Fantasy Forest 1 (© Descanso Gardens)

It can be hard to find art events to go to during the holidays, when most everyone, including gallerists and museum staff hopefully, are taking time off to travel or spend time with family at home. Fortunately we’ve found three arts-oriented holiday events to ring in the new year with, before the new season of exhibitions, performances, and discussions kicks off.

Enchanted Forest of Light

Descanso Gardens houses one of Southern California’s most impressive collections of flora, comprising a Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Ancient Forest, and a section devoted to California Native Plants. During the holiday season, the gardens come alive each evening with a mile-long walk full of interactive, large-scale light displays, the Enchanted Forest of Light. Highlights from the program include “Celestial Shadows,” spinning polyhedral installations by HYBYCOZO; “stained glass” creations by Tom Fruin; and Jen Lewin’s glowing, meandering pathways, “Aqueous.”

When: Now Through Sunday, January 5 (Closed December 24–25. Member Only nights December 26–28)
Where: Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, California)

More info at Descanso Gardens.

Holiday on Strings (Courtesy Bob Baker Marionette Theater)

Holiday on Strings

For over 50 years, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater has introduced the joy of puppetry to generations of Angelenos. That joy was threatened recently when a mixed-use development forced the troupe to abandon their longtime home on the edge of Westlake and Echo Park. Fortunately, they landed on their feet in a former vaudeville theater in Highland Park, and threw a star-studded grand opening earlier this month with actors Colin Hanks and David Arquette, and musician Joanna Newsom. This December, they’ve brought back their beloved classic “Holiday on Strings,” a snow-tinged holiday review hosted by the Wizard of Fantasy and his sidekick Demitrius Nova Twinklestar III. Guests of all ages can follow them on their journey from Santa’s workshop to a Hanukkah celebration, and a stop in the Christmas world of Charles Dickens.

When: Now Through Sunday, January 5
Where: Bob Baker Marionette Theater (4949 York Blvd., Highland Park, Los Angeles)

More info at Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

David Bradley, “End of the Santa Fe Trail” (1992), acrylic on canvas (Gift of Ernest J. and Edith M. Schwartz, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, 57876)

New Year’s Day Free Admission

If your New Year’s resolution is to see more art in 2020, the Autry Museum of the American West has you covered. Not only are they open on January 1st, but they are offering free admission all day. This presents a great opportunity to catch two of their current shows before they close on the 5th. Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca features Fonseca’s lively and vibrant paintings, prints, and drawings depicting the trickster figure of the Coyote. In Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley, the Minnesota Chippewa artist wrestles with issues of identity and representation in ways that are both “joyous and damningly satirical” as Elisa Wouk Almino wrote in Hyperallergic’s Best of 2019 Top 20 LA shows list.

When: Wednesday, January 1, 10am–4pm
Where: The Autry in Griffith Park (4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles)

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.