There was a remarkable sound on Saturday, June 18, 2022, just off Culver Boulevard, right behind the garden of the Wende Museum. The traditional ‘golden shovels’ came out for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center. But it wasn’t just the sound of construction tools pushing into sand; it was live music, dedicating a new space for art to celebrate freedom.
The project, which was first proposed in June, 2019, will be a rehabilitation of the long-neglected buildings at 10858 Culver Blvd., and will include a performance space, classrooms, and housing for artists who are also veterans experiencing homelessness. It will be named for the woman who suggested to Justin Jampol, the Wende Museum’s Executive Director, that the site be reclaimed as a community center. “A performance space, a teaching space, a community space for artists to gather and practice their craft, ” Kaufman commented at the ceremony.
Jampol acknowledged that he had been taking notes.
After years of community meetings, presentations to the city council, and more than a few conversations with the neighbors whose yards abut the back of the project, the final green light now on, the construction on the project is scheduled to begin this month, with completion planned in 2023.
Kaufman almost didn’t get to leave the stage; a proclamation from the city council, a sincere thanks from Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee, a thank-you from Congresswoman Karen Bass, recognition from Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell were all part of a stack of kudos for making the project possible. Kaufman’s grandchildren, who are Culver City students, were in attendance, patiently enjoying gummy bears and lemonade while listening to the speeches.
Jampol, who had jokingly referred to the center years ago as a “Swiss Army building” in it’s outreach to fulfill so many different needs, filled the space with purple balloons, poured champagne, and brought in an amazing jazz combo headed by Jens Lindemann to frame the afternoon of speeches and policy with art; the object of the game.
Bringing the proceedings to a close with an ethereal rendition of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” the music defined the moment with a sound that carried the spirit of the day.