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March 12, 2015

Blue Ribbon Leaders in the Arts Luncheon

Carla Sands & Joan Hotchkis
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Ricki Ring, Terri Kohl & Valerie Hoffman
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Timothy Potts, Ann Philbin & Philippe Vergne
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Lois Erburu & Dr. Steven S. Koblik
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Diane Morton & Iris Bovee
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Sheila Goldberg, Elinor Turner, Gina Posalski, Jan Cobert & Marcella Ruble
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Steven Koblik, Philippe Vergne, Ann Philbin, Carla Sands, Timothy Potts, Earl Powell III & Michael Govan
Photo Credit: John McCoy
Steven Koblik, Michael Govan, Ann Philbin, Timothy Potts, Philippe Vergne & Earl Powell III
Photo Credit: John McCoy

Photo Credit: John McCoy

Carla Sands, president of the Blue Ribbon, a nonprofit founded by Dorothy Buffum Chandler to support the companies at the Los Angeles Music Center, gathered guests at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a Leaders in the Arts Luncheon held on Wednesday, March 4. Sands assembled a panel that included most of the major L.A. museum directors such as Philippe Vergne of MOCA; Michael Govan of LACMA; Steven Kolik of the Huntington Library, Arts Collections, and Botanical Gardens; Ann Philbin of the Hammer; and Timothy Potts of the J. Paul Getty Museum and was moderated by Earl Powell III of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The panelists spoke about the impact of technology on their institutions as well as building diverse collections and diversity among visitors. Govan and Philbin had a charming exchange about digital devices and new acquisitions.

“Slowing down is the key thing; managing technology,” Philbin said. “The new Cooper Hewitt in New York has screens everywhere; kids are going crazy with them. You could argue that the screens are keeping people away from the art,” she added. “We decided the human interaction in the museum space is key. We have students trained by curators who engage with the audience very directly, inside the museum. Our visitors much prefer it to screens or carrying around phones. And we have meditation classes every week. So I think the balance is key.”

Govan noted that a trustee once asked him, “Why are you placing street lamps and moving rocks instead of focusing on digital art?” Govan told the lunch audience, “I said, ‘You have to take your Instagrams somewhere.’ Place making is key. We’re the forth most Instagramed museum because of those public sculptures.” That said, Govan added, “I know we have a preservation mission, but we also need to look ahead.” So perhaps more digital art will be acquired in the coming years. Surely there will be a way to Instagram that, too.

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