NOMA meets the first Thursday of each month
Next Meeting: October 6, 2022
SM Neighborhood Associations present:
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM
7:00 p.m via Zoom
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City of Santa Monica Meetings
Upcoming Candidate Forums
Volunteer for the Santa Monica Conservancy
The Santa Monica Conservancy is seeking new volunteers and docents. Volunteering is a unique opportunity to make an impact on historic preservation and meet others in the community who share your interest in local history and preservation. Opportunities are open to anyone with the time and interest. No prior experience is necessary. Apply online today or email us at email@example.com for an application form.
Acknowledge + Reframe Together Will Support Art & Civic Memory Projects in Santa Monica
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The City of Santa Monica announces the launch of a new initiative, Acknowledge + Reframe Together (Reframe), which will support art and civic memory projects that center community voices with the aim of creating a more just and equitable Santa Monica. In particular, Reframe will focus on centering the voices and experiences of communities of color who have been historically excluded from discourse about representation in Civic spaces. Belmar History + Art (2019-2021) was a demonstration project that inspired this initiative, and we are next embarking on a public engagement process to reconsider the WPA-era murals by Stanton McDonald-Wright in the historic City Hall lobby.
In Santa Monica, the WPA-era murals in City Hall do not express the full complexity of our histories and community. To address this, we will be engaging a diverse array of voices and perspectives through a series of community conversations and art activations, with the goal of commissioning new artworks that will convey more of this land’s history and better express our community’s values today. We’ve launched a survey to learn more about people’s ties to Santa Monica and their reflections on place and belonging. Please respond at the link below to help shape our discussions and activities going forward!
City's Cultural Affairs Department to Engage the Community in Discussions About City Halls Murals
In recent years, communities across the country have initiated dialogues to respond to public art that no longer reflects a contemporary understanding of its history and peoples. The Works Progress Administration-era murals in the lobby of Santa Monica’s Historic City Hall have prompted the need to engage in a discussion about how our histories and communities are represented in our civic spaces, with the goal of ensuring that all in our community feel seen and welcomed in the seat of government.
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs is embarking upon a project to engage the community around these murals to explore how they might be re-contextualized in such a way that does not erase the stains of the past, but acknowledges historic inequities and makes a commitment to a more just future. In the coming year, they will engage a diverse array of voices and perspectives through a series of community conversations, art installations, and other engagement measures that will:
Follow-up to the discussion about the City Hall murals at NOMA's August meeting
The Santa Monica Conservancy informs us that on September 28, the City Council assigned the Landmarks Commission the responsibility of interpreting and contextualizing the City Hall murals. An ad hoc Council committee consisting of Oscar De La Torre and Christine Parra will advise the Commission and make recommendations as part of the Commission discussions. The Arts Commission will also be involved.
Both the History mural panel in City Hall and the companion mural depicting recreation in Santa Monica have been criticized. The images in the Recreation mural feature what appear to be elitist, upper class white people engaged in tennis, polo, aviation, auto races and sailing. (See a 360-degree view of the murals.)
There is a transcribed oral interview with artist Stanton MacDonald-Wright at the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian. In the excerpt below, MacDonald-Wright talks about the Recreation mural and gives us insight into why he chose to depict these particular images. (Unfortunately, the History mural is not discussed in the interview.)
Betty Hoag: There are some details about the Santa Monica City Hall mural I want to ask you about . . . particularly the one where the polo-players are. Do you remember the man in polo jodhpurs standing in front, and then a man on a horse behind him with a mallet?
Stanton MacDonald-Wright: Yes, I remember.
BH: Did those have anything to do with Will Rogers and his polo field?
SM: Yes. And that airplane and the automobile are very distinctly related to Santa Monica. The biggest automobile road-races that they had in California at that time were held in Santa Monica . . . .
BH: On San Vicente Boulevard?
SM: I don't remember whether they were there or whether they were on Wilshire Boulevard, I forget. Also the first airplane field, Rogers Field, was built and given to Santa Monica by the son-in-law of this fellow about whom I told you, Gorham; he is depicted there. Now the plane business was important then. The Douglas building is shown in the mural. Douglas was the first great airplane-builder in the United States. And the tennis players! Remember, the best tennis players, the world champions, were all developed in Santa Monica: May Sutton and the Ryan girls and May Sutton's daughter and Tom Bundy (who was later her husband) played in the doubles, and so on. All the greatest tennis players. So all those were put in the mural for good reasons.
From this interview, we learn that the artist selected recreational and spectator sports that were huge visitor attractions and which drew people to Santa Monica. The images were chosen in the spirit of boosterism, and pride in recreational activities that made the City famous. MacDonald-Wright was a Santa Monica resident who was quite knowledgeable about the City's history and attractions.
Santa Monica Housing Element Update
State law requires the City of Santa Monica to update its Housing Element every eight years. For information on the Housing Element, please check out the Housing Element Update website or email HousingUpdate@smgov.net if you have any questions.
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