During the Beverly Hills Arts and Culture Commission’s regularly scheduled April 11 meeting, the city demonstrated its ongoing commitment to art, highlighting a plethora of programming and providing updates on various arts and culture events around the city.
The meeting began, however, with an update from Interim Human Services Administrator Christopher Paulson on enhanced services for the unhoused population. In addition to existing services such as the Beverly Hills Outreach Team hotline, a new software system, Apricot 360, went live on March 1. The system collects data on the city’s unhoused population.
The city’s park rangers are actively involved in homelessness activity, Paulson noted. Every weekday, they conduct an early-morning outreach in the city’s parks. It started in Beverly Gardens Park, which is 22 blocks long, and has since expanded to all the parks, including Roxbury Park and La Cienega Park.
“The challenge with homelessness is it can take 25-200 times approaching a person to persuade them to accept services,” Paulson said. “It’s very challenging, and we don’t get results immediately.”
Beverly Hills, he explained, is situated in the middle of downtown and Santa Monica two areas that attract homelessness. Wilshire Boulevard is used as a thoroughfare between those two areas.
Turning to upcoming events, the Commission noted that an important anniversary for the city is coming up on April 24. That date marks the 100th anniversary of the pivotal election that kept Beverly Hills an independent city. To commemorate the historic date, the city’s Community Services Department is partnering with the Beverly Hills Historical Society for screenings of the historical society’s new documentary, “The Stars who Saved our City.”
The film chronicles one of the earliest examples of celebrity politics. It highlights the efforts of local residents Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Mary Pickford and Will Rogers in the campaign against annexation. Screenings are taking place on April 24 and 27 at newly renovated Greystone Theatre at Greystone Mansion and Gardens; on April 23 at the Farmers’ Market and April 24 at Roxbury Park. For more information, visit beverlyhills.org/april24.
The commission meeting also shared details about the upcoming Music in the Mansion festival, which will be celebrating its 29th year of showcasing extraordinary music. It takes place from April 20-23 at Greystone Mansion and Gardens. Tickets for the event, which typically sells out, can be purchased at beverlyhills.org/musicinthemansion.
Additional discussion during the meeting focused on the upcoming Beverly Hills Art Show, taking place May 20 and 21 at Beverly Gardens Park. The 50th anniversary show will showcase 235 artists, each selected from over 500 applications.
“I think Beverly Hills has one of the best art shows, and I say that because I continually get feedback from the community about our art shows,” Commissioner Karla Gordy Bristol said. “With this being the 50th, I am very excited, and I hope everyone that has not had the opportunity to come out, will make it out.”
The meeting’s participants also offered an update on Jewish American Heritage Month, which begins May 1 and recognizes Jewish contributions to American culture, history, the military, science, government, and other areas. Paul Paolone, interim recreation services manager, described it as “a council-driven initiative to celebrate Jewish heritage.” Beverly Hills is one of many cities around the country that marks the month-long tribute.
In Beverly Hills, residents will kvell over the variety of Jewish-themed programs, including a lively concert with Zetz Klezmer Ensemble, along with a rugelach-baking competition, at the Farmers Market on May 14. City officials expect a fun and family-friendly morning.
Additionally, there will be the screening of Jewish films every Thursday all month long at Roxbury Park Community Center, and the Beverly Hills Public Library will highlight notable works by Jewish-American authors.
The month-long nod to Jewish culture will provide an educational opportunity for residents and city officials alike. When a commissioner expressed excitement about eating arugula, the healthy salad green, Stephanie Harris, director of community services, clarified they would be eating rugelach, the Eastern European pastry.
Also around the corner is the city’s inaugural MADE in Beverly Hills arts festival, a four-day exploration of the art, architecture, design, and landscapes that have made Beverly Hills a world-class city. The program kicks off May 3 with a reception at Greystone Gardens and features more than 20 events throughout the city, including films, lectures, and spectacular tours. Tickets are available at Made.modtix.com.
“This is the first time the city of Beverly Hills is having a unique program like this,” Paolone said.