ORIGINAL POST, April 20, 5:38 p.m.: The tenth anniversary of Santa Ana's Grrl Fair event was supposed to be a joyous occasion. As I wrote for the Weekly, organizers hoped to put last year's cancellation soap opera behind them with a searing headlining performance by Long Beach's Bella Novela. Unfortunately, controversy has found its way in again this year.
The collective that put together last month's Grrl Fair has just issued a statement today on their plans to protest outside of Santa Ana's Artists Village on May 7th. The International Women's Day celebration featuring local bands, art, vendors and workshops, they say, was marred by repeated instances of sexual harassment. The statement reads:
During the Grrl Fair event On March 12, 2011 in the Santora Building of the Downtown Santa Ana Artist Village there were incidents of women and underage girls being inappropriately touched by a gallery tenant. This included Grrl Fair staff.
Titled “Stop Sexual Harassment in the Santa Ana Artists Village” the statement posted on Grrl Fair's Facebook page goes on to note how the event organizers have attempted since the time of Grrl Fair to address the problem through various channels only to find an unsatisfactory response at every stop prompting the need, in their estimation, for a public demonstration:
For the past month and a half we have taken steps to legally process and rectify what had happened at the Grrl Fair event. We contacted the tenants, we contacted the building manager and we went to the police. It's been almost a month and the police have not given us the police reports. This leads us to believe they haven't been processed at all. We need these reports in order to begin the legal process. When we spoke to the building manager of The Santora Building, he did not want anything to do with us and has not been in contact with us at all since we called him, emailed and faxed him all the information.
Assuming all responsibility for the content and allegations made in the statement, the Grrl Fair collective is moving forward with plans for a march and rally. They say that as long as the tenant in question remains unaccounted for, the Artists Village is not a safe space for women and girls. On May 7th, the collective and any of those who choose to join them in solidarity will be meeting at Birch Park on 3rd and Birch in Santa Ana at 7 p.m. All assembled will then march to the Santora Arts Building at 8 p.m.
Being the first Saturday of the month, the demonstration will coincide with the Santa Ana Artists Village Art Walk.