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SANTA MONICA, CA — On December 18, 2018, the Santa Monica City Council voted to award 18th Street Arts Center the management contract for the artist studio program at the city airport for the next five years.

After an intensive planning and community input process following a change in the leasing structure of spaces at the Santa Monica Airport in 2016, the City of Santa Monica issued an RFP for new management of its Airport Studios.

18th Street responded to the RFP and was recommended unanimously by an outside panel to be the new manager of the Airport Studios.

“Santa Monica has a deep history of prioritizing the importance of being a haven for the creation of art,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “Council is confident that the selection of 18th Street Arts Center will bolster our commitment to the arts and breathe new life into a program that allows our artist community to continue to thrive at the airport.”

As part of their proposal, 18th Street Arts Center plans to extensively program the public gallery with curated exhibitions, performances, community engagement projects, and educational programming. They will also provide professional services to the current airport artists, all of whom will lease their studios directly from the City of Santa Monica.

“The first step will be to embark on a listening process,” says Communications Director Sue Bell Yank, “so we can be responsive to the needs of the artists and the community that has been built at the Airport. With our 30 years in the city, we treasure our history of fostering community with our neighbors, and look forward to welcoming the Airport artists into our family.”

Executive Director Jan Williamson also emphasized the importance of a sustainable future for the Airport and the arts community in Santa Monica: “18th Street Arts Center believes that artistic excellence and community engagement go hand-in-hand. We want to ensure that artists are thriving in Santa Monica 100 years from now and we welcome this extraordinary opportunity to unite our campus with the airport, for the benefit of Santa Monica artists, and for local audience participation in the arts.”

18th Street has also raised significant funds from grants and individual donors to enhance programming at the Airport. The Board of Directors is enthusiastic about this new chapter of growth for the organization. Chairperson Ted Schwab said, “The Board of Directors of 18th Street looks forward to serving the artists at the airport.  We are confident our experience in supporting artists and their art will help create an even more vibrant and successful artistic community at the airport.”

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018-2019, 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the US, and the largest in Southern California. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, 18th Street supports artists from around the globe to imagine, research, and develop significant, meaningful new artworks and share them with the public. We strive to provide artists the space and time to take risks, to foster the ideal environment for artists and the public to directly engage, and to create experiences and partnerships that foster positive social change.

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