Channeling the Spirit of Dorothy Buffum Chandler to Catalyze Change in Los Angeles
Philanthropist and arts activist Dorothy Buffum Chandler graced Time’s cover in December 1964. The article stated that she embodied “perhaps the most impressive display of virtuoso money-raising and civic citizenship in the history of U.S. womanhood.” The beneficiary of her efforts was Los Angeles, which at the time was struggling to transform itself from a large community into a metropolitan city. Mrs. Chandler believed investing in the arts would bring prestige to the city and serve as the catalyst needed to reshape Los Angeles’ civic identity.
Mrs. Chandler’s role as a civic fundraiser began in earnest in 1950, when she undertook a successful drive to save the Hollywood Bowl. A few years later, she raised $37mm from private and public resources to build The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Today, the Center is home to concert halls, a theatre, forum, pavilion, and grand outdoor public plaza, making it one of the premiere performing arts centers in the world.