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New Santa Monica Park Pays Tribute To A Once-Thriving Black Community

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The City of Santa Monica opened a new community park this week — and it includes a brand new public art installation by local artist April Banks.

Banks' work, "A Resurrection in Four Stanzas," joins a series of interpretive panels at Historic Belmar Park explaining the site's history as a once-thriving African American community.

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A rendering of April Banks' art installation (Courtesy City of Santa Monica)
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Shannon Daut is the Manager of Cultural Affairs in Santa Monica.

"This neighborhood was raised due to eminent domain in the 1950s so this is the opportunity to acknowledge and commemorate this history of displacement. A lot of Santa Monicans and others don't know what this site used to be."

The decision to raze the area was included in Santa Monica's first master plan, adopted in 1957. That plan called for flattening the Belmar neighborhood to make room for the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and other public areas. In addition, the route for the 10 Freeway was planned for majority minority residential neighborhoods in the Pico area.

The city's Recreation and Parks Commission initally voted to name the open space Belmar Park — historic was later added following widespread community requests.

You can register to join a virtual grand opening for the park tomorrow, Sunday. Feb 28, at 3 p.m. via Zoom.

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