This is my last message to you as president. It’s been my honor to serve as the 64th President of The Ebell of Los Angeles.
I wanted to share my comments from our June 13 Business Meeting. We have also posted the PowerPoint from that meeting in case you missed it.
I started my term on July 1, 2020 as the city and state were under stay-at-home orders imposed by health officials in attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. I knew that my predecessor, Ginger Barnard, would be a tough act to follow but little did I know, we’d be in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
In that first year, all of us learned to pivot to the virtual world of Zoom where we conducted many of our programs online. The E-Magazine that you are reading is another example of how we migrated our communication to members online.
In my first post in October 2020, I reported:
“I am pleased to report that The Ebell is hanging in there, thanks to your generosity and support and two hectic months of filming. Thankfully, we have been able to reschedule weddings that had been placed for the January and February to later in 2021. And, you will be pleased to know that The Ebell is still getting contracts for weddings in 2022 as brides know our historic building will be open for their special day at some point when the pandemic is behind us.”
In this June ’22 post, I am very pleased to report that we are doing better than hanging in there! Thanks to the collective commitment to The Ebell of our board, our professional staff and you, our loyal members, we are moving forward on a path to achieving the vision and mission of our founders. We are emerging from the pandemic a stronger more focused organization. We have spent the last six months working and planning our future. I am excited that we are on the cusp of achieving great things that will secure our building and the future of The Ebell.
While we had to keep it a secret during the planning stages, we can now share the news that we hosted the Second Gentleman of the United States, Mr. Douglas Emhoff and senior Biden Administration officials coordinating life-saving grants for arts organizations during the pandemic in conversation with local arts and cultural leaders.
Shelly C. Lowe, Chair of National Endowment for the Humanities, Isabella Casillas Guzman, United States Administrator of the Small Business Administration and Ayanna Hudson
Acting Deputy Chair for Programs and Partnerships at the National Endowment for the Arts joined Mr. Emhoff in a discussion with federal grant recipients Betty Avila, Executive Director of Self-Help Graphics, Jacqueline Stewart, Chief Artistic and Programming Officer at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with Danny Feldman, Executive/Artistic Director for the Pasadena Playhouse and our very own Executive Director, Stacy Brightman, who served as host.
Mr. Emhoff’s visit was timed with the Biden Administration’s trip to Los Angeles this past week for the Summit of the Americas. The meeting at The Ebell was organized by The White House as part of their series of meetings around the country with local arts organizations who have received federal assistance. The Ebell was selected as the site for the conversation because of our prominence as a historic site with a longstanding commitment to showcasing arts and culture in Los Angeles as well as having received federal assistance, thanks to the effort of our Executive Director who secured a shuttered venue grant just before the program closed.
Laurie Schechter and I were honored to serve as hosts and meet Mr. Emhoff, his staff and the key leaders of the NEA, NEH and SBA. It was delightful to showcase our historic campus buzzing with activity as staff from the event company organizing the Judy Garland centennial gala were transforming our Dining room, Art salon and Lounge.
The previous week, we served as host for Congressman Adam Schiff who will soon officially represent The Ebell when new Congressional district lines take effect January 1, 2023. Congressman Schiff hosted a conversation with all the arts organizations in the district to discuss federal funding of the arts and pandemic recovery. Over 100 organizations attended, many learning about The Ebell for the first time! My thanks to all the board members who participated and helped host our guests.
Locally, we were delighted to host Mayoral Candidate Congresswoman Karen Bass who is now in a runoff in November. This was the third conversation in the “Meet the Mayoral Candidates” series we hosted with Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall. Congresswoman Bass enjoyed meeting high school students before the forum in a casual conversation in our historic theatre.
These meetings with local and federal officials were enlightening and shall prove extremely helpful as we chart our way forward to raising the funds we need to bring our historic building into compliance with the City of Los Angeles’s earthquake safety building codes.
These events all took place in addition to our traditional Ebell programming, a fascinating luncheon learning about ancient stepwells, our first chorale concert since the pandemic and our first Art Salon event since the pandemic with over 200 invited guests. Congratulations to the RCA for another spectacular luncheon celebrating all the very worthy organizations we are honored to support. This week we are remembering the lives of two Ebell legends – Betty Jean Shea and Gloria Droguett – for their contributions to The Ebell.
Now I have the honor to install our new president, Laurie Schechter and our new board members. Later in the week we will hold our strategic planning process retreat to review a final draft of the plan which will be shared with all of you shortly. And, finally, we have completed the first phase of our Master Planning Process for the building that has provided us a road map as well as budget for our rehabilitation and code compliance work.
I am honored to have served and thankful for the opportunity. I plan to continue to serve and support the work of our professional staff and volunteer leaders as we embark on this brilliant future.