Featured Event: Tongva Park Community Celebration


For much of the past year or so, the area across from the Santa Monica city hall has been one giant construction site with fences partially obscuring the public’s view of the seven-acre space. Last month, the fences finally came down to reveal a beautiful new park, officially named Tongva Park after one of the Native American tribes that originally populated the area. Gary provided coverage of its soft opening here.

Since its unveiling, Tongva Park has received almost unanimous praise. In his review of the park, Christopher Hawthorne of the L.A. Times calls it “a triumph of execution and urban planning.” The Lookout’s Jason Islas says that it is “unlike any of the bayside city’s other public spaces,” describing the many features of the park that make it so distinct. Elizabeth Daniels of Curbed Los Angeles calls it “a stunner.”

Despite the numerous positive reviews that are already rolling in, Tongva Park hasn’t been officially opened by the city. That opening will occur this Saturday in a community celebration.

Who: The park’s opening will include remarks from Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor, world-renowned landscape designer James Corner, and an opening blessing by members of the Tongva.

What: The park will feature many performances and events throughout the day. On the gathering hill, the afternoon will be filled with music and dance, including Kuruvungna Tongva music, a flute performance, an Aztec Dance performance, and a performance by the Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers. Throughout the park, there will be food trucks, a photo booth, and numerous cultural exhibits. There will also be a wide variety of park tours throughout the day led by the architects, designers, and artists who helped create the park. A full schedule can be found at Tongva Park’s official site. 

When: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 11am – 4pm

Where: Tongva Park (1615 Ocean Ave)

Note: There will be free bike valet on Main St, between Colorado & Olympic. There will also be free parking from 10AM – 5PM at the Civic Center Parking Structure, 333 Civic Center Dr., and at the Civic Center Lot, 1821 Main St. For those taking the bus, click here for a list of routes and stops that serve Tongva Park.

UPDATE: here’s the full schedule of events for the celebration.

Gathering Hill Performances

Masters of Ceremonies

Paul Apodaca, Chapman University Professor & Rich Capparela, KUSC Host

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.                  Procession of Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers from City Hall to Gathering Hill

11:30 – 11:45 a.m.                  Blessing by Andy Morales

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.          Park Welcome by Mayor Pam O’Connor and James Corner

12:15 – 12:30 p.m.                  Performance by the Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.                      Flute Performance by Sarah Thomson & Gary Lemos

1:45 – 2:00 p.m.                      Aztec Dance Performance by Cabeza de Vaca Cultura

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.                      Kuruvungna Tongva Music by James Igo

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.                      Chumash Storytelling with Ted and Dennis Garcia

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.                      Closing performance by the Gabrieleno Tongva Dancers

Activities Throughout the Park

12:30 & 2:30 p.m.                   String Theory – Large scale performance installation using invented instruments and sonic sculpture. This concert is sponsored by the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

All Day                                    Snap Yourself Photo Booth – Take home a souvenir of your Tongva Park visit

All Day                                    Food Trucks including King Kone, Mandoline Grill, Rounds Burger, Waffles de Liege & India Jones

Interactive Exhibits

All Day                        `

Cultural Display

Angie Behrns, wearing traditional Tongva regalia, demonstrates how the Tongva made their clothing, what food they ate, the musical instruments they played, and their basket weaving tradition.

Native Plants, Food, & Tools

Craig Torres, a descendant from the indigenous communities of the Yaavetam and Komiikravetam discusses native plants. Robert Porter, educator, anthropologist and archaeologist, will be discussing native plants, food preparation, and tools used by Native Americans.

Park Tours

12:30, 1:00 & 1:30 p.m.

Designing Tongva Park with Lead Designer & Project Manager Sarah Weidner-Astheimer, James Corner Field Operations and Art Consultant Merry Norris

12:15 & 12:45 p.m.

Designing Tongva Park Construction with Lead Project Manager for Construction Matt Grunbaum, James Corner Field Operations and Peter Cotugno, Construction Project Manager, W. E. O’Neil Construction Company

12:30, 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m.

The Ornamental Grasses of Tongva Park with Grass Ecology Expert John Greenlee, Greenlee & Associates

12:15, 1:00 & 2:00 p.m.

The Trees & Shrubs of Tongva Park with Landscape Architect & Horticulturalist Bob Perry

12:30 & 1:30 p.m.

The Public Art of Tongva Park with Artist Inigo Manglano-Ovalle and City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Supervisor for Public Art Malina Moore

12:15, 1:00, 2:00, & 3:00 p.m.

The Water Features of Tongva Park with Architect and Water Feature Designer Jim Garland and Landscape Architect and Designer Karen Adhikari, Fluidity Design Consultants Inc.

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