Santa Monica - Colorado Esplanade


The City is looking to launch two new programs with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc (DTSM) to bring more services and public art to the Colorado Esplanade.

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider giving the go-ahead to bring rotating art installations to the triangular-shaped stretch of grass along Colorado and Main Street, the Third Street Promenade and other downtown locations.

“This is one of the most exciting projects downtown has done – ever!” wrote Kathleen Rawson, the CEO of DTSM, in an email to the Daily Press.

In an interview, the business association’s director of marketing and communications said they are in the process of selecting the artists who will be featured as part of the rotating exhibits.

“We wanted to bring some public art to the district,” Mackenzie Carter said. “We have a couple locations or spots in the downtown area that we wanted to activate that were just sitting dormant.”

A six-member panel consisting of members from the DTSM Board and art knowledgeable citizens selected by the Arts Commission received 120 proposals from artists, according to Carter. Now they are in the process of choosing the finalists who will then make the art. The art will rotate every few months.

“Public art is something we’ve always wanted t have in the downtown,” Carter said. “We don’t have enough of it.”

The City has committed funds up to $225,000 for the art throughout downtown installations.

A second proposed pilot-program would allow DTSM to provide pedestrian-oriented services on the eastern side of Ocean Avenue, between Colorado and the northwest entrance to Tongva Park. Activities may include food service, retail and other uses to develop a sense of place and build community, according to a report from the City’s Housing and Economic Development Director Andy Agle and the Community and Cultural Services Director Karen Ginsberg. Under the proposal, DTSM would be permitted to enter into sublicense agreements with operators selected through a competitive, public procurement process.

“As a pilot program, DTSM would be provided flexibility and creativity to adjust the types of programs and uses within the license area that are most impactful at enhancing the public’s experience, while also helping to financially sustain the public art installation pilot at Triangle Square,” according to the staff report.

DTSM is a non-profit organization that is under contract with the City to manage programs, services and operations in downtown Santa Monica. The non-profit receives funding from two business-based assessment districts and three property-based assessment districts.

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press