The City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division’s next round of Art of Recovery projects will be implemented throughout Santa Monica in the coming weeks and months. A variety of projects by Los Angeles-based artists will be unveiled and will focus on celebrating Black History Month, commemorating lives lost to COVID-19, fostering connection and sharing the experiences of physical distancing over the last year, and giving life to imagined written choreographies from inside the walls of the California Rehabilitation Center.
Art of Recovery was launched in November of 2020 by Cultural Affairs as part of the City of Santa Monica’s Economic Recovery Task Force to harness the power of the arts in the City’s economic, community, and health recovery efforts by funding artistic works and creative projects that strengthen and connect Santa Monica.
Since then, local artists have been transforming some of the City’s most iconic landmarks and public spaces into vibrant works of art that focus on three main priorities: economic recovery, community connectedness & restorative justice, and public health & safety. Plain concrete safety barriers lining the al fresco dining and retail experience along Main Street were transformed into public galleries of art, storefronts along the Third Street Promenade were reimagined as holiday works of art, and the Santa Monica Pier’s iconic Merry-Go-Round windows were brought to life by the famous Bob Baker Marionette Theater and their puppets.
This month, in partnership with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM), public art installations created by local Black artists will celebrate Black History Month by honoring the Black experience and contributions made by African-Americans and those of African descent on Third Street Promenade. Three art installations by A Brilliant Dummy, SHpLinton, and Mira Gandy will highlight the history, diversity, achievements, and creativity of Santa Monica’s Black community and will be on view from Wednesday, February 10 to Monday, March 12, 2021.
Bergamot Station Arts Center features the art installation Rose River Memorial, a project initiated by Building Bridges Art Exchange in collaboration with other Bergamot businesses. The art project was conceived of by renowned experiential artist Marcus Lutyens. This exhibition is a collective memorial composed of felt roses made by community members. Each rose honors and acknowledges someone from the Westside of Los Angeles lost to COVID-19. Currently the exhibition is indoors only, but come March, the exhibition will also be featured outdoors in the parking lot. The Bergamot Station Arts Center installation will become part of a national installation, planned for 2022, which will commemorate all of the American lives lost. The installation is free and open to the public by appointment. Community members are invited to contribute to the art piece by picking up a free rose making kit and making roses that will be added to the installation. To make an appointment or to collect a rose making kit, visit Building Bridges Art Exchange Rose River Memorial website.
In multiple locations across the City, interactive prompts can be found painted on walkways, including the Pier and Virginia Avenue Park, with a call for creative responses via a Pass-it-On Instagram challenge. “What’s 6 Feet?”, a project by Marni Gittleman, ideator and creative consultant specializing in community engagement, is a community resiliency and recovery campaign to honor, show and share experiences of 6 feet apart, foster connection and stop the spread of COVID-19. All are invited to participate by picking a prompt, replying to it (e.g. with words, pictures, measurements, art), taking a photo of the response, then submitting it by Direct Message (DM) to @whats6feetInstagram. Participants may even see their words/art applied to 6’ apart floor stickers. Find the prompts and more details @whats6feet on Instagram.
Lastly, “Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic” is an extension of artist Suchi Branfman’s five-year choreographic residency within the California Rehabilitation Center. When the California state prison system shut down programming and visitation due to COVID-19, the incarcerated dancers began sending out imagined written choreographies from their bunks to the outside world. This project will bring to life these beautifully crafted dances, written inside prison, in collaboration with a remarkable cast of dancers, community activists and formerly incarcerated narrators/facilitators. Opportunities to see the work virtually will be announced in the coming weeks.
Throughout the coming year, additional projects across the City will continue to be announced and unveiled on a rolling basis. All Los Angeles County-based artist collectives and artists at all stages of their career, as well as businesses and nonprofits with an official address within Santa Monica city limits are eligible to apply. Businesses and artists can apply with a proposal collaboratively or independently, and Cultural Affairs can provide matchmaking to connect artists, business groups, and community groups. Submissions will be reviewed and implemented through June 30, 2021.
For more information on Art of Recovery, view past projects or to submit a Letter of Intent, please visit santamonica.gov/arts/artofrecovery. To receive notices of arts opportunities from Cultural Affairs, such as programs like this, fellowships, residencies, calls for proposals, and more, sign up at bit.ly/ArtSaMoOpportunities, and click on ‘Artist Opportunities’. Santa Monica remains committed to the health and wellness of the community and is taking extra precautions to ensure the community feels welcome and safe. When visiting Santa Monica, face masks are required and please practice social distancing. Art of Recovery proposals must adhere to the County of Los Angeles Public Health safety guidelines that are in place at the time of the application.