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Artful Watching: We Were All Here by Dan Kwong and Paulina Sahagun

August 27, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Dan Kwong & Paulina Sahagun, We Were All Here, 2021. HD video. 64 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Artful Watching: We Were All Here
Sunday, August 27 | 7-9:30 PM; Film Starts at 8 PM
18th Street Arts Center Olympic Campus, 1639 18th Street

Join us for the launch of Artful Watching, a special series of outdoor film screenings exploring the rich history and cultural treasures of Santa Monica. 

We’re kicking the series off with We Were All Here by local artists Dan Kwong and Paulina Sahagun. Weaving together the personal and the political through oral histories, historical and family photos, poetry, music and a sprinkling of irreverent humor, the film honors the multicultural history of the unique Pico Neighborhood of Santa Monica.

The documentary focuses on the extended Casillas family that began settling around Olympic Blvd. and 20th Street (”La Veinte”) in 1918 and who would become the largest family ever to emigrate to Santa Monica from Mexico. Through their story we witness the 20th century American immigrant experience, the evolution of the City of Santa Monica, and the making of citizenry.

Due to historical discriminatory housing policies combined with economic forces, the Pico Neighborhood—bounded by Pico Blvd. on the south, Colorado Ave. on the north, Stewart St. on the east and 14th St. on the west—was home to most of Santa Monica’s Latino/a, Black, Asian and working-class White families for decades and over time had evolved into an exemplary community of cross-cultural cooperation and interdependence. Construction of the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) in 1966 cut the neighborhood in half, displacing over 1500 residents and shattering the community.

RUNNING TIME: 67 mins.
Plus: post-screening Q&A with artists and community members 

This project is part of Culture Mapping 90404, a community oral history project of 18th Street Arts Center in partnership with the Santa Monica Public Library. This project was generously supported by the California Arts Council.

This screening is generously supported by the Santa Monica Community Access & Participation grant. 


August 27, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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18th Street Arts Center
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18th Street Arts Center (Olympic Campus)
1639 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404 United States
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