnavigating a design that presents the viewer with 360-degree views of the coastline. The double spiral creates a meander so although it’s a contemporary labyrinth, walking it is an archetypal experience similar to what is found in the Nazca Lines of Peru,” Howlett said in an interview with the City of Santa Monica. 

“Rising from the double spiral wave is a Sun Labyrinth that first caught my eye as part of an art installation by Mark Wallinger in the London Tube. I’m creating a variation of labyrinth #230 at the Covent Garden station that was installed to be traced with a finger. I’ve seen similar meander patterns in Native American basketry—the Man in the Maze by the Tohono O’odham is the most well-known Classical variation. The sun labyrinth will be more traditional in size and scope, but I have only created it once during our trial run in front of the Annenberg Community Beach House this Spring. The labyrinths will be drawn in the sand after it has been groomed and smoothed overnight by the sweepers. They are intended to reflect the rhythm and energy of the sun and sea, creating a shared space for people to safely journey together as we come out of the pandemic and establish new intentions, identities, and ideas for our shared future,” the artist added.

Reservations are not required to walk the three labyrinths. However, facilitators will be available to answer questions about labyrinths, walking meditation, and mindfulness on: 

  • Saturday, November 13: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Sunday, November 14: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Two manual beach wheelchairs will be available for the sand labyrinths. 
RSVP is required for the in-person artist talk, sunset walk, and reception on Saturday, November 13, 2021. Space is limited. 

  • 3-4 p.m. Artist Talk, Sacred Space/Sacred Time 
  • 4-5 p.m. Group Labyrinth Walk 
  • 5-6 p.m. Reception and Refreshment

Learn more about the labyrinths HERE.

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