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April – May 2021 Program Guide

We are bringing to you our second program guide after the pandemic started, which details all of our programs (virtual for the time being) over the next two months. We will continue to send out these guides digitally every quarter. It’s hard to plan ahead these days, but we are dedicated to continuing to bring you a steady diet of interesting art, community engagement, dialogue, and cultural resources. Here’s what we have planned this quarter.

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Recovery Justice: Reimagining the City

In March of last year, 18th Street Arts Center closed our doors, cancelling our exhibitions, parties, workshops, performances, and in-person meetings. In the coming weeks we would begin to work remotely; learning new ways to share time, share space, and help support our families, friends, and neighborhoods. We continue to miss our in-person interactions and time spent together, but we have grown new communities, discovered new ways to spend time with old friends, and found out that so many things we thought were impossible were just a turn away. 

In this turn, 18th Street has launched several online initiatives: virtual exhibitions, 360 exhibition tours, digital archives of public programs, online workshops, Spanish language interpretation for public programs, and virtual screenings and performances. Now as we cautiously reopen our doors, begin to plan hybrid-in-person events, and return to our offices, we must all ask: can we continue to share our work and time with our new communities and still return to supporting the old? Will we continue to share digitally? Will we continue to archive our work online? Offer programs in multiple languages? We hope to keep the best things we have learned from this last year and build them into what we used to do. 18th Street will continue to prioritize access and sharing our work with guests that were not able to join before.

This quarter we are excited to share the generous ideas of artists who continue to explore ideas around access and public space. Elana Mann’s exhibition Year of Wonders, redux and its accompanying event Hungry Ears: A Panel with Naomi Okuyama, April Banks, Sara Daleiden, and Elana Mann will consider how artists and arts administrators can be key community organizers in movements for social change. As part of Recovery Justice: Being Well  and our partnership with WeRise.LA, Dan S. Wang will host Together in Contradiction: Asian American Unity Now, a round table discussion on culture work and solidarity politics in an age rising xenophobia, gentrification, and political contradiction. Suchi Branfman will present Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic, sharing dances produced by members of the California Rehabilitation Center and hosting a conversation following the screening. Lastly, Make Jazz Fellow, Paul Cornish, will culminate his residency with a virtual concert, presented by the World Stage, reflecting on the question “How do you make community during a pandemic?”

We hope you will join us in the coming months and help us continue to turn towards creating more access and places (both digital and in real space) where we can share time together. 

Michael Ano

Director of Public Programs and Engagement


Hungry Ears: A Panel with Naomi Okuyama, April Banks, Sara Daleiden, and Elana Mann

Thursday April 8, 2021 @ 5 – 6 PM
Online: Register here

Hungry Ears is a virtual panel that will examine ongoing art and equity issues in Santa Monica. This conversation will consider a number of local projects including the Belmar History + Art public art project by April Banks; Lives that Bind, an exhibition at Santa Monica City Hall; and the Art of Recovery initiatives, one of which will be taking place at 18th Street Art Center. This conversation considers how artists and arts administrators can be key community organizers in movements for social change.

This panel is part of Elana Mann‘s solo exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center’s Airport Gallery titled Year of Wonders, redux, on view from March 29 – July 2, 2021. 

Register here

Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic | Screening and Conversation with Suchi Branfman and Tom Tsai

Friday, April 16, 2021 @ 6:30 PM – 8 PM
Online: Register here

In 2016, choreographer and educator, Suchi Branfman, began a five-year choreographic residency inside the California Rehabilitation Center, a medium-security state men’s prison in Norco, California. The project, dubbed “Dancing Through Prison Walls,” developed into a critical dialogue about freedom, confinement, and how we survive restriction, limitations, and denial of liberty through the act of dancing. The project abruptly ended in March 2020, when the California state prison system shut down programming and visitation due to Covid-19. The work was rapidly revised, and the incarcerated dancers began sending out written choreographies from their bunks to the outside world. The resulting collection of deeply imagined choreographic pieces, written between March and May of 2020, was dubbed Undanced Dances Through Prison Walls During a Pandemic.

Highlighting six dances written/choreographed inside the prison by Brandon Alexander, Richie Martinez, Landon Reynoldsand Terry Sakamoto Jr., this event hosts a conversation and film of the work transformed into embodied dances in sites throughout the Santa Monica civic center area, highlighting the nation’s school to prison pipeline. 

This project was made possible by Art of Recovery, an initiative of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs.

Register here

Paul Cornish: Make Jazz Culminating Concert

Presented by the World Stage
Sunday, April 25, 2021 | 7 PM

Online: Register here to receive a reminder about the Livestream.

Composer and pianist Paul Cornish is 18th Street Arts Center’s 2021 Make Jazz Fellow and brings his dedication to community engagement and music education to a new body of work he will create while in residence at 18th Street Arts Center. Conducting this fellowship under a time of great crisis, Cornish asks himself, what does community mean during a pandemic? The new music he creates during this three-month residency period will be based on a series of engagement experiments interacting virtually and socially distanced with local Santa Monicans, weaving personal experiences, collective trials, and interpersonal connections during this unprecedented time into a new body of work.

These never-before-heard compositions will be presented in a multi-media experience, livestreamed from the World Stage in Liemert Park on April 25.

This concert and Paul Cornish’s 18th Street Arts Center residency is generously supported by the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Dan S. Wang, Eyes of Diversity, 2018. Letterpress printed essay matched to a suite of photocopied drawings. 2018.

Together in Contradiction: Asian American Unity Now | A Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, May 20, 2021 |  5 PM – 6 PM
Online: Register here

Together in Contradiction: Asian American Unity Now is a roundtable discussion on culture work and solidarity politics in an age of rising xenophobia, gentrification, and political contradiction. Facilitated by local artist in residence Dan S. Wang, this conversation will feature artist Carol Zou and other organizers to be determined.

This project is part of Recovery Justice: Being Well, a series of self-organized artist projects facilitated by Sara Daleiden and produced by 18th Street Arts Center. It is generously supported by the City of Santa Monica’s Art of Recovery program. This event is being produced in partnership with WeRise.LA.

Register here

Image Caption: Dan S. Wang, When The Photocopier Met The Cylinder Press Redux, 2018 (detail). Letterpress printed essay matched to a suite of photocopied drawings. 2018.

Arts Learning Lab @ Home: Creative Self-Compassion
Saturday May 8, 15, 22, 2021 | 11 AM – 12:30 PM

This May, we are thrilled to present three new Arts Learning Lab @ Home art-making workshops for families all around wellbeing and self-compassion. May is Mental Health Awareness month, and taking time for creativity together with loved ones is a key part of self-care in these uncertain times. We are partnering with WE RISE LA to bring these moments for creative growth to you, centered around the theme of wellbeing as we navigate coming out of a pandemic and transitioning to new routines together.

We will be providing Arts Learning Lab @ Home Art Kits with materials for each workshop that will be available for pick up from 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, for those that live in the LA Metro area, but all materials will also be easily found at home or at a local supply store. More information on Art Kit pick-up will be provided once you register for a workshop. Supplies are limited.

All of the virtual workshops will be presented on Zoom, and interpretation will be provided in both English and Spanish. 

May 8, 2021 at 11 AM-12:30 PM
Flores de Papel | Carmela Morales
Online: Register here

Learn the delicate and mindful craft of traditional paper flower-making.

Explore the Mexican craft tradition of paper flowers with artisan Carmela Morales. This workshop will introduce participants to the eco friendly practice of using recyclable materials and traditional art skills to create beautiful flowers that can be gifted to your favorite person or to decorate your home. Discover how you can take care of your mental health through this meditative task and make new friendships along the way! Concerned by all the plastic waste found in the environment,  Carmela wants to revive the traditional practice of using recyclable paper to create decor. As you take care of self, you’ll be taking care of your environment through this cultural practice.

Register here

Image Caption: Paper flowers created by Carmela Morales, 2021.

Debra Disman, Narrow Bridge, (inside) 2016, 5.5 x 16 x 3.5 inches, Artists' Book/Mixed Media (board, paper, fabric, linen thread).
Image Caption: Debra Disman, Narrow Bridge, (inside) 2016, 5.5 x 16 x 3.5 inches, Artists’ Book/Mixed Media (board, paper, fabric, linen thread).

May 15, 2021 at 11 AM- 12:30 PM
Bookmaking with Self-Compassion | Debra Disman
Online: Register here

Make an artist book celebrating your own creative growth.

Join 18th Street Arts Center artist in residence and bookmaker Debra Disman to discover how to create the beautiful, fun and versatile Flower Fold book into which you can write or paste wishes, hopes, prayers and dreams. This book can become a chain to hang in your home, or give as a gift. Explore what the pandemic has meant to you while learning new skills and creating a unique expression of renewal and rebirth during the spring season.

Register here

May 22, 2021 at 11 AM – 12:30 PM
Let Suffering Speak | Elana Mann
Create your own sound sculpture for healing self-expression.
Online: Register here

Join artist Elana Mann in letting our voices and bodies rumble, clatter, and blast. Participants will learn how to make musical instruments and megaphones using simple household materials. Discussion and exercises will focus on how mindful listening to ourselves and each other is key to wellness. The workshop will culminate in group listening and sound-making.

Register here

The ALL@HOME workshops as part of Recovery Justice: Being Well are generously supported by the WE RISE LA program. 

Partners include the Community Clinics Association of Los Angeles County (CACLAC), St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, and the Community Corporation of Santa Monica.

Melinda Smith Altshuler, Sara’s Eye, 2021. 6 x 5 inches. Collage: tissue box board, appropriated images.


Six artists (Sabine Pearlman, Yrneh Gabon Brown, M Susan Broussard, Deborah Lynn Irmas, Gregg Chadwick, and Melinda Smith Altshuler) will create original prints and works of art with messages of wellbeing and self-compassion that will be mailed out to over 300 healthcare professionals and frontline workers in our community for our Wellbeing Mail Art Campaign. Rebecca Youssef will create a “Feel Good” artist’s ‘zine, and Nicola Goode will produce a collage poster of Black Lives Matter spontaneous protest art that will be distributed to Santa Monica and West Side neighborhoods.

Sign up to receive your Mail Art here while supplies last!

This project is of part of Recovery Justice: Being Well and is generously supported by the WE RISE LA program. 

Partners include the Community Clinics Association of Los Angeles County (CACLAC), St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, and the Community Corporation of Santa Monica.

Image caption: Melinda Smith Altshuler, Sara’s Eye, 2021. 6 x 5 inches. Collage: tissue box board, appropriated images.


Wang Shui
February 15 – April 30, 2021

WangShui is a New York-based artist & filmmaker that has exhibited and screened work internationally at venues including New York Film Festival, SculptureCenter, The Shed, JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION, International Film Festival Rotterdam, EMPAC, Triple Canopy, Images Festival, The Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, & The Jim Thompson Art Center (Bangkok).

Learn more here.

Paul Cornish
Make Jazz Residency
February 1- April 30, 2021

Los Angeles based pianist Paul Cornish is 18th Street Arts Center 2021 Make Jazz Fellow. Besides being a gifted pianist and composer, Cornish is a dedicated jazz educator and enjoys teaching students of all levels and presenting jazz workshops around the world.

Learn more here. 

Cynthia Wick
April 1 – May 6, 2021

Cynthia Wick is a Los Angeles born, NYC-based artist. The Berkshires have affected her work in a profound way. Wick works in oil, acrylic and gouache on board, canvas and brown paper. Her main focus as a painter is to capture the emotion in what she sees.

Learn more here.

Alex Nichols
March 1 – April 30, 2021

Alex Nichols is an interdisciplinary artist and writer born in San Francisco. She works with film, writing, photography, drawing, performance and installation. She is engaged in an intimate dialogue about the roles she plays as a woman in her life.

Learn more here.

Elana Mann
Exhibiting Artist
February 15 – July 10, 2021

Elana Mann explores practices of listening and amplifies voices that are yet unheard, with the goal of building equanimity in ourselves and increasing equity in our world. She creates artwork that brings a greater consciousness to the listening and speaking we practice in everyday life.

Learn more here.

Sara Daleiden
Exhibiting Artist
2020 – 2021

Sara Daleiden facilitates civic engagement within developing landscapes, exercising arts and cultural exchange strategies. With bases in Los Angeles and Milwaukee through her initiative MKE<->LAX, she encourages local cultures to value neighborhoods, public space, civic art, entrepreneurship and racial and gender equity. Her durational engagement with 18th Street, which includes collaborations with arts worker Nicola Goode,Susannah Laramee Kidd,Dorit Cypis and Kimberli Meyer, has materialized into Recovery Justice: Being Well, an exhibition that will open this Spring.

Learn more here.

Cog•nate Collective
September 2020 – June 2021

Cog•nate Collective’s practice seeks to document and theorize markets as important nodes of exchange, facilitating – especially within immigrant, working-class communities – social, cultural and economic transactions that articulate individual and collective relationships to the communities we call home. For their residency and project with 18th Street Arts Center titled Market Exchange, Cog•nate Collective will invite community artisans to undertake a process of envisioning and realizing the role/function of a popular/community-led marketplace in Santa Monica.

Learn more here.


Enjoy past and current exhibitions here:

Our Spring exhibitions will be open to appointments starting March 29. Appointments are available Monday – Friday at 10am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Sign up for an appointment here

Recovery Justice: Being Well
Projects by 18th Street Artists facilitated by Sara Daleiden 
March 8 – July 16, 2021
18th Street Arts Center (Airport North, South, Outdoor Galleries)

Learn more here.

Elana Mann | Year of Wonders, redux
March 29 – July 2, 2021
18th Street Arts Center (Airport Gallery)

Learn more here.

Symbolic Consciousness
January 20 – June 18, 2021 
18th Street Arts Center (Airport Campus)

Learn more here.

Facing Darkness
Group exhibition
July 27, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Learn more here.


18th Street is excited to continue and expand our in-person Studio Visit and Professional Development programs for our artists in residence. Last quarter we had Shoghig Halajian, Nick Barlow (Hammer Museum), Melinda Guillen, and Virginia Broersma (The Artist’s Office). 

This upcoming quarter we have Kristan Kennedy, Artistic Director and Curator of Visual Art at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and Asuka Hisa, Director of Learning and Engagement at Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

To be an artist in residence at 18th Street Arts Center, apply here


Borderless is a special membership program featuring quarterly introductions to artist communities around the world.

Join by making a donation of any amount to 18th Street Arts Center todayand we will send you an access code to the Borderless portal. 

The portal will grant you access to exclusive Borderless program content and events, including our upcoming tour of Lebanon’s visual art and design scene with House of Today and recordings of past programs, including an introduction of the visual art scene in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the first iteration of Borderless created by artist Mella Jaarsma, founder of Cemeti Institute.

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