The Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Language Capital of the World Cultural Festival on May 2 and 3, 2015.  The event was organized by the City of Monterey to recognize and celebrate the rich cultural history of Monterey and the expert array of educational institutions in Monterey dedicated to language learning.  The two day event began with a parade/procession down Alvarado Street to the Custom House Plaza, where the remainder of the Festival took place.  This first Festival was a great success and will be promoted into the future.

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Held in the heart of historic Old Monterey adjacent to Downtown Monterey and Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf, this inaugural “Language Capital of the World® Cultural Festival” highlighted Monterey’s rich language, culture, and international affairs capabilities, as well as its Sister City relationships.  The Festival featured cultural dancing and singing, ethnic foods and crafts, Sister City exhibits, and exhibits from the flagship foreign language and culture institutions of higher learning, including Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), California State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB), Monterey Peninsula College (MPC), Defense Language Institute (DLI), Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and others.

In addition, this free event celebrated Monterey’s four Sister Cities that include Kusadasi, Turkey; Nanao, Japan; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Lankaran, Azerbaijan, with attendees present from these countries.

The internationally-themed entertainment representing language and culture, was coordinated by Sameera E. Sharif, Assistant Professor at the Defense Language Institute, and included Taiko Drums, Soranbushi Dance, Modern Japanese Singing, Sake Cask Demonstration, Kendo Demonstrations (Japan), Mexican Dance Group (Mexico), Korean Fan Dance and Korean Percussion Band (Korea), Lion Dance, Dragon Dance, Tai Chi Fan Dance, Umbrella Dance, Chinese Choir and Chinese Violin, Chinese Tea Ceremony (China), Pakistani Folk Dancing (Pakistan), Tarantella Dance, Music and Singing (Italy), Flamenco Dance (Spain), and Indian Folk Dance and Bollywood Dance (India) and more.

The trademarked slogan of “Language Capital of the World®” for Monterey County was recently approved by the Library of Congress. The slogan has been used for many years to reflect the many institutions involved with international studies and language instruction in Monterey County.

LCOW fest     Monterey County organizations also play an important role in providing translation (written word) and interpretation (spoken) services around the globe such as LanguageLine Solutions and MediaLocate USA, among others. Organizations such as the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Monterey Peninsula College, California State University of Monterey Bay and other local entities provide instruction in many languages.  The Naval Postgraduate School has hosted students from more than 100 nations and provides professional, service-oriented educational programs for the U.S. armed forces and international militaries. Monterey County is also a very popular destination from visitors throughout the world, and Monterey’s languages and cultural diversity is reflected in its Native American, Chinese, Filipino, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese roots.

According to Dino Pick, Deputy City Manager, City of Monterey, “We are thrilled to highlight our institutions of higher learning, military installations and businesses such as MIIS, DLI, and LanguageLine Solutions. These organizations and their world-class faculty, staff and students help make Monterey the ‘Language Capital of the World’”.

The Old Monterey Foundation was thrilled to participate in this first ever Festival and is looking forward to the future when we expect this event to become a staple of Monterey’s cultural scene.


ART IN THE GARDENS The Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to announce that its series of Plein Air events continues this year with “Art in the Gardens” September 12 & 13. Mark your calendars and plan to attend. ColtonHallPleinAirSaturday, September 12                  11 AM – 4 PM:

  • Local artists paint in and around the historic gardens of Old Monterey.
  • Docents and gardeners interpret and explain the creation and maintenance of each garden featured.
  • Information area in Sensory Garden (Olivier Street, outside Picket Fence) will feature maps of gardens for use by attendees.
  • Tickets on sale for a drawing to win original paintings donated by participating artists.

IMG_1141IMG_1144Sunday, September 13                  11 AM – 4 PM:

  • Artists display newly painted work in the Sensory Garden area. Entries for judging and other original works are available for purchase from the artists.
  • Tickets for the drawing will be on sale until 3PM, when winning tickets will be drawn.
  • 1 PM: Judges announce prizes and cash awards for winning paintings.

This free event will introduce the public to many “secret” gardens in Old Monterey, showcasing their rich history while inspiring contemporary gardeners to become involved. Watching local artists paint in the gardens should inspire a new appreciation for our city’s historic and modern charms. Come watch the artists work on Saturday, then return Sunday to admire the finished paintings and find one to enhance your home! LarkinHouse

Anyone interested in participating as an artist in our 2015 ART IN THE GARDENS – PLEIN AIRE should download the application below and submit to Mary Lou Cortwright as instructed.

Art in the Gardens application form.

Interested artists and participants should contact or call 643-2295 for more information.

NIP Funds Lower Presidio Historic Park

bannersignThe Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to report that Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Committee (NIP) has allocated $215,000 to our request for funding of the preliminary implementation of the Master Plan for the lower Presidio Historic Park. It was nip and tuck as the voting to allocate about $3.8 million went to a third round, where we garnered 51 votes, sufficient to win funding from the remaining $750,000.

There were many worthwhile projects nominated for funding this year, and most of the funding went to traditional neighborhood improvements like sidewalks, drainage, and landscaping in the first two rounds. In the face of this competition, OMF reduced our request from a total of $752,000 to $215,000, which was the minimum needed to begin the transformation of the Lower Presidio from an overgrown waste area to a real public park.

With these funds, we expect to accomplish the signage necessary to inform and direct the public to Park, including entrance signs at both entrances to the Park and several off-site signs pointing the way; construction of a concrete walking path from the existing parking lot out and around the promontory of the Serra Monument and sites of El Castillo; handicap access; benches overlooking the harbor; and some interpretive signs. Not included in this round of funding is the removal of trees blocking the historic view of the Harbor ($47,000); replacement of the cyclone fence with a historically accurate wooden slat fence around the entire perimeter of the Park ($100,000); and the pathway up to the Sloat Monument ($245,000).

The NIP allocation goes before the Planning Commission and the City Council for final approval (in June). While we are waiting for that assured approval, OMF is getting the administrative effort organized between the City and State authorities, and the Federal authorities. Hopefully, we will all be ready to leap forward in June after final approval. It is not unreasonable to hope and expect that the majority of this implementation piece will be underway before the end of the year.

While that effort is ongoing, OMF intends to fund and begin a public awareness program to inform the public of these developments and set the stage for funding of later developments in the Park. The Army’s Manager of the Presidio environmental and cultural programs has agreed to start what may be a two-year program to develop archaeological protocols with the affected indigenous Americans for digging and excavation on the site, which will be required by later phases of the Master Plan. Once those protocols are in place, progress in developing the Park will be unfettered by bureaucratic delays.

In the immediate future, OMF will be writing grant applications and soliciting private funding for completion of the Phase I implementation – including removal of trees, erection of a wooden fence, and constriction of a pathway to the Sloat Monument.


The Board of the Old Monterey Foundation has been busy the past several weeks appearing before various City committees and initiating contact with various agencies necessary to the development process for the Lower Presidio Historic Park.

Besides appearing before the NIP Committee to explain the details of our preliminary implementation phase of the Master Plan, Bill McCrone, Frank Sollecito, and Patrick O’Dowd have attended meetings of the Colton Hall Museum and Cultural Arts Commission, which gave our project their highest priority and recommendation; the Parks and Recreation Commission, who found that our project is in accordance with their plans and programs; and finally the City Council on April 7. The Council recommended to the NIP Committee that our project be approved with a high priority, and generally applauded our effort to move the LPHP Master Plan to realization with development of a park setting and amenities for the public.

On April 9, the sub-committee (Sollecito, McCrone, O’Dowd, and Kip Hudson) met on site with Laura Prishmont Quimby, the Archaeologist and cultural Resources Manager of the Presidio, and the person for the Army tasked with overseeing assets such as the Lower Presidio. She expressed considerable enthusiasm for our project and promises to give priority to assisting us with development if we get preliminary funding from the NIP Committee.

Lower Presidio Historic ParkLaura Prishmont QuimbyShe explained that development of the Park according to the Master Plan involves various reviews by agencies responsible for environmental and historic preservation. We will need to provide a detailed map showing improvements and schematics showing the fence and walkway designs. Then the City will need to do a preliminary environmental assessment for her approval and submit for approval with a state historic preservation authority. We hope Kim Cole and Dennis Copeland, City planning and historic officials, will be able to respond to those requirements. Then Laura will process the environmental review with the DLI Commandant and Corps of Engineers.

We have designed the preliminary Phase 1 to avoid any “digging”, which will postpone a more extensive review and coordination with affected Native American groups who have a statutory interest in preserving their heritage at the site. We will encourage such participation at the earliest date and the processing of approval for more extensive improvements that are planned for subsequent Phases of implementation of the Master Plan. That process takes about two years and Laura has promised to get started with it as soon as we have any commitment to funding from the NIP funds.

Our goal is to have work started on site before the end of the year.

We will have the opportunity to make our case before the NIP Committee on Thursday, April 16, at 7 pm in the Council Chambers. Come and show your support. The voting for NIP projects takes place the following Thursday, April 23.



The Old Monterey Foundation has submitted an application to Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Committee to grant funding for preliminary development of the Lower Presidio Historic Park Master Plan. The proposal, filed on December 10, 2014, is currently wending its way through the NIP process, which consists of estimating costs by the City Engineer, presenting the actual project to the Committee van tour and testimony during regular NIP meetings at City Hall, and then competitive voting on April 23, 2015. Thereafter, the City Council reviews and approves final selection of projects for funding during June.

A copy of our application can be found here. Continue reading NIP FUNDING APPLICATION PENDING

New Board Members

We are happy to announce the three newest members of the OMF Board of Directors:

  • Melissa Thoeny, long-time resident and graphic designer and owner of OLIO, a vintage shop that was located in the Rodriguez-Osio Adobe in downtown Monterey
  • Patrick O’Dowd, who brings perspective and experience from his years as Associate Director and Curator of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Steve Vagini, well-known in his position as Monterey County Tax Assessor, his many community contributions include West End Celebration in Sand City, and the the non-profit “Guitars Not Guns”, which provides free guitar lessons to  youth throughout the county.

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