ON CITIES AND CREATIVITY: A CONVERSATION
Olga Garay-English | Steven D. Lavine | Kelley Lindquist | Eui-sung Yi
Olga Garay-English is the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), a position she assumed on August 1, 2007. Reporting directly to the Mayor of Los Angeles and managing a $39-million budget in FY12/13, the Executive Director is DCA’s chief artistic and administrative officer. Since her appointment with the City, DCA and its programs have been awarded $20 Million in funding support from private and public entities. For example, since 2010 DCA and its partners, Artspace and Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, have raised $670,000 towards planning and pre-development costs of the Broadway Arts Center (BAC), a multi-purpose facility with approximately 100 affordable housing units for artists, a blackbox theater, a small arts gallery, and 30,000 to 50,000 sq. ft. of creative business space, as well as planning costs for a downtown campus for CalArts' Masters in Theater program. The two projects will serve as anchors for the ambitious Broadway Cultural Quarter (BCQ), a Creative Enterprise Zone, being designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, to attract other nonprofit arts and educational institutions, as well as for-profit creative businesses, to a newly re-energized downtown.
As Founding Program Director for the Arts for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (1998-2005), Olga was responsible for the planning, design, management, and evaluation of the Arts Program, one of the largest national arts funders in the United States. A total of $145 million was awarded to arts organizations during Olga’s seven year tenure at the DDCF.
The LA Weekly Theater Award for Special Achievement, the Queen of the Angels, was awarded to Ms. Garay-English in 2013. Ms. Garay-English was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2012 by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications for her significant contributions to the arts. In 2011, Los Angeles Magazine named Olga one of ten “Game Changers,” women who make an impact in LA every day. She received a “Bessie,” the New York Dance and Performance Award, and was named the Cuban Artists’ Fund Distinguished Honoree in 2006. She also received the 2003 “Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award” for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, she came to the United States in 1961.