Historic Belmar Park Becomes Santa Monica’s Newest Open Space and Belmar Art + History Project Expands
August 26, 2020 2:45 PM
At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council selected a name for Santa Monica’s newest open space, Historic Belmar Park, commemorating the site that was home to a thriving African American community until the 1950s. Construction is nearly complete on the 3.5-acre multipurpose sports field complex adjacent to the Civic Auditorium. The field space will open once construction is complete and the Coastal Commission approves its opening.
“We look forward to welcoming local youth to our community’s newest space for recreation and historical reflection – Historic Belmar Park,” said Community Services Director Andy Agle. “Art has the power to connect communities, illuminate cultures, and reanimate histories that society has tried to erase. We look forward to creatively coming together in a virtual celebration showcasing A Resurrection in Four Stanzas.”
The artwork and interpretive panel design by artist April Banks and historian Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson unveiled earlier this summer is part of the Belmar History + Art project. The artwork was approved by the Arts Commission in June 2020. The Recreation and Parks Commission acted to recommend Belmar Park as the name at its June 2020 meeting. Council added ‘Historic’ to the name per community recommendations through the Belmar History + Art project, marking the site as an important part of Santa Monica history.
As part of Council’s action, in 2021 the Belmar History + Art project will expand to explore and tell the story of Bay Street Beach, a popular destination for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Phase Two of the History + Art project will use Percent for Art funds generated as part of the North Beach Trails Improvement project. Bay Street Beach is a 53-acre historic district, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.
“Historic Belmar Park, the new artwork by artist April Banks, and the historical exhibition created using Dr. Jefferson’s research will share the history of the Belmar neighborhood across generations of Santa Monicans,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Through the Belmar History + Art project, now expanding to Bay Street Beach, we continue our work to lift up Black history and amplify Black voices across our community.”
To learn more, visit https://www.santamonica.gov/arts/belmar.