Letter from the President

Dear Friend of the LA Forum,
As we come to the end of another active and successful year, I want to take a few moments to recap 2011 and look toward next year. Our successes in 2011 would not have been possible without your continued support – so, from the bottom of our hearts – Thank You!  We ask of you, kindly; please keep us in mind in your end-of-year giving, and in maintaining your active membership and sponsorship.

Believe it or not, it was 25 years ago that Aaron Betsky and Christian Hubert and other founding members gathered informally and created the Los Angeles Forum.  Their mission was to fill a void in the discourse on architecture and urbanism in our dynamic metropolis. This year we are proud to celebrate the Forum’s 25th anniversary with a series of events and 2-month exhibition entitled Unfinished Business. The Forum will revisit the past and look to the future as we sort out various levels of “complete” work and chart new trajectories for further exploration.

Opening in July 2012, Unfinished Business aims to represent the physical, intellectual and critical inquiries embodied within the Forum’s mission over the past twenty-five years.  We will rethink the Beverly Center and revisit the controversy over the (former) Ambassador Hotel and discuss the decisions surrounding the redevelopment of Grand Avenue, as well as many other subjects. Visitors will be encouraged to draw their own connections between ideas, people and works that have made up the Forum since 1987. This will be an impressive display of the Forum’s myriad explorations and will be the perfect backdrop for ForumFest 2012, a summer symposium, alumni Pecha Kucha, and other events surrounding the exhibition.

Over the past twelve months, our annual summer lecture series (both On the Map and Out There Doing It) were met with great enthusiasm.  OTM: Varying Degrees explored several new institutions of higher learning.  OTDI: AfterImage, held at the MAK Center, attempted to recreate the ad hoc dialogues that architects engage in with co-conspirators, consultants, and critics.  The Forum also continued the tradition of hosting Pecha Kucha Nights, collaborating with BROODWORK and inviting guest artists to take part in our online gallery.

In May, we partnered with deLAB to pay tribute to departed Forum alumnus and friend John Chase with a walking tour of West Hollywood commemorating his life and work. This was the inaugural event of the John Chase Memorial Fund and in January we will be distributing a pocket-guide map designed by Keith Scharwath. Limited print editions of this map will be made possible by the John Chase Memorial Fund. To receive your copy, contribute, or learn about the Memorial Fund, please visit

Infrastructurally, the Forum has been working to fine-tune our website  Over the course of the next few months, you will notice the incorporation of more digitized 1990s Forum newsletters, old publications and documentation of past events.  The archival work on the website is developing in parallel with preparations for Unfinished Business, supported by member donations and sponsorships as well as grants received in recent years. Presently, we are planning an interactive feature for the Delirious LA event calendar.

As we gear up for Unfinished Business, we hope to involve input from as many members as possible to help capture and illustrate the richness of Forum’s contributions to Los Angeles. Contact me or incoming president Thurman Grant at to share your ideas, advice, bits of folklore, recollections or photos from Forum events, or just to say hello. We promise to keep you informed as we get closer to the major events coming in 2012.

We need your support today more than ever. The enclosed year-at-a-glance is just a brief outline of what we have been able to accomplish with your support this past year.  Each exhibition, lecture series, collaboration and website improvement all take resources that we could not access without your help.
As the Forum moves towards its silver anniversary and beyond, I look forward to celebrating 25 years of the Forum at ForumFest 2012, the Unfinished Business exhibition, and related events throughout the coming year.

Jason Kerwin, President