Saturday, September 28, 2013

Downtown LA Art Walk Director Joe Moller Resigns

photo by Gary Leonard of the Downtown News
The Downtown News reports that Joe Moller has resigned as the executive director of the Downtown Art Walk as of Friday after serving for almost three years in the post.  He was the third director after Art Walk founder Bert Green left the post prior to his moving to Chicago.  Moller took the position during a time when the Art Walk was attracting increasing large crowds during the hot summer months that were increasingly unmanageable while parking lots filled with food trucks in already over-crowded parts in the heart of the Walk were drawing more people than could be contained on the sidewalks.

At the same time, the number of full time art galleries had dropped with only one art gallery now left at 5th & Main where Art Walk had started.  But after a rough start, Moller and the city's Art Walk Task Force was able to stabilize the crowds by enlarging the footprint and moving the food truck lots to edges of the footprint.  Moller was also able to get enough corporate funding to continue to market the event and host art-related events during Art Walk.  And this summer has seen a much calmer and more enjoyable Art Walk.

Now the challenge for the new director - who, hopefully, will be Qathryn Brehm, the current director of operations - will be to return the focus of the event to the art galleries and to encourage more galleries to open in the area.  And, most importantly, to return the starting time of Art Walk to noon to encourage those who work Downtown - and those who do not wish to deal the nighttime crowds - to come and visit the galleries during the day.

And here is the start of the Downtown News article by Donna Evans:

Moller was the first paid executive director, and his hiring came after a group of eight Downtown property owners ponied up $200,000 to support the event.
Moller was charged with turning around the financially strapped event, which takes places the second Thursday of every month, and making it self-sufficient so that the property owners could withdraw their funding. To the disdain of some, he brought in corporate sponsorships, which helped boost the annual budget to approximately $250,000.
Moller received a salary of $70,000 a year. Brehm, the nonprofit’s only other paid employee, earns $40,000.
Brehm, a lifelong artist who works in digital and mixed media, has been a resident of Downtown Los Angeles for more than 20 years in the Arts District. For seven years, she served as Director of Marketing & Community Relations for the Central City East Association.
And the rest of the story is here. 

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