Pico Culture Mapping


The 18th Street Arts Center (18SAC) has been based in the Pico Neighborhood for nearly 30 years and their new project highlights the history of their home.

18SAC recently announced they will be hosting a Pico Block Party on April 29, to unveil their latest Pico-centered work. The largest artistic residency program in Southern California will celebrate the cultural treasures within the Pico Neighborhood by launching their new CulturalMapping90404 program.

CultureMapping90404 is an interactive online database of historic and current cultural assets in the Pico Neighborhood.

“We been in Pico for almost 30 years and have noticed the neighborhood changing. Local studios are closing and new tech companies are popping up,” said Sue Yank, 18th Street Art Center, Director of Communications and Outreach. “We realized there are people who are trying to capture the history and are having a difficult time.”

The program was created because organizers said cultural assets are undervalued in the city and they said the Santa Monica beach life, consumerism and tourism remains to be the main focus of the city.

So what qualifies as a cultural asset in the Pico Neighborhood?

Cultural assets can be people, places, events, and organizations recognized as historical and cultural anchors within the community. Whether that meant an event that brought neighbors together at the Virginia Ave Park or a historical mural on a wall. The database tracks all assets within the area, and as of now there are 40 assets that have been tracked by community volunteers.

The project began developing in 2015 with local residents, conducting interviewing, talking with long time residents about the history and working with the Alliance of California Traditional Artists (ACTA). ACTA has done cultural mapping in the past and they have been the main partner in creating this database.

CultureMapping90404, is a citizen organized mapping project that includes both English and Spanish translation. The database aspires to bring light and attention to the community before the cultural treasures begin to vanish.

It can be described as a progressive program and a living collection of cultural resources that continues to add over time. 18SAC would like to collect 100 resources that paint a picture of the Pico Neighborhood, adding each asset to the map. Community members have the opportunity to suggest an asset to the map.

The map displays the exact locations of community leaders, artists, long time residents, community groups, sites, organizations, artwork, historical events, cultural events and ghost sites

During the process of locating each asset that was brought to their attention, the staff felt it was necessary to create a separate category, otherwise known as ghost assets.

Yank explains a ghost asset means that a particular location or event is no longer there anymore, but was a big part of someone’s cultural experience in the community. Casillas Market on Olympic was the number one voted ghost asset in the Pico Neighborhood.

All content that is collected through this community project will also be shared with local contemporary artist working with 18SAC, as an inspiration for new and inventive art making involving Pico residents.

“We have come across a lot of organizations during the making of the database and this is where we want to highlight cultural assets in a physical way,” said Yank.

The unveiling of the website will take place on Apr. 29 at the Pico Block Party. There will be Latin music, cultural dance, family art making workshops, food trucks, artist open studios and tabling by neighborhood organizations.

18SAC expressed their love for the neighborhood and excitement for the new website that will track local history. The Pico Block Party will be at 1639 18th St. from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information you can visit http://culturemapping90404.org/