Shawmut, AUX Architecture, and The Wende Museum are thrilled to announce that the ceremonial topping out of the Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center, marking the placement of the final beam and the completion of the structure's frame, took place on August 5, 2023.
A resource which will be shared by several Culver City-based nonprofit organizations including the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, United States Veterans’ Artist Alliance, Upward Bound House, and the Artistic Freedom Initiative, this unique center is a fusion of cultural and educational programming.
The Wende Museum’s executive director Justin Jampol says that, “Only a few years ago, this was an abandoned community space with good bones, but without the vision or capacity required to transform it into something better. That all changed the moment when Glorya Kaufman saw the ‘diamond in the rough’ next door. For her, this was a space to be reimagined, and brought back to life for the benefit of all. That moment changed the story of the Wende forever. We are now on the verge of introducing this new community resource to the world.”
The design by AUX Architecture includes a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose space that accommodates cultural, educational, and social services. The center will feature a live performance theater, a demonstration garden, art spaces, and a space for Culver City Unified School District students. This innovative proposal was inspired by the vision of Glorya Kaufman, a legendary patron of the performing arts, whose foundation is funding the project.
During the topping off event, attendees including city officials, Glorya Kaufman, local community members, and the project teams watched the final, 42nd piece of structural steel lifted and placed on the 36-foot tall structure by a 90-foot crane.
“The topping off is not only a celebratory milestone in the construction process, but a point of connection to the community through tradition,” said Greg Skalaski, executive vice president of Shawmut’s West region. “Placing the final beam on the Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center at the Wende Museum alongside city officials, community members, and project partners embodied the mission of the center—connecting the community through cultural, educational, and social programs and resources.”
Community programs will be provided free of charge, facilitated by the generous support of the Glorya Kaufman Foundation. Kaufman's philanthropic efforts have revitalized communities across Southern California, bolstering institutions like Inner-City Arts, Mar Vista Family Center, and Vista del Mar Child and Family Services, and fostering future dance artists through the USC Kaufman School of Dance.
“With my grandchild and great-grandchildren residing in Culver City, my partnership with the Wende Museum is as personal as it is philanthropic,” shared philanthropist Glorya Kaufman. “I am honored to help bring to life an innovative vision for much-needed community space to benefit diverse audiences through a broad array of artistic programs and cultural learning opportunities for all ages.”
The Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center is expected to open its doors to the community in early 2024, creating a vibrant hub for creativity, culture, and connection.