September 27, 2022 5:22 PM
by Naomi Okuyama
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs’ Acknowledge + Reframe Together (Reframe) initiative centers community voices in the creation of public art and civic memory projects that reflect the values of Santa Monica today. Reframe’s 2022-2024 focus is a public process to consider the meaning and impact of the Historic City Hall lobby mural by Stanton Macdonald Wright entitled, “History of Santa Monica and the Bay District.” This project comes at a time when, nationwide, cities and communities are questioning the histories and futures represented by monuments, public art and civic memory projects of the past.
In the summer of 2022, the artist and muralist Glenna Avila was commissioned as part of this project to lead workshops with local elementary, middle and high school youth. Students discussed the artworks at Historic City Hall and City Hall East and considered questions about representation and belonging. The result is a collection of original artworks reflecting young people’s thoughts on their home and communities. View the posters here, and watch a short video about them as well; look here.
Stop by Historic City Hall during business hours through the end of 2022 to view the posters, and add your thoughts to the conversation here.
“It was a pleasure to work with so many young people (and the staff members who accompanied them) who clearly understood the issues and concerns at hand and were eager to join a discussion, even when it was difficult. The students were astute in their observations and analyses. They were willing to discuss the inequities that they found, whether based on notions of race or gender or otherwise… This is an important moment in time to learn about our histories, consider how people are represented, erased, or misrepresented, and question perspectives that may not reflect who we are now.” – Glenna Avila
Glenna Avila is an artist and educator dedicated to the intersection of art, community, and youth. She grew up in Santa Monica, receiving her BA in Art from UCLA and her MA in Art from the University of New Mexico. She worked as an Art Center Director in a number of Los Angeles communities for the City of Los Angeles, and as Director of the California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership program for 28 years. She has painted over 75 public murals, the majority of which are collaborations with youth and communities, and her work has been exhibited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, Self Help Graphics, Plaza de la Raza, and many other venues. Her best-known mural is LA Freeway Kids, painted on the 101 Freeway in downtown LA, commissioned by the LA Olympic Organizing Committee in 1984.
Cultural Affairs Supervisor