The City’s Black History Month Committee and Building Bridges Art Exchange are partnering to host an art reception on Saturday, February 19, 2022, to introduce exhibits focused on Black health and wellness. The event is from 2-3 p.m. at Building Bridges Art Exchange at the Bergamot Station Arts Center (2525 Michigan Ave., Unit F2). Following the reception, the public is invited to browse the art exhibits at Building Bridges and take a self-guided art walk of the other Bergamot galleries displaying Black History-themed exhibits.
The Black History reception and art walk will highlight exhibits that the City and the Quinn Research Center collaborated on to honor historical and present-day Black figures who contributed to the health and wellness field in Santa Monica. The public will also be able to browse artwork created by local students. Refreshments will be served. Attendees will be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors regardless of vaccination status.
“It’s an honor to share the indelible mark that Black health workers have left on the Santa Monica community,” said Delana G. Gbenekama, equity and communications coordinator for the City and founder and lead of the Black History Month Committee. “I hope conversations about wellness extend beyond Black History Month as we all continue deeply reflecting on our own health and learning about Black contributions and talent in Santa Monica and beyond.”
“As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ We are so honored to partner with the City of Santa Monica to celebrate Black lives in our community during Black History Month with a focus on community wellness, health and creativity,” said Marisa Caichiolo, founder and executive director of Building Bridges Art Exchange. “The work with the community and for the community based on diversity, peace and understanding has been in the core of our organization.”
The event will also feature artwork by Chelle Barbour, a mixed media artist with an interdisciplinary practice based in Los Angeles. Barbour is best recognized for her diverse Afro-Futurist and Afro-Surrealist collages that challenges the notion of agency and black beauty. Additionally, actress, author, comedian, musician, filmmaker, playwright and domestic violence survivor Lorinda Hawkins Smith will portray Biddy Mason, who made major contributions to Black health and wellness. Bridget “Biddy” Mason is a major inspiration for Smith who enjoys sharing her story and is honored to have portrayed her in the art installation at the Los Angeles Public Library – Historical Portraits Project.
The art reception is made possible in part by the generous support of GoodRx, a leading consumer-focused digital healthcare platform. GoodRx’s technology delivers strong savings, trusted information and access to care to make healthcare affordable and convenient for all Americans. Since 2011, GoodRx has helped consumers save over $35 billion and is one of the most downloaded medical apps over the past decade.
Black History Month is an effort of the City’s Black History Month Committee. The Black History Month Committee is composed of City staff who work in coordination with Black community leaders and local organizations to make the events a success. View the full event roster at santamonica.gov/blog/black-history-month-2022 and RSVP for the event.
BUILDING BRIDGES ART EXCHANGE is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating an understanding among cultures worldwide through international art exhibitions (workshops-lectures), art exchanges and artists residencies. Learn more about Building Bridges Art Exchange at buildingbridgesartexchange.org.
Submitted by Miranda Iglesias, Public Information Coordinator