The Woman's Building may not have an actual building to call home anymore, but the organization hasn't let poor financial straits stop its annual Vesta Awards. The awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m. today during ceremonies at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
This year's Vestas--named after the goddess who symbolized women's dedication to creative work--recognize 10 women in eight categories: Yreina Cervantez, visual arts; Anne Bray and Julie Dash, media arts; Virginia Tanzmann, design arts; Michelle T. Clinton and Terry Wolverton, writing; Velina Hasu Houston, theater; Ann Patterson, music; Helen Knode, journalism; Paula Gunn Allen, scholarship.
The keynote speaker will be art critic and curator Lucy Lippard, author of the multicultural-arts book "Mixed Blessings." Tickets for the event are $65. Information: (213) 828-6277.
ART AT THE BLUE WHALE: The L.A. County Museum of Art has agreed to begin showing its contemporary decorative arts collections at the Pacific Design Center.
The inaugural exhibition, "Clay Today: Contemporary Ceramists and Their Work," opens at the PDC on Nov. 11 and features contemporary ceramists including Ralph Bacerra, John Mason and Richard Shaw.
Future exhibitions will feature other aspects of LACMA's permanent collection. Information: (213) 657-0800.
NEW CURATOR: Newport Harbor Art Museum has appointed Bruce Guenther as chief curator, effective Dec. 1.
Guenther has been chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago since 1987 and was co-acting director of that museum in 1988-89. He has also served as curator of contemporary art for the Seattle Art Museum and curator and acting director of the Museum of Art at Washington State University.
FESTIVAL OF MASKS: The Craft and Folk Art Museum's annual International Festival of Masks, a multicultural celebration highlighting the "language" of the mask among the various cultures represented in Los Angeles, takes place Saturday and next Sunday at Hancock Park.
The free event includes continuous dance and theater performances, including Bulgarian folkloric dances, Sudanese masked dance drama and Nigerian ceremonial dance, as well as exhibition and vending booths featuring Cherokee shaman masks, Sri Lankan animal masks and Italian commedia dell'arte masks. Mask-making artists will demonstrate contemporary and traditional techniques.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to dusk both days. A highlight will be next Sunday's Parade of Masks, which will begin at 11 a.m. at Wilshire Boulevard and Cloverdale Avenue and travel west on Wilshire and onto the festival grounds at Wilshire and Curson Avenue. Information: (213) 937-5544.
AUCTION: The Venice Family Clinic follows up its successful Art Walk tonight with its other annual benefit event, "Sweet Chair-ity and More," a live and silent auction of chairs and other works created by 60 top L.A. artists including Woods Davy, Candice Gawne and Gronk. The 5-10 p.m. event, at the Water Garden in Santa Monica, includes dinner and Latin music. Information: (213) 392-8630, Ext. 335.
OTHER EVENTS: The Museum of Contemporary Art gets into the Mexican festivities overtaking the city when it holds "Artes de Mexico Day at MOCA" on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Throughout the day, East Los Streetscapers will do a mural painting performance in which they will create a work related to the quincentennial of Columbus' arrival in America.
Other events include "Words Without Borders: Chicano and Mexican Poetry," featuring bilingual readings by prominent Los Angeles poets, plus live contemporary Latin music and tours of the museum's permanent collection. Information: (213) 621-2766.
The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates its "50th Birthday Bash Weekend" Friday through next Sunday. Events will include a free noon-4 p.m. open house on Sunday, the Saturday opening of the exhibition "San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art: The First 50 Years" and a Friday lecture on early modernist architect Irving Gill by scholar David Gebhard.
Also featured: a glimpse into the museum's future, with designs for its new permanent second location in downtown San Diego and Robert Venturi's design renderings for the museum's scheduled La Jolla expansion on view. Information: (619) 454-3541.