April is ArtsMonth in Santa Monica

April 11, 2018
by Shannon Daut

April is ArtsMonth in Santa Monica

The arts are an important part of the fabric of Santa Monica. During the April 10 City Council meeting, the City of Santa Monica participated in Arts for LA's ArtsMonth by presenting an ode to the role that the arts and creativity play in the City.

Performances during the Council meeting included a reading of an original poem and proclamation created especially for Santa Monica by Annenberg Community Beach House Artist-in-Residence Luis Alfaro, followed by Santa Monica Artist Fellow Dan Kwong performing with singer/songwriter Julia Paymer, a member of Downbeat 720, an open-mic program for high school students that the City has been offering for over sixteen years. These artists illustrate the significant value of the City's support for artists and the arts.

ArtsMonth 2018 Proclamation

Written by Luis Alfaro, Artist-In-Residence, Annenberg Community Beach House 

 

Whereas, art is the place of possibility;

 

Oh, Santa Monica,

wonderful beautiful refuge;

sanctuary for the free spirit,

the moneyed Yogi

and the poor poet,

the Volvo driven Montana Street shopper

and the bicycle pedaling student on Ocean Park Boulevard,

the Roof-Less denizen on 4th street,

and the organic Farmers Market chef,

and everyone who ever wanted the freedom

                to breathe your clean ten-degrees-cooler-than-anywhere-else air.

 

You are the spirit of California and living proof that Yoga Works.

 

Whereas, art lives on the edge;

 

You are the last stop on the Western Edge;

beautifully and precariously sitting at the Pacific Rim;

the tip at the edge of the world;

original home of the Tongva people;

a city of stories you have become.

 

There is nowhere else to go once someone arrives in Santa Monica.

Refuge, sanctuary, history.

 

Whereas, art is history;

 

Even your name is mystery, beauty and reverent.

 

We can’t decide how you came to be called.

Was it Gaspar de Portola who named you after the Feast Day of Saint Monica?

Or was it Juan Crespi, who named you after a pair of springs

                that reminded him of the tears of Santa Monica?

Can you debate this soon on a 2nd or 4th Tuesday on KCRW? 

 

Whereas, art is a sign;

 

You are a welcoming Santa Monica.

A billowing flag on the 10 Freeway,

A curve through a tunnel and discovery of palm tree, sky and cliff.

The elements of nature calling one back to our indigenous self.

 

Whereas, art is the home of artists;

 

And to no one have you been nicer than to artists;

the channelers, the interpreters, the translators of our culture.

The poet, the painter, the dancer, the performance artist,

the open mic’r, the DJ and the folk singer on 3rd.

You give refuge to those who gives us a mirror of who we are.

 

You gave Bertolt Brecht exile.

Tennessee Williams wrestled his demons and wrote The Glass Menagerie on Ocean Avenue,

Charles Bukowski sipped drinks here,

John Fante asked the dust,

Raymond Chandler’s alter ego, Philip Marlowe, solved murders in what we called Bay City.

Wanda Coleman dug into the soul of a city.

Santa Monica, you are the city of expression.

 

Whereas, art is personal history;

 

Once, Santa Monica,

I was a pimply faced bartender at the Santa Monica Civic.

I popped open kegs for Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, among others,

Afterward, I would walk down to the pier

and dream of last stops on the Big Blue Bus of success.

I wrote poems on your streets

and I sang the song of the ocean breeze and air guitar.

I thank you Santa Monica for the space to be and become.

 

Whereas, art is healing;

  

Picasso once said that ‘the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls’.

Every day, I ponder the creative spirit of this world city as I sit still on the rush hour going east.

See, Santa Monica? You even give us meditation time.

 

Whereas, art is community;

  

In this month when we celebrate the We and Us of our stories.

The links that make us one city.

When we rejoice in the collective force of good will and desire to make a better citizenry.

When we come together to remember who we once were,

and who we are now,

and who we imagine we will be tomorrow,

 

Santa Monica, you make the space for us to bang the drum circle,

finish the mural,

tell stories

and learn to fly the kite,

if only to imagine ourselves weightless in space and flight in your open blue sky.

 

Whereas, art is people;

  

A city is only as good as its residents.

And people are what make a story.

Characters are what make feelings.

And that is where art starts;

People, emotion, story.

 

Whereas, art is about the weirdo;

  

A city that honors its past, present and future is health.

A city that celebrates its people is a city of revolution.

And a city that celebrates art and culture,

Invites the black sheep and the weirdo.

The loner with the chapbook.

The guy who always has a song in his head.

The seeming outsiders.

Whose lives have been lived as poems.

The ones who give us back to ourselves

to reflect on who we are.

The dreamers.

 

Whereas, art is about tomorrow;

  

May you never stop changing Santa Monica.

Long may you dream.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, TED WINTERER, MAYOR of the City of Santa Monica, on behalf of the Members of the City Council, do hereby proclaim that:

The City of Santa Monica believes that art and culture are essential to the lives of all our citizens and that expression in its most organic and truthful form makes for a healthy government built by and for the people. On this day, we proudly support the diversity of arts in Santa Monica and proclaim this ArtsMonth for all.


To see a recording of the meeting, visit youtube.com. ArtsMonth is an initiative of Arts for LA, a voice for the arts in Greater Los Angeles.

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