RE/CITE: Community Talk and Tea with April Banks

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Location: 18th Street Arts Center, 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Join Belmar History + Art artist April Bank in a new edition of her ongoing Tea Afar series, which brings people together for conversation.

Tea Afar is a nomadic storytelling experience that exchanges traditions across borders. Over tea, we share stories, build empathy and strengthen community. For this edition we'll focus on the history of the Belmar neighborhood and how African Americans migrated and built their lives in Santa Monica. The face of this community has changed dramatically over time. We will celebrate, reminisce and imagine the future... with our bellies full!

Optional: come to the annual Greens Festival at Virginia Avenue Park on Saturday 2/29; BH+A is hosting a dance workshop with d. Sabela Grimes at 12:30pm and a poetry reading at 12:45pm.

Save the date on Saturday 3/14 for Family Archive Day at the Thelma Terry center at Virginia Avenue Park, where you can bring your family photos, documents and memorabilia to share or document for posterity and, if you desire, include in the Belmar History + Art digital archive.

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April Banks was raised a vegetarian in the woods of Virginia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton University in Virginia in 1996. After migrating west, she obtained a Master of Science in Environmental Design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1999. She lived in Oakland for 13 years, spent a year living abroad in Colombia, before returning to Los Angeles in 2014. Her unconventional career interwines the worlds of art, design, architecture and social practice. With years of experience designing exhibitions for museums, she understands the challenge of creating public engagement opportunities. As an artist she has developed a style that is visually enticing and thought provoking. By combining the two she develops artwork and design solutions that are memorable multi-sensory experiences. Learn more about April?s work at aprilbanks.com.

18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the US, and the largest in Southern California. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, 18th Street supports artists from around the globe to imagine, research, and develop significant, meaningful new artworks and share them with the public. We strive to provide artists the space and time to take risks, to foster the ideal environment for artists and the public to directly engage, and to create experiences and partnerships that foster positive social change.

Santa Monica Cultural Affairs has embarked on Belmar History + Art, a collaborative project to commemorate the history of the African American residents and business owners of the Belmar neighborhood, which was formerly situated in what is now the Civic Center campus. Artist April Banks and project historian Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson have been tasked with developing art and interpretive elements and an educational program centered at the new Civic Center Multipurpose Field, which is set to open in summer 2020.

This tea is one of several community events hosted by April Banks, who is utilizing public engagement activities and historical research to daylight historical injustices and celebrate the rich legacy of African American contributions to Santa Monica life.

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