The City of Santa Monica will celebrate the opening of its Civic Center Parks this Saturday. The parks encompass roughly seven ocean-view acres in Santa Monica’s Civic Center, stretching from the footsteps of City Hall to Ocean Avenue.
The two new centrally located parks include Tongva Park, a six-acre oasis located between Ocean Avenue and Main Street, and Ken Genser Square, a new public gathering space in front of City Hall.
Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the team behind New York’s celebrated High Line, Tongva Park was inspired by the Southern California arroyo landscape of washes and ravines that once defined the site.
The park features an abundant and ambitious planting scheme, contemplative walking paths, soothing water elements, and two viewing platforms offering majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.
The park also includes a delightful play area, picnic tables, and a performance lawn for community events.
The name, Tongva Park, honors the area’s original inhabitants. Completing the arroyo theme, the two parks are linked by mesmerizing water elements that start as a single runnel flowing west from City Hall and dramatically increase in presence and volume as you move closer toward the ocean.
The celebration from 11 am to 4 pm will feature music, crafts, storytelling, food trucks, and tours of the park’s diverse horticulture and innovative design elements. Tongva culture will be presented through traditional stories, songs, indigenous dances, and ceremonies.
The Masters of Ceremonies will be Chapman University Professor Paul Apodaca and KUSC host Rich Caparella.
At 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm there will be large scale performance installation from String Theory using invented instruments and sonic sculpture.
Throughout the day attendees can visit the “Snap Yourself Photo Booth” for a souvenir of the Tongva Park visit. Food trucks including King Kone, Mandoline Grill, Rounds Burger, Waffles de Liege & India Jones will have items for sale throughout the day.
The celebration is free and open to all.
Free parking will be available from 10 am to 5 pm at the Civic Center Parking Structure, located at 333 Civic Center Drive (corner of Olympic Drive and 4th Street) and the Civic Center Parking Lot, located at 1821 Main Street (just north of Pico Boulevard).
Free bike valet will be available on Main Street between Colorado Avenue and Olympic Drive. Visit www.bigbluebus.com for bus routes to Tongva Park.
For more information about the park and community celebration, visit www.smgov.net/tongvapark or call 310.458.8350.
Schedule of events:
• 11:15-11:30 am: Procession of Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers from City Hall to Gathering Hill
• 11:30-11:45 am: Blessing by Andy Morales
• 11:45 am-12:15 pm: Park welcome by Mayor Pam O’Connor and James Corner
• 12:15-12:30 pm: Performance by the Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers
• 1-1:30 pm: Flute performance by Sarah Thomson & Gary Lemos
• 1:45-2 pm: Aztec Dance Performance by Cabeza de Vaca Cultura
• 2:15-2:30 pm: Kuruvungna Tongva Music by James Igo
• 3-3:30 pm: Chumash Storytelling with Ted and Dennis Garcia
• 3:45-4 pm: Closing performance by the Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers
• 12:30 pm, 1 pm & 1:30 pm
Designing Tongva Park with Lead Designer and Project Manager Sarah Weidner-Astheimer, James Corner Field Operations and Art Consultant Merry Norris
• 12:15 pm & 12:45 pm
Designing Tongva Park Construction with Lead Project Manager for Construction Matt Grunbaum, James Corner Field Operations and Peter Cotugno, Construction Project Manager, W. E. O’Neil Construction Company.
• 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm & 3:30 pm
The Ornamental Grasses of Tongva Park with Grass Ecology Expert John Greenlee, Greenlee & Associates.
• 12:15 pm, 1 pm & 2 pm
The Trees & Shrubs of Tongva Park with Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist Bob Perry.
• 12:30 pm & 1:30 pm
The Public Art of Tongva Park with Artist Inigo Manglano-Ovalle and City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Supervisor for Public Art Malina Moore.
• 12:15 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm & 3 pm
The Water Features of Tongva Park with Landscape Architect and Water Feature Designer Jim Garland and Landscape Architect and Designer Karen Adhikari, Fluidity Design Consultants Inc.