The Bill Medley Auditorium hallway gets a fresh coat of paint
Through the Emmy award winning artist, Dionisio Ceballos, SAHS is embracing high art to exhibit in the foyer of the well-trafficked Bill Medley Auditorium, connecting to the artist village of Downtown as a destination for arts and culture in Santa Ana. The artist, who goes by Dio, plans to capture the pre-hispanic iconography of our local culture as shown in the attached, and will infuse the spirit, energy and imagery of the students, staff, parents and community who cross the threshold into this historic and distinctive school through a planned, yet intuitive organic process to really connect with the meaning of the oldest school in Santa Ana. As the principal, Jeff Bishop says, “As Santa Ana High School goes, so goes the city.”
Dio is well known for his work on the film "Frida"
Of his many credits, Dio worked on the film “Frida” which received 6 Academy-award nominations, including best art direction. Dio studied the techniques of Frida and painted all the Frida work represented in the movie. He exhibits some of his work at the esteemed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is a multidisciplinary artist known for his murals, and is also a screenwriter and animated film artist. He works in the U.S. and Mexico and brings some of the unique color palette, imagery, and tradition so much a part of Mexican art and infuses it with his study of light and atmosphere to make his pieces current, relevant and timeless.
Dio's work holds deep meaning
Dio represents the meta-disciplines and entrepreneurial skill-sets required by artists today. His story is of a path that meanders from intent and, yet, magically and perfectly builds a unique skill set that allows one to meet the immediate and rapidly evolving demands of industry when they appear. He demonstrates the risk-taking required of creatives today and a willingness to say “yes” in the moment, equipped with the resources and grit to figure it out and not only succeed, but thrive. He is open and vulnerable, sharing his thoughts and process so that others can learn from his work and find their own voice within their own process. Through his work, he demonstrates the joy that art brings to visually stimulate thought and energy, stir emotion and conversation, and activate community. It’s another way of capturing the adage of, “If these walls could talk.” As the mural unfolds and takes on a life of its own, there will be much talking about this visual and literal transformation of Santa Ana High School to an arts-focused, arts-centered school in the process of developing an arts school within the bigger context of the school while ensconcing all students in an arts-rich visual environment, because the arts literally do touch all aspects of our lives, directly and indirectly.
Read more in the OC Register: "How Frida Kahlo and Jack Daniels led to a giant mural at Santa Ana High"
About SanArts at Santa Ana High School
Santa Ana High School (SAHS) is undergoing a transformation to celebrate the history and culture that reigns the halls of this iconic school while capturing the school’s rich heritage through visual culture. It’s a metaphorical representation of the work going on around SanArts, the next generation arts conservatory at Santa Ana High School.
Story by Robyn MacNair
Dia de los Muertos is one of the most popular events celebrated across the city of Santa Ana. From Downtown to MainPlace Mall, the Bowers Museum to Fairhaven Cemetary and even Valley High School, the celebration of life and death resonates with residents and visitors each year.
Viva La Vida - October 21
Viva la Vida is the first shot-across-the-bow signaling the arrival of Dia de los Muertos season in Santa Ana. Founded by Calacas Cafe owner Rudy Cordova, Viva la Vida's modern take on the holiday included a Lucha Libre theme and a new location in the heart of DTSA. Visit their Facebook page to see pictures of the event which was nicely paired with the annual DTSA 5k Run.
Dia de los Muertos at MainPlace Mall - October 28
MainPlace Mall hosts a popular Dia de los Muertos celebration each year that keeps getting better and better. Don't miss the main stage at Macy's Court with live performances of indigenous Mexican music by Martin Espino, Folklorico dance by Ballet Folklorico Raices, Santa Ana High School's award-winning Mariachi Band, and music and dance by OCCTAC.
The celebration continues with kid's coloring activities, face painting, cookie decorating (while supplies last), an art show featuring work by Santa Ana High School Unified School District students, and a photo booth! Visit their Facebook Event Page and invite your friends.
Valley de los Muertos - November 1
The talented students and teachers at Valley High School are collaborating once again for an awesome free community event that features art, food, dance, banda, altars and mariachi. Show the Falcons some love and stop by for a great time 5-9pm. More information on Facebook.
Dia de los Muertos at Fairhaven Cemetery - November 1
Join Fairhaven Cemetery as they celebrate and remember those we have lost. Their service held at Waverley Chapel includes live music, dance performances and traditional refreshments. More info on Facebook.
15th Annual Noche de Altares: “Quinceañera” - Nov. 4
Noche de Altares is consistently ranked Santa Ana's favorite event drawing nearly 40,000 visitors to downtown to see over 100 altars lining Calle Cuatro (4th Street). According to the organizers, "For one night, families, students, community organizations, activists, artists, and businesses are invited to build an altar in memory of a deceased loved one or to bring awareness to a social issue. By making altars, participants are inviting fellow community members into their own life and passions for a loved one. Over the years we have seen altars bring strangers together through mutual compassion, understanding and dialogue. Families reunite to remember and honor their loved ones." Learn more on Facebook.
Day of the Dead Festival at Bowers Museum - Nov. 5
Close out the season with the annual Day of the Dead event at the Bowers Museum during their monthly installment of Sunday free family festivals. The Bowers puts on a show-stopper to honor our departed ones with music, dance and art. Sponsored by The Nicholas Endowment. Share the event on Facebook.
Story by Ryan Smolar
Santa Ana-based graphic designer, Mika Denny, is asking for your vote in a logo design contest that ends at 11pm tonight!
Mika's logo design was selected among 70 submissions as one of 5 finalists in a logo contest for the Dana Point Festival of Whales. Now, the public can vote on the best logo design and Mika already has over 600 votes. However, he is still trailing behind the first-place logo by just a few votes, and he is asking for support.
Vote for Mika's design (shown above) by visiting the Dana Point Festival of Whales Facebook Voting Contest page on Facebook.
Story by Ryan Smolar
The City of Santa Ana Arts & Culture Commission will convene today (as it always has) at 4:30pm at the City Council Chambers. But today, they will be deciding -- is there a better time for art?
The Commission will decide on one of three staff proposals: to change the time of their meetings to a) 4:30pm (no change), b) 5:00pm or c) 5:30pm. If you have thoughts on the matter, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the meeting today at 4:30pm. Parking is validated.
Other items to be discussed today are updates on the City's Arts & Culture Masterplan Steering Committee implementation and a review of the City's recent application to a pilot program that would designate Santa Ana a California State Cultural District.
At the Commission's last meeting in July, they elevated Sandra Pena, Ward 6 to the Chair of the Commission and Jessica Cha, Ward 5 to Vice Chair, they discussed a downtown public art project, and they inaugurated a search for an Arts & Culture administrator. Applications are due by August 24th.
Story by Ryan Smolar.
The City of Santa Ana is hiring an Arts and Culture Specialist to help implement the City's new Arts and Culture Master Plan. This is a critical position in one of Southern California's most creative cities. The ideal candidate is passionate, knoweldgeable, results-oriented and eager to work with diverse stakeholders as a linchpin connector for arts, community, city and culture.
If interested, learn more here or read the job posting below!
Arts and Culture Specialist
City of Santa Ana
Santa Ana, CA
$58,728.00 - $78,696.00 Annually, DOQ
The City of Santa Ana is looking for individuals who are results-oriented, possess great attitudes, demonstrate creativity and innovation, work efficiently, show a record of success and have a PASSION for public service. Having the best employees provides the best service to the community.
Under general supervision, plans, implements and maintains the City's Cultural Arts Programs as part of the Santa Ana Arts and Culture Master Plan, and acts as staff liaison to the Arts and Culture Commission.
Essential Functions Include But Are Not Limited To:
Serves as City liaison to the Arts and Culture Commission to assist the Commission in developing and implementing artistic and cultural projects and programs consistent with the short, mid and long-term goals of the City's Arts and Culture Master Plan; provides staff assistance to the Arts and Culture Commission by developing and posting meeting agendas, facilitates meetings and maintains Commission records; works with the arts community, non-profit agencies and other community-based organizations to develop opportunities to promote arts, culture and a variety of quality-of-life activities in the city; serves as a liaison between representatives in the arts, youth and education fields and the City to develop a vision and action plan for arts awareness and the promotion of youth and educational programming; establishes and promotes public art programs. Makes oral presentations to arts organizations and other public and private organizations. Evaluates programs and ongoing projects for effectiveness and efficiency. Identifies, seeks, submits applications for and manages local, state, and federal grants and other funding sources for arts activities; monitors and reports on expenditures, oversees the budget designated for the City's Arts and Culture Master Plan and coordinates communication with funding sources and recipient arts organizations. Performs other related functions as assigned.
Bachelor's degree in art, arts administration, business administration or a closely related field. Two years of experience in the administration of arts or art-related programs or any combination of education and experience that provides the desirable knowledge, skills and abilities.
DESIRABLE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES
Knowledge of: principles and practices of arts programming and management; grant writing; public information principles and techniques; public administration including public policy; local, state and national arts programs, organizations and funding sources; principles and techniques of contract monitoring and evaluation; budget process and controls.
Ability to: develop, implement, administer and evaluate arts programs; keep abreast of current developments in the arts, including arts programs, organizations and funding sources; prepare and secure funding; prepare and present oral and written reports; design and carry out an effective public relations program; supervise, direct and train volunteers; establish and maintain effective working relationships with City officials, artists, art-related organizations and the general public; effectively represent and promote the arts in the City of Santa Ana.
Special Requirements: Must possess and retain a valid California Class C Driver's License as a condition of employment.
Special Working Conditions: Willingness and ability to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends as needed.
Bilingual fluency in English and one of the following languages is desirable: Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Korean, or Samoan.
Application Requirements: To be considered for this opportunity, you must submit a COMPLETE application packet. A complete application packet includes:
Submission of all required application information and materials is the responsibility of the applicant.
To apply, click on the "Apply" link located at the top of this page. New users must create an account first. Click on this link for instructions on how to set up your account and apply for the first time: Online Employment Application Guide.
The Personnel Services Department will review all applications and materials submitted. Those applicants possessing the most pertinent qualifications will be invited to continue in the selection process, which will include:
Oral Interview Examination: (Weight of 100%) which will evaluate the candidates' experience, training, education and abilities in relation to those factors which are essential for successful performance on the job. Candidates need a minimum passing score of 70% in order to be placed on the eligible list.
Address: 20 Civic Center Plaza, M-24
What is a California Cultural District?
How Santa Ana Got Involved
On February 7th, Rick Stein, the Executive Director of Arts OC, our county's arts council contacted Ryan Smolar of Downtown Inc. and John Spiak of the CSUF Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) urging Santa Ana to write a letter of interest for the state's new Cultural District program.
Smolar and Spiak relayed the invitation to Jorge Garcia, who represents the City of Santa Ana's Arts & Culture commission as the Senior Management Assistant at the City of Santa Ana. The City had already been tracking the cultural district program and was reviewing the materials sent out by the state.
Garcia brought the idea of pursuing the cultural district to city staff leadership and to the Santa Ana Arts & Cultural Commission for a Work Study Session at their February public meeting.
On March 1st, Garcia announced to Smolar and Spiak that the City and Arts Commission would like to move forward with a letter of interest to the state from Downtown Inc. as the lead organization and key partners including CSUF Grand Central Art Center and the City of Santa Ana with the intent to add more partners to the process as it unfolded.
We were able to meet on March 7th to further discuss the letter of interest that needed to be created quickly. We invited additional arts, education and cultural institutional partners to join the conversation and discussed the possibility of a town hall, which we instead submitted as part of our plan if the state decided to move forward with the designation.
By March 27th, Smolar finished compiling the letter of interest for a Santa Ana Cultural District based on the framework of the Santa Ana Arts & Culture Masterplan, City of Santa Ana 5-Year Strategic Plan and the feedback received from hundreds of artists, arts organizations and arts educators at the Arts Roundtable events hosted across the City.
Spiak and Garcia suggested minor changes to the document and we submitted it along with letters of support from Santa Ana Unified School District, Bowers Museum, an art gallery owner and a Santa Ana-based artist who also runs a local non-profit.
A Santa Ana Cultural District as part of the Bigger Picture
The Letter of Interest for Santa Ana's Cultural District is based on the goals and objectives of key community plans that guide the economic, education, quality of life and arts and cultural development of our city:
Objective 5: Leverage private investment that results in tax base expansion and job creation citywide.
Goal 5: Community Health, Livability, Engagement & Sustainability
Objective 5: Promote a strong arts and culture infrastructure
Santa Ana's Letter of Interest
Developing a Cultural Inventory
Visit by the State of California
On June 2nd, representatives from the California Arts Commission met with over 35 diverse local artists and arts and culture leaders to discuss the possibility of Santa Ana's Cultural District. A few attendees expressed concern about a cultural district initiative, requesting that local artists and residents be prioritized in any funding or planning around the district. Organizations servicing thousands of Santa Ana residents with access to arts and culture spoke in favor of the designation including:
*Note, if you want your name removed from the list above for any reason or feel you were left of this list, please contact us so we can correct any error.
Update (6/9/17): After the June 2nd tour and receiving feedback from the State of California, the City of Santa Ana has decided to become the "lead applicant" for the Cultural District with the City's Arts & Culture Masterplan Steering Committee involved in the development and implementation of the District and the City of Santa Ana Arts & Culture Commission installed as an Advisory Board to the program. The City will hold monthly public meetings to maintain community voice throughout the process. All partners agreed that these adjustments best reflect our shared goals of inclusion, equity, partnership and working with the entire community.
What happens next?
The State of California will announce the final list of California Cultural Districts in mid-July. If accepted, the process to move forward described in the letter of interest is as follows:
We have already identified $5,000 funding to host a Town Hall to cultivate energy and plans for the Cultural District from our Arts Roundtable sponsorship. CSUF GCAC can provide their venue which
results in a cost savings and the City of Santa Ana can help with distributing invitations to a broad audience and hearing new ideas.
We will seek funding from the Arts Commission and other sources to write a guide to the Cultural District, estimated at costing $25,000 including printing and distribution costs.
We will perform connectivity audits of our district to see how active transportation and public realm improvements (including public art) could enhance our district. With grants, this could equate to millions of dollars in spending to increase connectivity across our district including physical and programmatic enhancements.
We will work to unify all free events provided by cultural district members to be "co-sponsored" by the Cultural District. This will help us share audiences who need the services we are providing free across the district including free festivals, shows and community gatherings. We estimate there is over $500,000-$1M in free events being produced in the district.
We will also seek a way to sustain a Cultural District awareness campaign via social media, a booth at free events and to present information in both English and Spanish. We wiill seek sponsors from the business sector to help fund this program at $12,000 per year.
This discussion has tested ideas and forced some clarity on how our arts community can continue to swirl together regardless of the outcome of this particular process.
One thing is clear: through the efforts of many, the arts and culture of Santa Ana is "the corazón of arts and culture in Orange County," as Sara Guerrero put it. Or simply, "the deepest concentration of arts and culture in Orange County," as Rick Stein expounded. Or that "arts are the healing salve for so many in our community who have nothing else" as Cheryl Eberly explained. Or that "this designation would change what youth think is possible for them" as City of Santa Ana Youth Commissioner Belen Carillo shared and Victor de los Santos echoed.
Before departing, the state arts comission seemed to agree, leaving us with these parting thoughts, "Passion...you definitely have passion. I wish some arts communities had the love and passion you all share. It's quite evident."
Story by Ryan Smolar
In a City with only one public library, the community is always searching for new ways to spread literacy and reading across our city.
In the name of this great quest: Little Free Libraries have popped up across the City, Chapman purchased and tried to preserve the Liberia Rubén Martinez bookstore (now the Centro Comunitario de Educación), and most recently a non-profit called Community Engagement and CSUF GCAC resident artist, Sarah Rafael Garcia opened a brick-and-mortar for her exciting Libromobile project.
To add another page to this story: the Santa Ana College Mural Team, 4th Street Market and Downtown Inc. recently partnered to create a mural that you can check library content out of.
The idea was shared with Santa Ana College Arts Department and Downtown Inc. by a shared contractor who encountered a mural library in a South American subway station. He sent the picture back home and Downtown Inc. and SAC connected the dots between 4th St. Market owner Ryan Chase and SAC Mural Team professor, Darren Hostetter.
Hostetter ran a contest for his students to design the best mural library concept and then painted the final product, including a stenciled QR code, or "digital" part of the mural.
This project was overseen by myself (Ryan Smolar), inspired by our downtown social media star (who likes to remain behind-the-scenes), executed by Darren Hostetter and the SAC Mural Team and made possible by Ryan Chase and the 4th St. Market. The inner-workings of the mural were advised by Santa Ana Public Librarian, David Lopez, who also told us you can apply for a library card to rent digital materials without even visiting the library. This means that the wall is not only a distributor of library content, but a library card dispensary as well.
The 4th St Market library mural connects you directly to books and content about food and cooking, and we hope murals like this will pop-up around town and connect you with other types of material whether that be art, music, science or sports. If you want a digital library mural on your public-facing wall, please contact us.
Story by Ryan Smolar
How the Consulate of Mexico in Orange County is Connecting Students to 24 OC Cultural Places and a $5,000 Scholarship
What is the PASE Program?
(Spanish acronym for -pasea, aprende, sorpréndete y experimenta- walk around, learn, surprise yourself and experiment… the cultural and natural richness in Orange County)
It's a cultural and educative initiative by the Consulate of Mexico in Orange County to support students from elementary to high school by encouraging them to visit 24 cultural places within the County and to have new learning experiences.
This project aims to awake the interest of Mexican students and from other nationalities to visit these places to experience the endless cultural and natural possibilities in Orange County.
Where can you obtain the PASE card?
Who is the target population of the PASE Program?
Students registered in any School District in Orange County from grades 1 to 12.
The PASE card is free of charge and you can download it at the web site.
Does the PASE card allow you to get free admission to the participating venues?
No, each participating institution has special offers and incentives for the students.
There are places where admission is free, like the Santa Ana Library, the Newport Beach Library, the Fullerton Arboretum, the Historic Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana and others have free admission one day in the month. Please check on the participating agencies websites to find out about their free admittance days. For example, at the Laguna Art Museum and the Irvine Zoo if a student presents his/her P.A.S.E., his/her brothers and sisters as well as his/her Mom and Dad will get free admission. In other places, the entry will be according to the fees they have.
What Are The Benefits?
Not only the students and their parents will have experiences and gain more knowledge, but also all the students who visit the 24 institutions and write a paper about how these visits impacted their lifes, will have the opportunity to enter a raffle for a $5,000 USD scholarship.
You must present your PASE and your paper at the Consulate of Mexico in Santa Ana before April 13th, 2018. The raffle will take place on April 29, 2018.
Why the PASE Program was created?
It was created for the children to encourage them to visit these places to enrich their lives and be inspired to see artworks, natural places like the Fullerton Arboretum where they can see different species of vegetation, or visit the home of President Richard Nixon in Yorba Linda and get on the presidential helicopter used by the presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Visit the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and see the abundant marine life, touch a starfish and maybe this will inspire them to be marine biologists or scientists. The possibilities are endless.
Learn more at: www.programapase2017.com
¿Qué es el programa PASE?
(Acrónimo que significa Pasea, Aprende, Sorpréndete y Experimenta…las riquezas culturales y naturales del Condado de Orange)
Es una iniciativa del Consulado de México en el Condado de Orange que exhorta a estudiantes de primaria a preparatoria a visitar 24 lugares de interés cultural y educativo dentro del Condado y a que tengan nuevas experiencias. Es un programa educativo y cultural que pretende despertar el interés de los estudiantes mexicanos y de otras nacionalidades que deseen utilizar este PASE para visitar estos lugares y experimentar las infinitas posibilidades culturales y naturales que tienen en el Condado de Orange.
¿Dónde se puede obtener el ejemplar del PASE?
¿Quiénes pueden participar en el Programa PASE?
Los estudiantes de los grados 1 al 12 (Elementary to High School), registrados en escuelas del Condado de Orange. El ejemplar del PASE es gratuito
¿El ejemplar del PASE permite obtener acceso gratuito a los lugares de los socios participantes?
No, cada institución participante tiene incentivos y ofertas especiales para los estudiantes.
Hay lugares en los que la entrada es gratuita, como la biblioteca de Santa Ana, la biblioteca de Newport Beach, el Arboretum de Fullerton, la Antigua Corte del Condado de Orange en Santa Ana y muchos otros que tienen entrada gratuita un día en el mes. Por favor visita la página web de los socios participantes para obtener información sobre sus días de libre acceso. Por ejemplo, en el Museo de Arte de Laguna Beach y en el Zoo de Irvine si un estudiante presenta su PASE, sus hermanos y hermanas, así como su mamá y papá tendrán entrada gratuita. En otros lugares, la entrada será de acuerdo a las tarifas que tienen.
¿Para qué se creó el Programa PASE?
Para que los niños y jóvenes estudiantes al ir a cualquiera de estos lugares enriquezcan sus vidas y se inspiren al ver obras de arte, jardines de distintas especies de vegetación de diferentes partes del mundo como el Arboretum de Fullerton, o visitar la casa del Presidente Richard Nixon en Yorbalinda y subirse al helicóptero presidencial que utilizaron los presidentes Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon y Ford. Visitar el Ocean Institute en Dana Point y ver la riqueza marina, tocar una estrella de mar y tal vez esto les inspire a ser biólogos marinos o científicos. Las posibilidades son interminables.
¿Cuáles son los beneficios?
Además de que pueden visitar estos interesantes lugares, divertirse, tener nuevas experiencia y adquirir más conocimientos, los estudiantes que visiten los 24 lugares podrán participar en una gran rifa. El estudiante tendrá la oportunidad de participar en un sorteo para una beca de $5.000 dólares. Visita los 24 lugares incluidos en el PASE y presente un ensayo que describa lo que aprendió y disfrutó. Entregue su PASE y el ensayo en el Consulado de México en Santa Ana antes del 13 de abril de 2018. El sorteo se realizará el 29 de abril 2018.
Página web: www.programapase2017.com
As you bank down Santa Ana Blvd towards downtown, you flash by a tiny, peach hacienda whose garage door shouts colorful political statements. At least, it did until today.
Santa Ana artist Carlos Balam announced on Facebook to devastated artists, neighbors and fans: "today the city of Santa ana stop by my space to say that they received a complaint about my writing in the garage door "stop the war " n that I must erased it [sic]"
Over the last year, Balam's garage has established itself as a neighborhood focal point of revolving political slogans and art during this time of intense turmoil and tension. The most recent, and arguably most innocuous slogan, "Stop the War," received a complaint which prompted the City of Santa Ana to request Balam to "take it down" according to several Facebook posts made by him on May 18th.
Ironically, a black and white photograph of Balam's previous garage-adorning slogan, "Tell your Children They Can't Drink Oil," hung in the Bowers Museum just a few weeks ago in Federico Medina 's "Life and Culture in The Golden City", a public art show that was funded by the same city who now is asking Balam to censor his neighborhood garage murals.
This situation prompts some interesting questions like -- Who is Carlos Balam? Can he muralize his garage? and What are the roles of the City and public in this whole mess anyway?
Who is Carlos Balam?
The first time I met Carlos Balam, he was hanging out in front of his garage with an iguana perched on his shoulder, painting a memorial portrait like you'd see on Calle Cuatro during Noche de Altares.
Even though I was just walking by, and Balam was just standing in his driveway, the inviting space between a sunken ship and his front-yard banana tree prompted a conversation. "I'm painting this portrait in honor of a friend's Tio," Balam offered. "I painted the Lavanderia here on the corner too," Balam added, pointing to the seascape-covered coin laundry overshadowing his casita and art studio.
I adore the Lavanderia and was moved as Balam pointed-out kernels of neighborhood history captured in the Lavanderia mural: everything in it is a symbol. "See this fish?" he said, pointing to an oddly-colored carp, "a kid in the neighborhood was from Germany, so he painted this fish Germany's flag colors."
The garage door erasure comes on the heels of another incursion of Balam's self-directed neighborhood beautification efforts: the Lavanderia was sold recently and parts of Balam's mural suddenly disappeared. You can see a missing panel on Santa Ana Blvd. and a green parrot, a familiar symbol of Santa Ana, now floats frozen halfway between startled surprise and stuccoed oblivion.
However, Balam is most famous for his magnum opus several blocks away in the Logan neighborhood on the side of a liquor store near La Chiquita restaurant. This mural honors Latino veteran heroes from the neighborhood, among them Sam Romero who famously requested to be painted "...high up so the dogs don't urinate on my head." Balam gives speeches and tours here on veteran days of remembrance as a sort of volunteer community storyteller. As the keeper of this community's death toll and contributions to war, you start to understand the plea on Balam's garage is more thoughtful and sincere than a passerby might first surmise.
Can Balam muralize his garage?
Since the City of Santa Ana doesn't have a specific ordinance tackling murals, one might look to the City's On-Premise Signs Codes or Sign Regulations to dictate what types of writing and graphics are permissible on structures like garages. This stringent document creates orderly commercial districts and neighborhoods, but there are two problems when applying it here:
(1) Balam's hacienda art studio demarcates the wild mixed-use outskirts of downtown where a little nonconformity is a comforting sentry of neighborhood authenticity, connectivity and flavor.
(2) The City's sign regulations and codes are being flagrantly violated every which way across Santa Ana by like everyone and their mother (from taco trucks to brick-and-mortar businesses to city-supported non-profit institutions). So, the enforcement here is definitely grey-area enough to request a deeper review by fans and friends of art, self-expression and neighborhood character.
What is the City, Balam's and the Public's role?
The City's role here is pretty simple: their approach to private property murals is to enforce based on complaints. At least one person complained about the "Stop the War" mural and so the City showed up and applied the bureaucratic indifference of the law on the books. Further review could be prompted by the appeals of supporters of Balam's mural and possibly, changes to how Balam approaches his mural-making (see below).
Balam has complied with the City's request and painted over his garage (for now, at least). From my own surmising, he has a few choices moving forward:
(1) he could quietly review the city's sign rules and create a work that complies, which may require a work that evades controversy, and hence doesn't draw complaints
(3) he could counter the complaint(s) the City received with letters of support and request a further review of his situation by the Arts Commission, high-level planning department staff and/or his City Council representative
(3) he could help champion a mural ordinance or adjustment to the sign ordinance that clarifies and enhances his and others' abilities to create private property murals
"Who is saying they are going to erase it? Were u cited? Please don't erase it." urged City of Santa Ana Arts Commission Vice Chair Sandra Pocha Pena on Balam's Facebook post.
It's clear that while Balam's garage had its critic(s), it also has its champions:
"That SUCKS," remarked another Santa Ana muralist, "Damn, Really!!!" exclaimed another on the post.
Hopefully, these supporters will write letters to counter the complaint filed with the city and provoke a review from higher-ups at the planning department or by the Arts Commission or City Council.
Carlos Balam has been talking for some time about his next mural: it's about a Latino astronaut meant to show the kids of Santa Ana they can do anything.
As for Santa Ana murals in general, a bigger discussion on murals has been lingering for a long time and might be taken up by artists as several great evolutions have occurred:
With all of this great energy, we're sure to see more murals, more public discussion and more support and clearer guidelines articulated. The writing is on the wall.
Story by Ryan Smolar
Tonight at 6:30pm starting at CSUF GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER:
Join Downtown neighbors for a walk around Downtown Santa Ana in honor of Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities” and pioneer of the idea that cities are for people.
Every year since 2007, neighbors in cities across America unite the first week of May to walk in honor of Jane Jacobs' contributions to walkable, people-centric cities.
Attendees to this event are invited to share their neighborhood insight and expertise as we stroll along the Wellness Corridor Path created by Latino Health Access and City of Santa Ana starting in front of CSUF Grand Central Art Center (125 N Broadway) at the Chiarini fountain.
Please wear bright clothes and comfortable shoes. At the end of the walk, we will head to Taquerias Guadalajara for Taco Tuesday!
Learn more about Jane's big ideas for cities:http://janeswalk.org/information/about/jane-jacobs-ten-big-ideas/
EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1896605170615733/
Then, starting this Friday at The Frida Cinema:
From IFC Films and Sundance Selects comes Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, director Matt Tyrnauer’a timely tale of what can happen when engaged citizens fight the power for the sake of a better world. Screens daily May 12 - 18; showtimes below.
Arguably no one did more to shape our understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Tyranuer’s (Valentino: The Last Emperor) stirring documentary vividly brings to life Jacobs’ 1960s showdown with ruthless construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway, a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood.
Friday, May 12 – 5:30pm, 8pm
Saturday, May 13 – 11am, 1:30pm, 5:30pm, 9:30
Sunday, May 14 – 11am, 5:30pm, 8pm
Monday, May 15 – 5:30pm,8pm
Tuesday, May 16 – 5:30pm, 8pm
Wednesday, May 17 – 5:30pm ONLY
Thursday, May 18 – 5:30pm, 8pm
“A fascinating documentary captures the showdown, half a century ago, between the activist Jane Jacobs and the Trumpian urban planner Robert Moses: a fight for the future of New York.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“It’s a story that needs periodic retelling, and Mr. Tyrnauer has heightened the human drama by focusing on Jacobs, an improbable David to Moses’s Goliath.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
Santa Ana Arts News
News, opportunities and updates for the creative community.