The Melrose Poetry Bureau swings by the Pico Block Party on Saturday
Photo by Kurt T. Jones

Art and neighborhood pride combine at 18th Street Arts Center on Saturday when the artists’ community and residency center holds “Pico Block Party” on its campus from 1 to 4 p.m.

The community festival, including arts activities, live music, dance performances and food trucks, is celebrating the launch of the Spanish-language version of its website Cultural Mapping 90404, an online oral history and cartography project focusing on the past and present of Santa Monica’s rapidly gentrifying and historically Latino Pico neighborhood.

An English-language version of the Cultural Mapping site, launched in April, features an interactive map of Santa Monica, highlighting culturally significant people, places, events and organizations to the Pico neighborhood and video interviews with longtime residents produced by 18th Street Arts, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and community volunteers.

Saturday’s celebration not only unveils the next phase of the Cultural Mapping 90404 project—which aims to document disappearing elements from the neighborhood—but also puts the “living document” in conversation with the Getty’s current, citywide arts initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a exploration of the cultural connections between Latin American art and Los Angeles.

“We love the idea of the local and global coming together in this event,” says 18th Street Arts Center Director of Communications and Outreach Sue Yank.

Saturday’s block party features artist-led tours of 18th Street Arts’ PST: LA/LA exhibition “Universal History of Infamy: Virtues of Disparity” in multiple languages, as well as live music by L.A.-based alternative Latin folk band Cuñao, experimental quesadilla-making by Teresa Flores and performances of traditional folklorico and Aztec dancing by Cabeza de Vaca Cultural Dance School.

Artist Christina Saucedo will conduct screen-printing t-shirt workshops with visitors, featuring designs by Pico neighborhood youth, and the Melrose Poetry Bureau stops by to whip up poems on-demand from their classic, old-fashioned typewriters.

The Pico neighborhood may be changing fast, but this seems like a moment to celebrate.


— Christina Campodonico


“Pico Block Party: Translation” happens from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at 18th Street Arts Center, 1639 18th St., Santa Monica. Free. Visit for event information or to contribute to the map.