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Friday, June 23, 2017

Five questions for the new Executive Director of Heritage Square

Kori Capaldi at Heritage Square | Photo by Brenda Rees

By BRENDA REES

MONTECITO HEIGHTS — The painted ladies of Heritage Square welcomed Kori Capaldi as new Executive Director last month. Born and raised in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, Capaldi attended USC and worked for the USC School of Architecture at the Gamble House for 17 years. She ran public programs and organized events as well as oversaw fundraising aspects including the ancillary group, the Friends of the Gamble House
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What excites you about being in his new position?

The architecture and history! Like any other historical nonprofit, there are challenges but I feel confident stepping into this position. I am excited to continue to raise the awareness about this wonderful place and to make it successful for visitors, volunteers and staff. I want people to step into Heritage Square and get a feeling of what it would be like to live Los Angeles in the 1800s.

Was it a big jump to go from the Arts and Crafts of the Gamble House to Victorian architecture?

I have always loved architecture ever since I was a little kid growing up in Hollywood. I was obsessed with structures and buildings, mostly houses. For me, the architecture of Arts and Crafts and the Victorian era are very similar. The décor can be vastly different, but if you look at the bones of the house, the structures are relatively the same.
The Arts and Crafts movement had its origins in the Victorian Era; architects like Greene & Greene wanted to present a stripped down version, reflecting the time when people wanted a simpler life. Arts and Crafts eliminated the frilly and decorative elements of the Victorians, but kept the integrity of the design.

Heritage Square is more than just one house; do you know the names of the houses by now?

Yes! The Perry House; the Hale House which is the iconic one; the Shaw House or the Valley Knutson House; The Octagon House; the Carriage House; Lincoln Avenue Church; the Ford House; the Colonial Drug Store; and the Palms Depot. I’m still learning all the history behind each one – and they are each fascinating in their own way.

What are some things you want to bring to Heritage Square?

I want to establish a lecture series as well as a workshop series that brings in different local artists to lead a hands-on craft experience. Things like glass-making, embroidery, printmaking, crocheting. I want to bring back those arts that have gotten lost through time. Many of these crafts are popular right now, but I’d like to take it a step further – offer workshops so participants can experience what it would have been like to do these crafts as if they were back in the 1800s; to make something really of that period.

Additionally, as Heritage Square is a living history museum, I would like to bring in more living history and events. When visitors come here, I want them to see how things were done at that time and not just imagine it. We are going to be the home for Adam’s Forge which is a great opportunity for guests to witness up-close blacksmithing done by hand.

You are an artist yourself – what kind of art do you create?

I am a fused glass artist; I do a hot glass technique and like to create mosaics, jewelry, bowls and plates. I had my own business for 15 years and sold my work all over the world and at contemporary craft galleries. Right now, doing art is more of a hobby these days. I have so much more on my plate that will keep me busy here at Heritage Square.

Heritage Square is one of the six Museums of the Arroyo that will offer free admission and mini-docent tours, on Sunday, May 21 from noon – 5pm. The museum will feature performances by ragtime pianist Galen Wilkes, a fashion clothing display, kids’ Victorian toys for play and Pump N’ Splash for water fun.

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2 comments

  1. I have a question about access to Heritage Square from the Heritage Square Metro Gold Line station. When will there be access to the site from the station? It’s misleading and confusing to have a station named after a museum where there is no actual access. If I’m confused, and I’m a long time resident, I’m sure tourists and people unfamiliar with the area are even more confused when they get off at Heritage Square station and can’t reach Heritage Square museum.

    • great question. The walk from station to destination could be improved as well. I liked that I could do Lummis House as well, but the signage and awareness for both historical sites is certainly lacking.

      Also, Heritage Square seems so out of place, the surrounding area is very unkempt and not welcoming in the slightest.

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