By Daniel Larios
July 22, 2014 – The latest addition to the Santa Monica Parks system will be offering two unique events in July, continuing its ongoing first season of cultural programming for the community.
The events will include a morning featuring Tongva and Chumash Native American story-telling and craft workshops, and an evening community dance with internationally-known salsa band, Orquestra Tabaco Y Ron.
“This ongoing series of intimate, Tongva Park events offers attendees the opportunity to experience this major new addition to Santa Monica’s park system from different points of view,” officials said.
On July 26 at 10 a.m., families are invited to the Tongva Park children’s play area to learn about the culture of the Chumash, Gabrielino and Tongva, Native Americans of the Los Angeles region for whom the park is named after.
The morning will include storytelling and songs handed down through generations with Ted and Dennis Garcia.
Julia Bonagy, a member of the Tongva Nation/Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, will also lead crafts workshops where attendees will learn how to make soapstone and wood carving, as well as learning how to create toys and games from plants.
On July 30 at 7 p.m., free salsa dance lessons will be offered in the center of the park, followed by a community dance, both with live music.
Cristian Oviedo, four-time World Salsa Champion, will lead a 45-minute dance class along with his partner, Maria Zhukovskaya, followed by an opportunity for everyone to dance and enjoy the music.
International salsa band Orquestra Tabaco Y Ron, a 12 piece Big Band-style orchestra composed of musicians from across Latin America, will perform throughout the evening.
Designed by the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner’s Field Operations, Tongva Park opened to the public in September, providing a distinctive park experience for patrons. (“Tongva Park is a Unique Experience in Santa Monica,” September 10, 2013)
A month after opening, the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) gave Tongva Park, along with neighboring Ken Genser Square, its 2013 Project of the Year award for “Recreation and Athletic Facilities.” (“Santa Monica’s Public Works Department Wins Three Awards,” October 29, 2013)
In January, City Parks Alliance, a national urban park advocacy organization, named Tongva Park as a “Frontline Park.” (“Two New Santa Monica Parks Win National Recognition,” January 27, 2014)
Since its opening, the park has been featured in major publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine,and the New York Times, according to City officials.
Tongva Park is located at 1615 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California. For more information on the park, visit www.smgov.net/tongvapark.