Category: Fundraising

Future of Seattle's Intiman Theatre is still up in the air

February 1, 2012 |  5:15 pm

Intiman Theatre's website uses images of its supporters
Here’s some added theatrical suspense: We’ll have to wait till next week to see if Intiman Theatre has made its final curtain call. 

Budget woes caused the Tony-winning theater to close last spring, and for the past two months, the Seattle arts scene headliner has been fundraising to meet a $1 million goal to reopen for summer or shut down for good. Wednesday was the self-imposed deadline, and with $820,000 raised as of Tuesday afternoon, the coffers were nearly full. 

Officials will spend the rest of the week tallying up the pledges and the board will meet Monday to decide the theater’s fate. If the Intiman survives, the summer lineup includes a four–play festival with works from Shakespeare and writer-journalist Dan Savage. 

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-- Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Intiman Theatre's website uses images of its supporters. Credit: Intiman Theatr

Frank Gehry is working for free as architect of new Jazz Bakery

January 31, 2012 |  5:30 pm

Leadman

This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

Having designed L.A.’s signature space for classical music, Frank Gehry is on board to do the same for jazz -– although his pro bono work on a new Culver City home for the Jazz Bakery would be on a much smaller scale than his downtown Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Gehry’s involvement became public Monday when the Culver City City Council authorized the city manager’s office to execute a “commitment letter” transferring a narrow slice of city-owned land next to the Kirk Douglas Theatre –- just one-seventh of an acre -– to the nonprofit Jazz Bakery for a new home. 

The council had to move quickly. The fear was that if the transaction was not completed by the end of the day Tuesday the long-brewing plan to give the Jazz Bakery the land would be sunk by the state government’s decision to eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide starting Wednesday. That will include the Culver City Redevelopment Agency, which administered the property at 9814 Washington Blvd. that’s being transferred.

Richard Posell, a Jazz Bakery board member and attorney, said there’s widespread confusion over just what the new ground rules for using former redevelopment agency land might be if the transfer agreement weren't signed by the deadline. Final details were still being negotiated late Tuesday afternoon.

“I think it’s going to get signed,” Posell said. If not, he quipped, “I hope Jerry Brown likes jazz.”

The Jazz Bakery aims to raise an estimated $10.2 million to build its new home, with a $2-million grant from the Annenberg Foundation as the campaign’s cornerstone. Plans call for a two-story building, with the main, 250-seat concert room upstairs and a small black box theater on the ground floor. The Jazz Bakery has been seeking a permanent home since 2009, when it lost its lease at the Helms Bakery complex, a mile northeast of the new location. Since then, it has produced concerts in various places.

Ruth Price, president and artistic director of the Jazz Bakery since it debuted in 1992, said Tuesday that she didn’t know Gehry, or even ask for his help, before he called about six months ago to volunteer his services.

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Gehry-designed New York theater to open with $25-million gift

January 27, 2012 |  7:01 am

Signature Center NYC by Frank Gehry rendering by Daniel Black
Frank Gehry’s first project for a stage company –- the new home of Manhattan’s Signature Theatre –- will be named the Pershing Square Signature Center, thanks to a $25-million gift announced Thursday during the run-up to the venue’s opening on Tuesday.

The $66-million facility on 42nd Street takes its name from its benefactor, Pershing Square Capital Management, a New York-based hedge fund whose contribution will primarily subsidize low ticket prices to encourage attendance by new and diverse audiences.

It houses three stages, with seating capacities of 199, 244 and 294. The complex is at the foot of a 63-story, mixed-use glass tower developed by the Related Companies. Gehry designed only the theater center, which will debut with a production of Athol Fugard’s “Blood Knot,” directed by the playwright.

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Natural History Museum announces new hall for history and ecology

January 12, 2012 |  1:01 pm

Natural History Museum new history gallery artist rendering
For the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 2012 means another year and another major new attraction.

Officials announced Thursday that a permanent exhibit tentatively called “Becoming Los Angeles,” the next phase of the $135-million “NHM Next” campaign that began in 2007, will open in December, adding 14,000 square feet of galleries documenting the region’s ecology and human history and how they intertwine.

The makeover will culminate in 2013, the museum's 100th anniversary year, with its first permanent outdoor exhibit, a 3.5-acre "urban wilderness" focused on the region's biodiversity, and the reopening of the special exhibitions hall that's been closed since 2006. The first attraction there, in June 2013, will be "Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World," a touring show about the famed trading route between Baghdad and China that debuted in 2009 at New York's American Museum of Natural History.

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NEH grants $1.4 million in California; funds small-venue exhibits

December 2, 2011 |  9:45 am

Thomas Cole View from Mount Holyoke
The National Endowment for the Humanities announced $21 million in grants Thursday for scholarship, collections conservation and public humanities programming, with a tenth of the money geared toward a traveling exhibitions program that sends shows on art, history and culture to small museums and galleries around the country for a fee of $2,000.

The $2.1-million exhibitions grant –- by far the largest announced -– goes to the Mid-America Arts Alliance of Kansas City, Mo., which administers the "NEH on the Road" program for the federal grantmaking agency.  Abby Sims Beckloff, a spokeswoman for the arts alliance, said the program began in 2005, and the new grant will fund a 3 1/2-year extension through 2015.

"NEH on the Road" currently has 10 exhibitions on tour, including “Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity,” a show about the colorful tradition of African woven art  that originated at UCLA’s Fowler Museum in 1999. Beckloff said the traveling program picks original museum exhibitions such as the Fowler’s, then scales them down and repackages them so they can travel affordably to smaller venues. Under the auspices of "NEH on the Road,"  “Wrapped in Pride” –- which the Fowler organized with New Jersey’s Newark Museum -- returned to Southern California in September, when it was seen at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson.

The most recent addition to the touring roster is “Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Painting,” which began a five-year tour in September in Bryan, Texas and is now on display at the Stedman Art Gallery at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J. The show does not include original paintings or sketches, but centers on related artifacts documenting Cole (whose 1836 painting, "View From Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Mass., After a Thunderstorm -- the Oxbow," is pictured) and the Hudson River School art movement. It’s booked next fall at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa.

The return of “Wrapped in Pride” marked the first time "NEH on the Road" reached Southern California; according to the program’s website, the next currently scheduled arrival is “Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation,” which documents the life and times of Americans born from 1910 to 1929, and will open at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery in Carlsbad early in 2014.

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Muzeo exhibit hall in Anaheim has a new executive director

November 16, 2011 |  3:30 pm


Muzeo exhibition hall in Anaheim
Muzeo, the downtown Anaheim exhibition hall that opened four years ago aiming to establish that culture could join theme parks on visitors’ itineraries, has appointed John A. Scola as its new executive director.

Scola is a veteran fundraising executive for nonprofit organizations. He was president of the Orange Catholic Foundation, the fundraising wing of the Diocese of Orange, from 2006 to 2009, then started a consultancy. The Mission Viejo resident began his new job this week, succeeding Peter Comiskey, Muzeo’s first executive director.

Muzeo executive director John ScolaComiskey said in a statement that he had been dividing his time between Muzeo and as manager of the Downtown Anaheim Assn., a nonprofit group that promotes the area, which is about two miles from Disneyland, as an aspiring urban hub.  He said Muzeo has reached the stage where it needs “the full-time attention of a full-time executive director.”

Muzeo doesn’t have a collection; its eclectic mission is to bring in touring exhibits ranging through art, history and science. The two current shows deal with the Victorian era -- “The Queen’s Gallery: Art from the Collection of Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl,” and “Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination.”

Muzeo’s 2010-11 federal nonprofit tax return shows that during its first four years it nearly managed to break even, while bringing in average annual revenues of about $1 million -- most of it from memberships and contributions rather than the single admissions that would reflect a booming trade from tourist walk-ins.

In the overall O.C. exhibitions scheme, the Discovery Science Center and Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach and Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach (which also named a new director this month) are the top four, with yearly expenses of about $9 million, $5 million, $3.5 million and $1.5 million, respectively.  Muzeo and the Irvine Museum in Irvine follow at about the $1 million mark.

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Photos: Muzeo exhibition hall in Anaheim; John Scola, new executive director of Muzeo in Anaheim. Credits: Muzeo

LACMA kicks off gala series with Clint Eastwood, John Baldessari

November 6, 2011 |  1:41 pm

Lacma1

On Saturday evening, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art threw itself a party that organizers hope will be the start of an annual tradition. "Art + Film" was LACMA's first major fundraising gala of its kind, and it drew the sort of celebrity wattage that one normally associates with award shows and movie premieres. 

LACMA joins a handful of other major museums that host annual, star-studded fundraising galas, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum in L.A.

"Art + Film," was intended as a tribute to the overlapping worlds of cinema and the visual arts, though judging by the attendance roster the emphasis was more on the former than the latter. The party was held in the main LACMA courtyard, where a massive heated tent served as the main dining area.

Michael Govan, the director of LACMA, said in a brief interview that the event was expected to raise about $3 million for the museum. The black-tie dinner was attended by approximately 500 guests, including the two honorees, Clint Eastwood and John Baldessari.

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The L.A. Phil and its top earners are doing very well, thank you

November 4, 2011 |  9:00 am

Los Angeles Philharmonic's most recent public tax return shows a complete recovery from the recession.
The arts are a reflection of the world we live in, a biography of the human spirit, a legacy of the best our species has done and thought, and all that other lofty stuff.

The arts are also a means of earning a living.

Under the U.S. system, charities are required to state their highest-paid employees' earnings in annual public tax returns. That gives a window on the going wages for top creative and executive talent working in the nonprofit arts -– and on each organization's overall fiscal health.

Read The Times' article about the 2009-10 results for one of the most financially successful American arts organization of the 2000s, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The numbers show a complete rebound from the recession, putting a positive capper on a decade that brought a transformation of the Phil's fiscal fortunes.

And click through these photo galleries to see how the remuneration of the orchestra's two top employees -– music director Gustavo Dudamel and president and chief executive Deborah Borda -– compare with other leading conductors and arts executives.

PHOTOS: Arts executives' pay for 2009

PHOTOS: Conductors' earnings: Nothing to shake a stick at

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Photo: Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Marina Abramović seeks strong, silent types for MOCA

October 27, 2011 | 10:28 am

Marina Abramovic is looking for "performance artists, dancers, yogis and actors" to participate in the gala event that she's directing for MOCA
Don't be surprised if you see a casting call from Marina Abramović at your local yoga studio. The Yugoslavia-born, New York-based performance artist is looking for "performance artists, dancers, yogis and actors" to participate in the gala event that she's directing for MOCA on Nov.12. Auditions will take place Nov. 7-10 in downtown L.A.

According to the flier, Abramović is "seeking dynamic adult men and women, 5’– 6’ tall, with excellent physical stamina, focus and discipline." All ages welcome.

It also says: "sustained stillness and silence required," suggesting that the MOCA performance -- details are still under wraps -- will be well in keeping with Abramović's work testing the limits of individuals' powers of concentration and society's drive to undermine that.

So is nudity also required, as it was for her blockbuster MoMA retrospective? Only for "a small percentage" of the women, it says.

Anyone interested in auditioning is being asked to submit head shots, full-length pictures or both by Nov. 2. Do note "your height and any previous performance experience, yoga practice, or martial arts training in your submission." Do not, it says, send nude pictures.

For more information, visit the artist's Facebook page "Marina Abramović Auditions."

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--Jori Finkel
Twitter.com/jorifinkel

Photo: Marina Abramović by René Habermacher. Credit: Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles

Duke Foundation creates nation's biggest artist-grant program

October 22, 2011 |  8:00 am

Mark Taper Forum in 2008
Jazz, contemporary dance and theater artists who now dream of getting a phone call from the MacArthur Foundation telling them they’ve won a $500,000 “genius grant” can add another plausible fantasy to their list: a $275,000 phone call from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The $1.6-billion New York City-based foundation announced this week that it’s committing $50 million over the next 10 years to a special Performing Artists Initiative that will provide up to $27.5 million to 100 well-established “leading artists” and up to $8 million for 100 emerging figures. The balance, about $14.5 million, will go to administer the program and to fund an initiative in which individual artists will pair with dance companies, theater companies and performing arts presenters for four months of residencies spread over two or three years.  At least 50 residency awards of $75,000 or $150,000 will be made, starting in 2013.

The new infusion, which the Duke Foundation says is “the largest allocation of cash grants ever given to artists in these fields,”  will be on top of the Duke Foundation’s regular arts giving, which has totaled $13.1 million a year since 2009 -– down from about $18 million before the financial crash and recession whittled its investment holdings.

In distributing $3.5 million in average annual grants to individuals during the coming decade, the Duke Foundation will become the nation’s leading charitable funder of individual artists -– although it will take a few years to ramp up to that level.  L.A.-based United States Artists awards $2.5 million annually, providing no-strings, one-year grants of $50,000 each to 50 mid-career USA Fellows who work in various visual, performing and literary disciplines. Last year, United States Artists kicked off a $50-million endowment campaign aimed at ensuring that its grants will continue “in perpetuity.”

The idea, Duke Foundation spokeswoman Kristin Roth-Schrefer said Friday, is to fund artists who are in a fertile period of their career and are “passionate and pushing forward.” It’s not “a lifetime achievement award looking backward.”

Jazz musicians known for great chops but not original material or innovative approaches, and dancers and actors who mainly just play their roles (sublime as the results may be), need not wait for a call next spring. Roth-Schrefer said the winners will be “generative artists, people who are creating and pushing the art form forward, not necessarily playing something that someone else gave them. It means they’re doing something beyond simply acting out a role.”

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