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Eli & Edythe Broad Create $10 Million Endowment for Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center Westside Theaters Named in Broads’ Honor
The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage Opens Officially September 20, 2008
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA, March 6, 2008—Continuing a tradition of extraordinary generosity and major contributions to the cultural and civic life of Los Angeles, philanthropists and arts patrons Eli and Edythe Broad announced today they have given $10 million to create an endowment for programming and arts education at the new Santa Monica College performing arts center.
In honor of the gift from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the new modernist steel, stone, glass and wood performing arts center will be named The Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space. The Broad Stage, which will open on Sept. 20, is an intimate 499-seat stateof-the-art theater that will present renowned artists and world-class operas, symphonies, musicals, dance companies, film and theater, under the leadership of artistic director Dale Franzen. While independent, The Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space will also work in partnership with Santa Monica College (SMC) as part of the school’s tradition of community service, providing educational programming, master classes and special events for students, at both K-12 and college levels.
“Los Angeles is one of the world’s cultural and artistic centers, with world-class museums, theater, opera and symphony,” said Eli Broad at a press conference outside the new Broad Stage in Santa Monica. “We have the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and now the Westside will have its own premiere performing arts venue. We need to ensure the sustainability of our city’s cultural offerings, and this endowment will enable The Broad Stage to have the necessary resources to maintain first-rate performances for the public.”
The Broad Stage combines the intimacy of a small theater with the acoustics and staging of a grand hall. Built with a variable proscenium and a stage comparable to theaters four times the size, The Broad Stage was designed by Santa Monica architect Renzo Zecchetto. Inspired by the intimacy of Italy’s “horseshoe” opera houses, the new theater allows eye contact with the actors, musicians and dancers from any seat in the house.
The Edye Second Space is an adjacent black box theater. The simple and flexible performance space allows for readings, plays and other small-audience offerings. Artists can come to The Edye to introduce new material or to experiment with dramatic, musical and dance performances.
“Embedded in the original Santa Monica College charter is the call for a performing arts center, so The Broad Stage fulfills our mandate and our traditions,” said Santa Monica College President, Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “This performing arts center is a community ‘service’ of Santa Monica College, and we are proud to have a global theater befitting our identity as a world leader in education.”
“The Broad Stage is yet another of our county’s great cultural riches,” said County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “We have numerous arts venues, but this one is the crown jewel of the Westside. With this endowment, it is certain to have not only a sound future but also the best performances.”
The idea for the performing arts center was first raised nearly a decade ago at a dinner party at the home of Piedad Robertson, then-president of Santa Monica College, attended by the Broads, Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, who now chairs The Broad Stage’s artistic advisory board, and former opera singer Franzen. The Broads became involved in the project last year after seeing the innovative complex under construction along Santa Monica Boulevard.
Initially, Eli Broad insisted that one of the new theater spaces be named after Hoffman, an SMC alumnus and one of the complex’s earliest and most dedicated supporters. The Broads were ultimately persuaded to have the venues named after them. Despite a lifetime of cultural philanthropy, this is the first performing arts center they have allowed to be named after them. “Edye loves the theater,” said Broad, “and after 53 years of marriage, I wanted to honor her by naming the second space The Edye.”
“Without people like the Broads, we wouldn’t have the commissioned work of Mozart and Bach and Beethoven and so many of the great painters,” Hoffman said. “How they use their capital is commendable.”
“From the grandest Broadway productions and musical performances to intimate readings by a solo artist, this new theater is unparalleled in its acoustics and its design,” said Franzen. “The endowment created by the Broads has given our artistic vision a solid future, and it allows us to bring the very best artists and performances to the Westside. We expect, however, that our audiences will come from across Southern California to participate in a truly unique performing arts experience.”
The $45 million Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space were financed with a $35 million bond measure passed by the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu in 2004, $5 million from private donors, and a 2002 bond measure for Santa Monica College improvements passed in 2002.
“The Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space are the latest and greatest in Santa Monica College’s tradition of giving back to the community,” says Rob Rader, Chair of the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. “Once again, we’ve pushed the boundaries of the possible. This isn’t our parents’ performing arts center but rather a hotbed of ideas, creativity, learning, spontaneity and virtuosity, like Santa Monica College itself.”
The Broad Foundations were established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.5 billion. The Broad Foundations’ Internet address is www.BroadFoundation.org.
The Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space are located at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, California.