Dear Friend of The Gamble House,
Exactly 102 years ago this month an article entitled “Architecture as a Fine Art” appeared in The Architect, the monthly journal of the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter. In it, Charles Greene wrote passionately about the importance of architects collaborating with clients. Was he perhaps thinking of the transformative experience he’d had seven years earlier with David and Mary Gamble, when he and his brother produced, with them, one of the great works of modern American architecture? I imagine that you agree that “architecture as a fine art” aptly describes the marvels of The Gamble House. It’s why we chose the phrase as our institutional motto.
“Architecture as a fine art” is an idea that’s central to the story of the Greenes and the Gambles, a story now beautifully told in a new documentary film, The Gamble House, produced by Don Hahn and Lori Korngiebel. With compelling narrative and lush photography, The Gamble House film has garnered accolades and awards at recent film festivals across the country, as well as praise and glowing reviews following several airings on PBS SoCal. Available at last on DVD, it’s currently for sale only at the Gamble House Bookstore. And, as many of you already know, holiday shopping is always a sure thing at our Bookstore: great merchandise, member’s discount, friendly staff, no lines—it’s the answer to all your gift needs!
While the documentary film release was certainly one of the more exciting moments of 2017, others deserve mention, too. The challenge of recent staff turnover at the (normally stable) Gamble House was met with the happy hiring of three capable and lovely individuals: Jennifer Michel-McNally as tour and event coordinator; Heather Marquez as bookstore manager; and Jennifer Trotoux as curator. Each of these talented new staff members brings a welcome range of skills, depth of knowledge, and fresh passion that will serve The Gamble House well into the future. We also welcomed Milton Curry as the new Dean of the USC School of Architecture, succeeding Qingyun Ma who recently completed his ten-year appointment with many accomplishments. We are fortunate to have the formidable energy and focus that Dean Curry brings to the School and The Gamble House at this stage of our growth.
As you’ll recall, last year we celebrated 50 years as a historic house museum. In reaching this milestone it seemed like the perfect time to embark on a comprehensive and rigorous strategic planning exercise to help guide us through the next half century. Accordingly, we’ve been working with a non-profit consultancy based in Pasadena, the Oertel Group, to better understand how The Gamble House fits into the larger community and how we might maximize our potential as an internationally revered cultural resource.
One of the preliminary findings is the tremendous passion that people in the community have for The Gamble House. This was no surprise, but it’s nice to have objective confirmation of something we held to be true. I look forward to working with community stakeholders, staff, docents, members of the Friends of The Gamble House, and our new Dean as we implement the strategic plan following the release of specific recommendations in the coming months.
It has been my immense privilege to serve as Director of The Gamble House for more than 25 years. I continue to feel tremendously fortunate to call this my professional home, not only for the transcendent architecture of Greene & Greene, but for the people—like you—who are drawn to it. Your interest and generosity make it possible to keep our doors open each year, through good and tough times alike. During the “great recession” of nearly a decade ago, your support helped us to retain essential programming, including our tours, the Junior Docent collaboration with the Pasadena Unified School District, and our lecture series. There were some tough years, but thanks to your support we are once again fully staffed and can offer an even more exciting array of programs. From architects to woodworkers, back-to-nature fans to Back to the Future fans, students to retirees—we strive to offer engaging programs to an increasingly diverse audience. We want, and need, the entire community to come to know and love The Gamble House as you and I do.
I am asking for your support to help us do this. Our annual giving appeal is crucial to funding the difference between what we earn from touring, membership and other sources, and the annual expense of preserving and operating our beloved, 110-year-old work of architectural fine art. Your gifts help in many ways to sustain the passion that our community has for The Gamble House. Your contribution to the annual giving campaign is truly a gift to the future.
Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end gift today as we look to another fruitful year of sharing architecture as a fine art with visitors from near and far. Fully 100% of your gift goes to support preservation and education at The Gamble House, so please be as generous as you can.
With sincere thanks, and warmest holiday wishes to you and yours,
Edward R. “Ted” Bosley
James N. Gamble Director
The Gamble House
School of Architecture
University of Southern California