Saying that the time has come for a transition in leadership, NELAart Second Saturday Gallery Night Director Brian Mallman has decided to step down from his post.
“After several months of consideration I have decided that it is time for me to move on from NELAart Gallery Night to spend more time in my studio,” Mallman said in an email sent to gallery night participants. “It has been nearly six years, and I'm proud of what the local artists, galleries and community [members] have accomplished. With everyone’s participation, gallery night has achieved all the goals that were initially set.”
One of the premiere cultural events in Northeast Los Angeles, gallery night brings thousands of art lovers to Highland Park on the second Saturday of every month as gallery and studio owners open their doors to the public.
Mallman said he is handing gallery night’s reins over to owner Cathi Milligan, who has stepped up in previous months to assist him with coordinating the event.
“This change was needed,” Mallman said. “Gallery night has grown quickly and Cathi brings skills to this that are needed at this level.”
Milligan said she is eager to help “move gallery night forward.”
“I can’t see this thing die,” she said. “My goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page, and I’ll be doing outreach to local gallery owners to learn what they want.”
Mallman, who organized gallery night for six years, said it was critical that participants in the event rallied around Milligan in her new role as director.
“This is a good thing, and it had to happen,” Mallman said. “If the community wants this thing to thrive, they have to get behind this transition.”
He said he would remain involved in gallery night in a limited capacity to help guide Milligan through the transition.
Gallery Night in Transition
Milligan is stepping into her role as Gallery Night director in the wake of Owner Glare Graham's decision to close his doors to the public.
Graham posted on his blog he would no longer be able to participate in gallery night due to
Zenay Loera, a field deputy for Huizar’s office who spoke directly with Graham, told Patch on Monday that the city has no intention of charging fees to gallery night participants.
“I think it was a misunderstanding,” Loera said “Maybe it was the terms we used that possibly set him off. We didn't talk about fees, we did talk to him about liability and we wanted to make sure he knew what his liability was as a participant in the event and talk to him about the city’s liability is as well.”
Loera added that she hoped that Graham would reconsider his decision to stop participating in Gallery Night.
“We’re here to assist,” Loera said. “I don't know, to be quite honest, where that miscommunication occurred. I hope he would reconsider and see the potential of what’s to come.”
Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch has reached out to Graham via email but has yet to hear back.
Mallman said, given what has happened over the last week, it was important for the arts community to not get hung up on fears about fees or assigning blame.
“If we get caught up in assigning blame and ‘who said what’ this whole thing is going to fail,” Mallman said. “If everyone can be cool and relax, we’ll be fine. But, we’ll kill gallery night if we resort to the blame game.”