Left: former Belmar neighborhood aerial survey view, Santa Monica Public Library Digital Image Archives.
Center: Peters Sisters, Ocean Park residents, ca. 1940s. Private Collection.
Belmar History + Art February Events
Drink tea, share your thoughts, and get moving at the Greens Festival!

Belmar History + Art (BH+A) is a civic commemoration project that reveals community history, honors the former Belmar neighborhood at the Civic Center campus, and celebrates African American contributions to Santa Monica’s historical development and cultural life.

Artist April Banks and project historian Dr. Alison Rose Jefferson are conducting research and have begun community engagement to inform the creation of educational and art elements for the new Civic Center Multipurpose Sports Field. Community activities include workshops, discussions, community meals, one-on-one interviews with community members, school visits, oral histories and cultural tours. The work created may also serve as a reference for future social justice projects in Santa Monica. We hope you will join us!

Learn more and share your views here
Tea Afar

RE/CITE: Community Talk & Tea with April Banks

Date: Sunday February 16, 2:00-4:00 p.m. 
Location: 18th Street Arts Center
18th Street Campus
1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tea Afar is a nomadic storytelling experience that exchanges traditions across borders. Over tea, we share stories, build empathy and strengthen community. For this edition we'll focus on the history of the Belmar neighborhood and how African Americans migrated and built their lives in Santa Monica. The face of this community has changed dramatically over time. Bring your family stories to share and meet your neighbors! We will celebrate, reminisce and imagine the future... Free RSVP

Movement, Displacement, Reclaiming...

RE/SITE: Dancing in Place with d. Sabela grimes 

Date: Saturday, February 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m. 
Location: Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave, Santa Monica CA 90404

Dancer and choreographer d. Sabela grimes leads us through collective movement that explores shared space and our physical presence. What does the “body as archive” mean? How can you embody community in your body? We’ll investigate and move through these ideas, but more importantly, we’ll have fun dancing to the beat of live drummers! Everyone is welcome. Generations that dance together, stay together, or something like that. Let’s move! Free RSVP

Whether your goal is to break a sweat, meet your fellow festival-goers or shine in a dance crew, all are welcome to participate in this special workshop, offered as part of both the Belmar History + Art project and the annual Greens Festival at Virginia Avenue Park. The festival is a co-production of Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica Farmers Markets and Pico Branch Library and celebrates Black History, Life, Food and Culture. Enjoy crafts, cooking demos, live music, dancing and more from 10am-2pm!

Optional: stay after the workshop, show off your dance moves and teach others so we can all dance together! Participants will also be invited to perform a group dance at the grand opening celebration at the new Civic Sports Field in summer 2020. 

Join us for the Proclamation!

Date: Tuesday, January 28, 6:30 p.m. 
Location: Civic Auditorium, East Wing, 1855 Main St. 

All are invited to attend the January 28, 2020 Santa Monica City Council meeting for the Black History Month proclamation. Additionally, City staff will give a brief presentation on the City's Black History Month events. The items will be presented no earlier than 6:30 p.m. Please note that the City Council meeting will be held at the Civic Auditorium as the City Council Chamber is undergoing upgrades.

Other events: 

Divine Nine: Commitment to Community Service

Date: Tuesday, February 4, 10:30 a.m. 
Location: in front of Santa Monica City Hall, 1655 Main St. 
The City of Santa Monica kicks off Black History Month on Rosa Parks Day with an event celebrating the historical significance of Black fraternities and sororities in African-American life, and their strong commitment to community service. Local leaders will speak about their Divine Nine experiences, and there will be a step show. Refreshments will be served. Divine Nine members are encouraged to wear their Greek paraphernalia.

Celebrating Black Excellence Community Mixer

Date: Tuesday, February 25, 11:00 a.m. 
Location: Third Street Promenade, between Santa Monica and Arizona 
Join us for a community mixer honoring Black professionals in Santa Monica from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Third Street Promenade (between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue). Refreshments will be served.

The City of Santa Monica's Black History Month Committee is accepting nominations for professionals who will be honored at the mixer. Nominees must live or work in Santa Monica. Nominations must include a few sentences about how the nominee demonstrates outstanding leadership or service. The deadline for submissions is February 15. 

Submit nominations
Last chance & Upcoming Belmar events

Join us this Saturday 1/25/20 at 3pm for a talk about Our Family History at the Santa Monica Main Library 2nd floor Multipurpose Room. In March/April we'll be hosting a Family Archive Day, a night of outdoor projections, and a community meal. For more information about these and future events, visit

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City of Santa Monica
Santa Monica City Hall
1685 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
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