Indigenous Now – Multiple Artist Event in Santa Monica’s Tongva Park

May 2, 2019

Indigenous Now – Multiple Artist Event in Santa Monica’s Tongva Park

WHEN: Saturday, May 11, 2019, noon – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Tongva Park, 1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

SANTA MONICA, Calif – On Saturday, May 11, 2019, Santa Monica Cultural Affairs presents the second annual Indigenous Now, a day of dance, music, spoken word, and visual art by Indigenous artists based in Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and Santa Fe. The event draws on the theme of Kuuyam, the Tongva word for “guest.”

An opening blessing at noon launches the day, which will feature art installations and performances which repeat at intervals over the course of the four-hour event. Guests are invited to move through the park freely encountering each performance and installation at their own pace. Participating artists include Dancing Earth, with performers Snowflake Towers (Yaqui/Tzeltal), Natalie Benally (Dine/Zuni/Ute), and Dakota Camacho (Matao/Chamoru), singer-songwriter Kelly Caballero (Tongva) and hip-hop recording artist Jessa Calderon (Tongva). An exhibition of artist Cara Romero’s (Chemehuevi) billboard-sized photographs will be on view at multiple locations throughout the park, fresh from the 2019 Desert X exhibition in Coachella Valley. Legendary artist L. Frank (Tongva) will exhibit a new sculptural installation commissioned especially for Indigenous Now. 

Free and open to all indigenous peoples and everyone who wishes to learn how to be a good guest. For more information about the program and the concept of Kuuyam, visit

The Tongva peoples are the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, Southern Channel Islands). There are a number of names for groups of indigenous peoples of this area, includingGabrielino-Tongva Tribe, the Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe, the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians, Kizh, and others.


DANCING EARTH inspires creativity and cultural consciousness through community art practice, energetic dance training workshops, site specific rituals and full-length eco-productions. They were named by Dance Magazine as “One of the Top 25 to Watch” and are recipients of the National Museum of American Indian’s Expressive Arts Award.

L. FRANK is a Tongva-Ajachmem artist, writer, tribal scholar, cartoonist, and Indigenous language activist. A resident of Santa Rosa, CA, she has won awards from the American Association of University Women, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Fund for Folk Culture. Frank is active in two-spirit culture educating and spreading awareness of issues.

CARA ROMERO is a Chemehuevi Indian Tribal Citizen and a born visual storyteller. Her distinctive lens is shaped by years of study, a visceral Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and personal experience.

KELLY CABALLERO uses her urban-Indigenous upbringing to inspire songs and stories of life, love and resistance. She lends her voice to support Indigenous communities and the work of sacred cultural site preservation.

JESSA CALDERON represents the Tongva and Chumash Nations. Jessa is a singer, rapper and songwriter born and raised in the San Fernando valley. She began writing poetry at ten but soon after discovered rap was her forte. Jessa recently recorded her first Hip-Hop & R&B album.


Santa Monica Cultural Affairs brings the City’s art scene to life for residents and visitors by supporting engaging and accessible cultural events for all ages throughout the year. Cultural Affairs nurtures local arts organizations, promotes artist involvement in the community, manages the landmark Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and presents and produces innovative programs citywide at the Annenberg Community Beach House, the historic Miles Playhouse, 1450 Ocean and in the city’s parks, enriching Santa Monica’s reputation as an international cultural destination.


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