Bordeaux is known for fine wine and historic monuments, and residents of Los Angeles will soon learn more about the destination in southwestern France through a year-long cultural exchange between the two cities in 2014 that will highlight cultural ties.
Bordeaux and Los Angeles have been sister cities since 1964, with the program celebrating the 50-year relationship in 2014. The festivities kick-off on Jan. 15 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Los Angeles Art Show, where City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, who is also chairman of the Sister Cities of Los Angeles Inc., will be honored by a special “surprise guest.”
Participants at the ceremony and reception will enjoy exclusive wine tastings and food prepared by chef John Sadler, of Rivera Restaurant. Guests can also preview the exhibits at the Los Angeles Art Show, which runs from Jan. 15 through 19 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Actor and art collector Cheech Marin has donated a limited-edition portfolio, printed by Richard Duardo, from “The Chicano Collection/La Colección Chicana”, to be sold during the show. Proceeds will benefit Sister Cities of Los Angeles Inc. and the Bordeaux cultural exchange program. Photographs by former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti will also be displayed during the reception.
Kamilla Blanche, director of the Sister Cities of Los Angeles Inc. and director of arts and culture for LaBonge, said the ceremony will be a fitting launch for the Los Angeles/Bordeaux 50th anniversary celebration.
“It is one of our strongest relationships,” Blanche said. “The French are in the top five in the number of tourists who visit Los Angeles.”
Blanche said a delegation of Los Angeles officials will travel to Bordeaux in June during that city’s wine festival for a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the sister cities relationship. She said details are still being worked out, and it is uncertain exactly who will be part of the delegation.
Some of the original artworks donated by Marin will be shipped to Bordeaux as part of the cultural exchange. Blanche said other components of the exchange would include works by French artist Eugene Delacroix being displayed at LACMA.
Officials with the French Consul General’s office in Los Angeles will participate in the program at the art show. Bordeaux is one of the oldest of Los Angeles’ 25 sister cities, according to Blanche. Nagoya, Japan, and Eilat, Israel, are the oldest — dating back 55 years.
“It’s one of our oldest relationships. We have a very strong relationship with the French,” Blanche added.
LaBonge said it is an important milestone for both cities and the sister cities program. He said the program was started in the 1950s by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the relationships offer residents a glimpse into cultures around the world.
“I think it is important for our city, because we are an international city,” LaBonge said. “People come to Los Angeles for the arts, and it is a great honor for all Angelenos.”
The Bordeaux/Los Angeles event at the L.A. Art Show is open to the public. Tickets start at $125. For information, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/la-art-show-2014.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the Los Angeles Art Show, and hundreds of works in different mediums will be displayed. Guests can also enjoy gallery exhibits and programming, lectures, tours and special exhibits. General admission tickets are $20.
The Los Angeles Convention Center is located at 1201 South Figueroa St. For information, visit www.laartshow.com.
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