Justice, Equity & Diversity: City Council approves recommendations for the future of City Hall Mural

February 14, 2024 3:16 PM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2024) – The City Council Tuesday voted to move forward with 10 actions arising from the Reframe: City Hall Mural project, clearing the way for new artwork and educational materials to acknowledge and contextualize the complex history, depictions and absences in the Stanton Macdonald-Wright mural in the City Hall lobby. 

Recommendations proposed by consultant Meztli Projects and affirmed by City Council focused on two areas: concrete changes to and around the mural display, and, beyond the mural itself, equity-focused initiatives to further the city’s work around the strategic priority of Racial Justice, Equity & Social Diversity.

The first slate of actions focused on the mural are:

  1. Commission additional artwork(s) for the City Hall lobby to address the harms of the past and create a welcoming environment.
  2. Commission new interpretive signage to accompany both mural panels in the City Hall lobby that incorporates diverse perspectives.
  3. Ensure Santa Monica’s public art and commemorative landscape center and incorporate equity and belonging, starting with assessing existing artworks and monuments.
  4. Create educational materials about the murals to share with the community in collaboration with schools and other community partners.

City staff in the Recreation and Arts Department’s Cultural Affairs Division are set to start implementing these actions this year, beginning with crafting an inclusive request for proposal process for new City Hall artwork(s).

The longer term, equity focused actions are:

  1. Expand training around diversity, equity and inclusion for city staff.
  2. Adopt a citywide land and territory acknowledgement initiative.
  3. Improve representation on Santa Monica committees.
  4. Explore and facilitate land back in Santa Monica.
  5. Facilitate additional relationships and support for ongoing work at Kuruvungna Springs.

In addition to Meztli Projects’ recommendations, the City Council directed staff to pursue a 10th action item focused on healing:

  1. Consider a restorative justice approach to repair harm of past actions of the city of Santa Monica impacting diverse groups from various heritages and cultures.

Many of these equity focused recommendations are already in progress, and all will be incorporated into the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team’s Citywide Equity Plan. The plan is set to be finalized and presented to the City Council later this year.

Tuesday’s council action follows a year-long community engagement process of meetings, events, activities and discussion known as the Reframe: City Hall Mural project. The goals of this project were 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 the above resulting recommendations by facilitating consultants Meztli Projects, an Indigenous-based collaborative arts and culture organization that includes artists, researchers, organizers and advocates.

The Reframe: City Hall Mural project was created as part of the larger Acknowledge + Reframe Together, an initiative to produce public art and civic memory projects that center community voices to create a more just and equitable Santa Monica. The initiative seeks to bring forward and listen to the voices and experiences of communities of color that have been historically excluded from representation in civic spaces.

To read the report and learn more about the initiative, click here.

To view Tuesday’s City Council discussion, click here.

Media Contact

Lauren Howland
Communications and public information manager


Arts, Culture & Fun, Historic Preservation, The Arts


Recreation and Arts