Wende Museum Turns Community Input into Community Center Plan

“Wende is the German word for transformation, or turning point,” Justin Jampol, the Executive Director of the Wende Museum noted in his remarks at the final community meeting focused on redesigning the property at 10858 Culver Blvd. The idea of transforming the space had been the subject of a series of community meetings, where people were invited to gather and offer ideas for how to repurpose the property next door to the Wende, and May 26 was the moment to present what those ideas could turn into as community space.

The phrase that had come up in the meetings, “Swiss Army building,” a place of open design for multiple kinds of use, got the more formal title of ‘Flexible Community Gathering Space’ on the final presentation. The later addition of an “Education and Community Wellness Center” was the concept for the back part of the lot, along with an accessible garden to the west and an open space for picnic tables to the east.

Citing the Wende Museum itself as an example of how this could work, Jampol noted that when they had been housed in a small space in an industrial park in Fox Hills, just a few years ago, there were those who thought transforming the decrepit Armory building into museum space was not possible.

“Look where we are, right now, in this space that can host community events, where we can offer art and music and lectures for free to the public, and work with all of our educational partners,” Jampol enthused.

Noting that the city had not yet even put out a request for proposals for the site, Jampol stated that “We are just being proactive here, and we wanted to give the community opportunities to say what they wanted. Something is going to happen on the lot, and it will be happening next door to us, so starting early and being aware of what needs could be met, there’s no downside.”

The people who had gathered to see the end result were satisfied with the process, and five people volunteered to be part of a community oversight committee for the future of the project.

Judith Martin-Straw



The Actors' Gang

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