Influenced by the architecture and beauty of Venice, Italy, American entrepreneur and millionaire Abbot Kinney built the city of Venice, California in 1905 with the intention of creating a hub for artist, musicians, writers and philosophers. However, this dream never reached its full potential, as the “Venice of America” soon became known as the “Coney Island of the Pacific.” Despite Kinney’s intentions of building a community for artists, Venice ultimately flourished as a tourist attraction and ocean side vacation spot. This shortcoming seems to resonate to this day.
Today, Venice is a city in transition devoid of any cultural unity. The explicit juxtaposition of rich and poor make it the epitome of gentrification. As multi-million dollar homes tower over Section 8 housing, one is left to wonder how do these cultures collide, and what is the future of their co-existence? However, that is not to forget the rest of the population that inhabit Venice ephemerally on its boardwalks and beaches, the tourists.
Tourists from around the world continue flock to this slice of land adding to the disunity of culture that has come to define Venice. It is utterly incoherent, a true hodgepodge of class, ethnicity, and occupation. Yet there is beauty in this chaos and perhaps a glimpse into a little thing called peace.
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