February 12, 2024 1:09 PM
by Tati Simonian
In 2023, the city embarked on a months-long community engagement process of meetings, events, activities and discussion centered around the Reframe: City Hall Mural initiative, a deep dive into the history of, context around and possible future options about the depictions and absences conveyed in the Stanton Macdonald-Wright mural in the lobby of historic City Hall.
The goal of the community engagement process was to produce an artistic response that engaged with the full complexity of Santa Monica’s histories and communities, share learning about the mural and understand community perspectives.
These conversations were distilled into a robust summary report and resulting recommendations by facilitating consultants Meztli Projects. These recommendations will be presented at the Feb. 13 City Council meeting for further discussion and direction.
The report provides a deep dive into the actions taken so far and possible outcomes for Council consideration. The recommended actions include a variety of ideas, including commissioning new artwork and interpretive signage for the City Hall lobby, developing educational materials around the issues posed by the project, and other actions that spread out across the city.
The process to take a deeper look at these murals and engage the public in a dialogue expands the work already being done by the city and its Office of Equity and Inclusion to advance the city’s strategic priority of Racial Justice, Equity & Social Diversity.
Council meeting agendas and instructions for public comment are available here.
Background and resources
For project details on Reframe: City Hall Mural, click here.
Meztli Projects is a collaborative arts and culture organization that includes artists, researchers, organizers and advocates. Meztli centers Indigeneity in their staff, in the ways they approach community connection and in the perspective they bring to projects. That work includes using arts-based strategies to support Native and Indigenous artists and people impacted by systems of oppression. For Phase I, the Meztli project facilitation team consisted of Joel Garcia, Robin Garcia Ph.D., Susannah Laramee Kidd Ph.D. and Rosten Woo.
Phase II of the Reframe: City Hall Mural project will consist of implementing the recommendations approved by the City Council and, commencing later in 2024, will be led by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs and other city divisions.
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Public Information Officer