Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk names new executive director
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What does the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk have in common with music producer/rapper Dr. Dre?
That would be Joe Moller.
On Thursday Moller, who runs an event production company that counts Dre as a client, will be named Art Walk’s first full-time, salaried executive director.
It’s big news for the nonprofit that runs the monthly event, as it has been without any dedicated, paid, full-time staffers since the Art Walk launched six years ago. Board Chairman David Hernand says that finding the right candidate was tricky.
“This is not an easy position to fill because it’s a blend of arts, community events, event planning, and it’s a nonprofit. Finding someone who has experience in all those areas was the ideal. And that’s what we found in Joe,” he says.
Here’s some of what we know about Moller. He’s 36, a Southern California native; he lives in the historic core of downtown where he relies on a bike to get around. His company, Joe Moller Events, has produced parties, openings and other events within both the business and creative communities. He’s done work for the Hollywood Film Festival, Outfest, the Hammer Museum and the Santa Monica Place mall, among many others. He’s on the board of KEEN LA, a national nonprofit that provides recreational opportunities for children and young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
“I was really excited about being part of the process of Art Walk that has had such a positive impact on the downtown area,” Moller told Culture Monster. “To me, the Art Walk by nature is about longevity and sustainability and community.” [Updated 6: 32 p.m. Something else we’ve learned about Moller (thanks to a reality-TV addicted co-worker): He was ‘Joe’ on Season 1 of the Bravo reality series ‘Thintervention With Jackie Warner.’ His weight-loss goal on the show was 40 pounds.]
Whipping Art Walk into shape however, may prove more difficult. The popular event, held the second Thursday of the month, was tangled up in controversy in September, with critics arguing it had devolved into a street party that was more about alcohol than art. A lack of funding for security, cleanup and other logistics put the organization’s future in doubt until it received a pledge in October of approximately $200,000 from eight downtown property owners in the historic downtown and Old Bank districts, brought together by developer Tom Gilmore.
The seed funding made Moller’s executive director position possible. And Hernand is confident that Moller’s appointment will be a seminal turning point for the nonprofit.
“I feel like we are finally going to be able to do the things we’ve talked about doing for the last year and a half — and that we can finally grow up as an organization,” says Hernand.