Everyone who uses Culver Boulevard has seen the building that will be the Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center getting taller. On Saturday, August 5, 2023, the Wende Museum hosted a “Topping Out” ceremony, hoisting the top steel beam into place.
Guests were offered hard hats and yellow protective vests to walk through the building-in-process, with staff present in each part of the walk-through to insure that no safety measure was overlooked. The ceiling of the A-frame building, formerly the AmVets Center, has been brought up to a high standard; the wood is once again a beautifully finished interior feature of what will be a theater. Seating is planned to be moveable so that the room can also be used as a rehearsal space.
While the portion of the build designated for artist-in-residence housing is still over the horizon, the footprint of the space is established, and the work will continue in stages.
Justin Jampol, he Executive Director of the Wende Museu, welcomed people to the event with his left arm in a sling; he’d recently been injured, but in the spirit of “the show must go on,” there was no holding him back. After offering his thanks to Kaufman for her “full service philanthropy,” he addressed the need that the project would be meeting. “The building will give a new life to an otherwise under-utilized city asset. Culver City will lead the way, becoming the model for others to follow, [with this] community center that we need more than ever in a post-pandemic world.”
“Gloyra changes lives, she gives people opportunities that they would otherwise never have.” The project’s architect, Brian Wickersham, spoke to the gathering. “That dedication is why these things happen..in my many years of working with Glorya, she has taught me so much about the tenacity it takes to do a project like this.” He also applauded the partnership with the Wende, noting that Kaufman and Jampol both had the kind of vision that created long term community benefits. “Architecture speaks volumes about the values of society. This will be a place to gather, to perform and to learn.”
California Assembly Majority Leader Isaac Bryan spoke to congratulate both Jampol and Kaufman on the occasion, and to present the $500,000 in funding that the state had approved for the housing to be included in the center. “This is one of the reasons I love Culver City… who says you can’t include housing in a community center?”
While Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. had been listed as a speaker, but was not in attendance. Vice Mayor Yasmine Iamani McMorrin was on hand, along with City Council member Dan O’Brien, and School Board member Triston Ezidore.
McMorrin noted “It’s just great to see this place going up. The need to continue to cultivate creativity at all levels in our city is just going to keep growing, and having this in process is a special triumph. We are going to be so glad when that ribbon cutting comes up on the calendar.”
Jampol led a countdown as the steel beam – signed by all the dignitaries present- was hoisted by a crane to the top of the building, and set in place to great applause.
The building is currently scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2024.
Photo – Justin Jampol, Glorya Kaufman, and Isaac Bryan watch top steel beam ascending.