Public Policy Institute Hosts Week-Long Arts & Citizenship Symposium May 12-18

Terry tempest williamsThe Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute (PPI) will present its 3rd Annual Spring Symposium May 12-18. The theme for this year’s community symposium is “Arts and Citizenship: Affecting Public Policy through Personal Narrative.”

The symposium features speakers, panel discussions, storytelling for audiences ranging from fifth graders to adults, dance performances, and a campus art walk. All symposium events are open to the public, and most events are free. Seating is on a first-arrival basis if reservations are not required.

“We chose the theme of the symposium to explore how the arts help citizens develop an understanding of themselves and others, and the importance of this understanding in enhancing democracy,” said PPI associate director and SMC political science professor Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.

The symposium lineup is:

  • Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m.: Story Slam. Joint venture among SMC, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and the City of Santa Monica draws inspiration from KCRW storytelling program The Moth, with local fifth graders, high school students, SMC students, and community members sharing their real stories in a live, Moth-like format. FREE. Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 Fourth St., Santa Monica.

  • Tuesday, May 13 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with campus tours at 11:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m., and 12:15 p.m.: Campus Art Walk. Art by SMC students, faculty, and selected local artists of all ages – with the theme “A Respectful and Socially Just Community,” inspired by our partner, the Human Relations Council and its Kids With Cameras program – fills the Quad, and visitors can join campus tours and explore the Theatre Arts, Dance, Art, and Music Departments. FREE. The Quad on SMC’s main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (Visitor parking $10 at Lot 6, 14th St. and Pico Blvd.)

  • Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.: Community Keynote Address by Terry Tempest Williams. Terry Tempest Williams is a “citizen writer” and a voice for social change who speaks out on behalf of taking an ethical stance toward life, and whose personal narrative Open Space for Democracy links directly to the work of the Public Policy Institute. FREE. Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (Parking at Civic Center, 333 Civic Center Dr.)

  • Thursday, May 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Community Forum: Who Makes Policy in the Arts? Panel led by Arts for LA Executive Director Danielle Brazell and moderated by SMC Public Policy Institute Director Sheila Kuehl will explore how public policy shapes public access to the arts. Panel followed by audience back-and-forth. FREE. Reservations required (email with number of guests attending). Humanities & Social Science Lecture Hall 263 on SMC’s main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (FREE visitor parking at Lot 6, 14th St. and Pico Blvd.)

  • Friday, May 16 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.: Student Matinees: Education Outreach: Dance at The Broad. SMC, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and the City of Santa Monica bring local fifth graders to performances by SMC’s Global Motion World Dance Company and the Westside School of Ballet. FREE. The Broad Stage, SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. (Free onsite parking.)

  • Sunday, May 18 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with receptions at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.: Westside Ballet’s Spring Performance at The Broad. Program highlights works by 20th-century choreographers George Balanchine and Ben Stevenson, OBE, with excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty. Reception before each performance is a fundraiser to support the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Vision for Student Success, the Westside School of Ballet, and the SMC Foundation. Tickets $35 at The Broad Stage, SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. (Free onsite parking.)

SMC’s Public Policy Institute provides nonpartisan community programs exploring key economic, social and political issues. SMC offers an Associate in Arts Degree and Certificate of Achievement in Public Policy, with specialties in arts and cultural affairs, education, environment and sustainability, public health, and urban and socioeconomic issues.

The symposium is co-sponsored by a wide range of education, government and community organizations, and donors, including: City of Santa Monica, Associated Students of Santa Monica College, SMC Foundation, SMC Associates, Fairmont Miramar, Westside School of Ballet, Santa Monica College Symphony, SMC Art Department, SMC Dance Department, SMC Music Department, SMC Theatre Arts Department, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, SMMUSD Parent Teacher Association, The Broad Stage, HRC Santa Monica, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Santa Monica, Community For Excellent Public Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Daily Press, and Kate Bransfield.

For further information about the symposium, go to or call (310) 434-3541.