Preview: Sanrio celebrates 50 Years with huge LA exhibit

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 02 Nov 2010


The buzz around Sanrio's 50th Anniversary exhibition has been building for quite some time now, and Small Gift Los Angeles finally opens November 12 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. The iconic company who gave the world Hello Kitty has invited popular artists from around the world to collaborate in two standout art exhibitions: Small Gift Los Angeles and Small Gift Miami, during Art Basel.

The full press release follows:

Inspired by their “small gift, big smile” philosophy, Sanrio’s Small Gift events offer a multi-dimensional experience for fans of all ages. For both Small Gift exhibitions, artists will transform their favorite Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty®, Little Twin Stars®, My Melody®, Patty & Jimmy™, Tuxedosam™, Keroppi®, Badtz-Maru®, Chococat® and many more into stunning original works that will be available for sale to the public.Small Gift Los Angeles and Small Gift Miami exhibitions will feature different artists as well as incorporate charitable components specific to each city. 

Small Gift Los Angeles will open on November 12 at Barker Hangar as part of Sanrio’s 50th Anniversary celebration events, featuring a character product retrospective, pop-up shop, interactive activities and special event programming, in a carnival style theme. Curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, Small Gift Los Angeles will showcase works by 50 artists as well as eleven unique installation rooms designed by 64 Colors, Audrey Kawasaki, Gary Baseman, Eric Joyner (work above), Kozyndan, Brandi Milne, Anna Chambers, Buff Monster, Crowded Teeth, Dan Goodsell, Joe Ledbetter, Neivz, Peekaboo Monster, Plasticgod, Sharktoof, and Tim Diet, among others. 

In December, Small Gift travels to Miami as part of its national mobile pop-up tour. Curated by Roger Gastman,Small Gift Miami will inhabit an 8,000-square foot space in the Wynwood Arts District during Art Basel. Artists, exhibition highlights and special surprises will be announced soon.


(Buff Monster)

Small Gift Los Angeles will include:

Midway Carnival -- a game booth area featuring classic characters will include Hello Kitty’s Spilled Milk Bottle Toss, Little Twin Stars Shooting Stars, Tuxedosam Bowtie Bounce, Chocopanda Dough Toss, Hangyodon Ring Fling, Landry Lucky Duckies, and Sanrio Friends Spin ‘n’ Win Wheel, a Japanese activity corner, a retro videogame arcade, photo booths and a ferris wheel with multiple characters represented on the cars.  Two 9-hole miniature golf courses celebrating Sanrio’s legacy of characters will round out the midway fun!

Art Exhibition -- curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, Small Gift Los Angeles will showcase artist works as well as eleven unique installation rooms that transform favorite Sanrio characters into original works.  Fifty top artists will participate including Buff Monster, Gary Baseman, Paul Frank, Crowded Teeth, Natalia Fabia, Simone Legno, and many others.  Artwork will be for sale; with a portion of the proceeds going to Los Angeles based L.A. Works. L.A. Works is a non-profit, volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area.  Contact us for a more detailed listing of artists on display, works and artist bios.


(Joe Ledbetter)

Food Extravaganza -- the “mobile food court” of food trucks will be a centerpiece of Small Gift Los Angeles,with many different trucks visiting over the 10 days, including The Grilled Cheese Truck.  In addition, cream puff gurus Beard Papa’s will have a booth for the duration of Small Gift Los Angeles and have developed a specialHello Kitty flavor – a yummy strawberry flavored cream puff with sprinkles.  Also on sale, an eco-friendly, co-branded Beard Papa’s/Hello Kitty tote created by Beard Papa’s to commemorate the event.  Yogurtland will also staff a booth throughout Small Gift Los Angeles, offering a variety of special yogurt flavors and toppings tied back to Hello Kitty®, My Melody®, Keroppi®, and Chococat®.

Pop Up Shop -- in addition to playing, participating and previewing, guests of Sanrio will also have the opportunity to purchase specially created and selected commemorative product in the Small Gift Los Angelespop-up shop.  Sanrio’s 50th Anniversary marks the first time that so many of the characters have appeared together and there are a variety of must-have, collectible pieces including iPhone cases and laptop cases, t-shirts,  tin lunch boxes, tote bags, bobbleheads, plush, a commemorative 50th Anniversary book and much, much more.



Events Within the Main Event -- special parties and events will abound over the 10 days of Small Gift Los Angeles.  The themed “I Heart Nerds” party hosted by Sanrio and Loungefly and “Kitty in Pink – Retro 80s Prom Party” offer fans a chance to dress up, have fun and compete for ‘best-dressed’ prizes.  Workshops will include Sushi Bento Box making, Sunae (Japanese sand art), cupcake decorating, jewelry and craft making with participating artists, and an intro to Hello Kitty Beauty by Sephora. Tickets will be available for purchase prior to events and workshops on  Sanrio will also host groups of children with L.A. Works throughout Small Gift Los Angeles

Special Partnerships -- many special partners will be on hand throughout Small Gift Los Angeles to participate in this massive celebration.  Various models of the newly launched Hello Kitty Smart Cars will be on display, inviting fans to hop inside, explore, and snap pictures. New partner Sephora will give fans a sneak peek of their soon-to-launch “Hello Kitty Beauty” collection featuring a luxurious line of cosmetics and collectible accessories. 

Stay up to date on Sanrio’s 50th Anniversary and all Small Gift events online at, on Twitter ( and at Sanrio and Hello Kitty’s Facebook pages ( and



Small Gift Los Angeles
November 12 - 21, 2010
Barker Hangar
3021 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405