On a multi-tasking Friday evening on April 27, 2019, the Wende Museum hosted the second community conversations for the reuse of buildings at 10858 Culver Blvd., followed by a brief talk on Utopian Ideas. It turned out to be a good match.
The informal gatherings seeking input on design and function for the next contiguous lot on Culver Boulevard began in March and will conclude in May. Almost two dozen people attended the April meeting, led by the Wende Museum’s Jessica Hoffman and Shannon Larner, who both encouraged comment and took notes.
The ideas that had already been offered were presented for further consideration. Options for education and culture, social services and studio space, were all offered up. Keeping one or both of the buildings currently onsite was discussed, but rather quickly concluded that neither building was a strong candidate for rehabilitation; something new was far more probable.
People who had not attended the original discussion agreed with many of the ideas for community use. The third meeting, coming on May 26, will be a time to consolidate the community input and begin to look towards design.
After a ‘happy hour’ reception in the garden, Joes Segal of the Wende Museum brought everyone back in for a brief presentation on ‘Utopian Thoughts in Times of Moral Confusion.’ His observations on the origin of the term – Thomas Moore’s book Utopia – and the current state of political affairs was both insightful and thought provoking.
There were conversations throughout the museum and the garden, people gathered together in small groups, citing the community input, noting the idea of utopia, and as the evening faded into night, ending on a note of optimism. The renewal of the old Armory building as the Wende Museum has set not just a high standard, but a very concrete example of turning what we have into what we want it to be.