The Culver City Arts Foundation, which supports the arts in Culver City through its mission to preserve the past, enrich the present and create the future of arts and culture in the community, recently honored local real estate developer Wally N. Marks III with the Foundation’s inaugural Patron of the Arts award at their annual holiday event hosted by Village Well Books & Coffee. Culver Arts recognized Wally for his unparalleled support of culture and arts in Culver City and Los Angeles.
Owner and operator of the Helms Bakery District, Wally partnered with Culver Arts for the innovative art exhibit and grant program, Projecting Possibilities, which provided a creative outdoor canvas to local artists while bringing accessible and safe art to Culver City in the midst of the pandemic. Projected on the doors of the Helms Design Center, Projecting Possibilities featured a video installation that showcased the work of a new artist each week for over a year and provided the artists a stipend for their work. The exhibit was curated by Helm’s Director of Marketing and Communications and former Culver Arts Board Member, Angela Anthony, and encapsulated the Culver Arts #CulverCityResilient campaign, which advocates for the importance of the arts in building community resiliency and unity. Designed to cultivate creativity and encourage community connection through arts and culture, the rotating digital art exhibitions aimed to celebrate, nourish, support, promote, and illuminate local artists during a dark time.
“Culver City is not only the heart of Screenland, but also the heart of culture, arts, resiliency and reimagination,” said Marks. “It’s a blessing and I am humbled to be the first recipient of this award and I hope I do well in my efforts to be a part of Culver Arts Foundation’s continued success.”
A fixture in the community and President of the Walter N. Marks Realty Company, which his grandfather started in Los Angeles in the 1920s, Marks runs the family real estate and asset management company with approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial and retail properties, all located in the greater Los Angeles area. One of their most notable projects has been the careful restoration and development of the Helms Bakery campus in Culver City. A fifth generation Californian, Wally has deep community roots and is dedicated to preserving local culture through engagement with various civic and philanthropic endeavors, including the Craft and Folk Art Museum and the Natural History Museum, in addition to his work with the Culver City Arts Foundation.
“I cannot think of a person more deserving of being recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Culver City Arts Foundation’s Patron of the Arts award,” said Jim B. Clarke, Culver City Arts Foundation Chair. “When every cultural venue was closed and performances were canceled due to the pandemic, Wally created Projecting Possibilities as a way to continue to bring art to the community while showcasing local artists.”
For his Patron of the Arts honor, Culver Arts gifted Marks the one-of-a-kind painting named “The Heart of the City.” Designed and painted by Culver City Artist Laureate, Alexey Steele, the painting features a blooming Jacaranda tree, inspired by the beautiful purple trees that line the city streets near El Marino Park.
To support Culver Arts and the Arts Resiliency Fund, which supports local artists through the challenges of the pandemic with grants, donations are accepted at www.culverarts.org through GiveButter.com/culverarts. To leverage the full amount of your donation without fees, mail checks to Culver City Arts Foundation, PO Box 4521, Culver City, CA 90231. Donations are tax deductible (FEIN 84-1697150) and 100% of the funds will directly support the arts.
Caitlin McGee Swartz
Photo caption – (L to R) Jim B. Clarke, Wally Marks, Alexey Steele