SANTA MONICA—On Saturday, April 29, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the 18th Street Arts Center will host the Pico Block Party to launch its new Culture Mapping 90404 program, which aims to celebrate the cultural assets of the Pico neighborhood.
Founded in 1988, the 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the country and the largest program of its kind in Southern California. Artists are encouraged to create new work and take risks to develop their practice. According to their website, 18th Street’s mission is to “provoke dialogue through contemporary art-making.”
Exhibitions, public events, and residencies of varying lengths and purposes support this goal and forge connections between artists from a range of locations. The Public Events and Exhibition Program includes Artists Labs series that explore engagement in the public sphere and projects that revolve around the community, such as the Culture Mapping 90404 program.
After almost 30 years in the Pico neighborhood, 18th Street seeks to bring focus to its cultural vibrancy through Culture Mapping 90404. The collaborative project between Santa Monica locals and the Alliance of California Traditional Artists (ACTA) strives to map the cultural and historical treasures of the neighborhood. Cultural assets include people, places, events, and organizations recognized as anchors within a community, according to the program’s website.
The mapping project began in 2015 and remains a progressive effort, with a collection of living resources that will grow over time to create a portrait of the Pico neighborhood. Volunteers have tracked about 40 assets, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. The program aims to collect up to 100 resources for the map, to show that Santa Monica culture extends beyond the beach and tourism.
The campus-wide festival will take place at 1639 18th Street in Santa Monica. Events will include a dialogue on embodied intelligences, original salsa and Latin music by Flaco, a Cabeza de Vaca Cultural Dance Performance, family art-making workshops, and artist open studios, among other events. Santa Monica food trucks and a children’s area and bounce house will be available. The festival is free to attendees, but prior registration is requested.