A rebranded, reinvigorated version of downtown Santa Monica was launched Wednesday morning during an event that combined a press conference and a new slogan ("everyone's downtown") with a colorful "flash mob" performance.
The event began around 10:45 a.m. on the between Broadway and Arizona, just south of Wednesday farmers market activity. It also served to formally introduce the Bayside District Corporation's new name, Downtown Santa Monica Inc., and the organization's upcoming strategies.
Bill Tucker, who serves as the chair of the board of directors for Downtown Santa Monica Inc., kicked off the agenda by announcing a "major shift" in how the organization plans to manage the area.
Clad in one of the pairs of pastel-colored sunglasses that were doled out to the roughly 100 gatherers, he highlighted the group's partnership with the city and introduced Mayor .
Bloom, who repeatedly prompted the crowd to chant the organization's new name, said downtown—contrary to popular belief—actually stretches from Wilshire Blvd. (north) to the 10 Freeway (south) to Ocean Ave. (west) to Lincoln Blvd. (east).
In the years since the Bayside District Corporation originated in 1984, it has become recognized "that this is a much bigger community than the promenade," Bloom said. But, he qualified, the promenade is "the glue" that holds downtown together.
Downtown Santa Monica Inc. CEO Kathleen Rawson, who took to the mic after Bloom, cited a 2010 study that showed the Bayside brand was only familiar to some Santa Monica locals and "didn't cover the whole demographic."
"The new name more clearly defines the geographic area," she said. "[We've] changed our perceived image of a shopping mall [area] toward more of an urban community defining downtown."
Rawson said downtown Santa Monica is both "edgy" and, in a geographical sense, on the "edge" of the continent of North America.
She also pointed out some of the new downtown Santa Monica messaging that has been put into place: a series of half-eclipse graphics accompanied by words such as "friendly," "authentic" and "vibrant."
After announcing new social-media efforts, community initiatives and downtown programs—including Cinema on the Street and Dating Downtown—Rawson was "interrupted" by a street performer who advanced to the stage while performing Walking on Sunshine on acoustic guitar.
Moments later, a seemingly frustrated Rawson backed away from the mic as about 100 young people in the crowd put on a "flash mob" dance performance. To a modern rendition of Petula Clark's Downtown, the yellow-clad dancers performed to the sounds of applause and party poppers.
Also in attendance at the Wednesday event were City Councilman Terry O'Day; multiple board members of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.; and members of the , the , the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.