Liaison Meetings Discuss Festivals and Funding

The Council Liaison/Arts and Culture Commission Committee meeting of June 3 took up the topic of the upcoming Festival Beverly Hills, a celebration of culture and community. The event will be an opportunity for visitors as well as residents to discover something new about other cultures through literature, music and food. The second annual festival will take place on July 21 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Roxbury Park. 

“I think it’s important for people to experience a variety of cultures to begin to understand each other better and come together,” said Karla Gordy Bristol, vice chair of the Arts and Culture Commission. “That was kind of the mission starting out. Let’s celebrate the arts and then bring cultures within it so people can come and have a really good time together.”

Performances will take place throughout the day on two main stages, including musical ensembles, global DJ sets, dances, puppet shows and live poetry. In total, the festival will celebrate 13 different cultures, including Israeli, Indigenous and Aztec, Japanese, Mexican, Persian, Hawaiian and Polynesian, and Afro-Cuban, along with contributions from the countries of Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Senegal, and Tobago and Trinidad. There will also be a number of interactive booths, such as a record store pop-up complete with a listening station and a bookstore pop-up where guests who are interested in deepening their cultural dive can read and buy books. Food trucks will be scattered on the perimeter of the park, offering multicultural culinary creations.

The inaugural Festival Beverly Hills in March 2023 was a huge success among residents and members of the community, but the decision to move this year’s event to July is expected to bring in guests who may be visiting from other parts of the world.

“When you’re from different regions of the world, you come together for the arts,” said Bristol. “And we have that power to celebrate that.”

With a similar mindset of giving back to the community, the Council Liaison/Human Relations Commission Committee reviewed Community Assistance Grant Funding (CAGF) applicants at its June 5 meeting. These applicants are community programs and social service groups who requested additional funding for events, new services and community outreach. For the 2024-2025 fiscal year, the Human Relations Commission received 31 applications for funding for a total requested amount of $2,073,999. During the meeting, they discussed the amount of funding for each program. 

The 31 applicants can be broken down into six categories: homeless services, food insecurity and nutrition, senior services, health and wellbeing, education, and cultural enhancement. The groups “Healthcare in Action,” which requested $250,000, and “Westside Food Bank,” which requested $275,000, were allocated the largest amount of funding.

Healthcare in Action plans to use the money to provide medical services to Beverly Hills’ unhoused community, offering the administration of psychiatric medications. The committee recommended allocating them $124,000, with the potential for more funding next year.

Westside Food Bank provides affordable meals for low-income residents. The committee proposed $250,000 for their allocation of the funding.  These recommendations will be brought to the full City Council for approval on June 27. 

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