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Dear Members and Friends,
It is with a combination of humility and pleasure that I write to you for the first time as President of ADSW. It has been a little over two months since I took over, inheriting the role from Jim Linz who has done an outstanding job leading the organization over the last several years. Please join me in thanking Jim for all of his hard work. He has done much to transform and bring continued energy to this organization.
I realize I have large shoes to fill and will do my best to ensure that our all-volunteer Board works collaboratively to ensure our organization's mission to preserve, discover and celebrate all facets of Art Deco, this unique period of art, architecture and entertainment from the twentieth century that we all love so much.
With me on the Board are:
Isabelle Yerger, who joined the board with me in the spring of 2012, will serve as Vice President and General Counsel for ADSW.
Lou Simchowitz, who will continue as our Treasurer.
Kim Trubenbacher, who joined our board in 2015, will serve as Secretary.
David Lefever, who also joined the board in 2015, will serve as Chair of Outreach and Development.
Linda Lyons, who will continue to serve as our Chair of Preservation.
Jim Linz, who will not be going away, but will take the role of President Emeritus. Jim will continue to be actively involved in the organization, managing Streamlines, editing Trans Lux and organizing the Expo.
Jonathan Mazur and Barbara Varvaglione have both left the Board. Please join me in thanking them for their time and service on behalf of ADSW.
It has been a very full and gratifying year for our organization. We thought it would be fitting to take this opportunity to review some of the highlights of 2015. We have indeed accomplished a great deal over the past year.
Hecht's - We have been working for the last 2 years with developers to ensure adaptive reuse plans to turn the Hecht's Warehouse into apartments are faithful to this iconic structure on New York Avenue. Things are rapidly taking shape, with the first group of apartments opening this past month.
Waffle Shop - We are working with the owners to secure a viable new home for the Waffle Shop, an early mid-century modern institution in downtown DC. A site has been determined at the intersection of 6th and K Streets NW and we will be sharing more information on schedule and details early in the New Year as we continue to collaborate with the owner-developer.
Sedgwick Gardens - We were pleased that our efforts to nominate the Mirhan Mesrobian-designed apartment house on Connecticut Avenue came to successful fruition with Landmark Status approved for the building's wonderful lobby and elevator lobbies in May. We continue to work with the owners of this this great Art Deco building to ensure that modifications are appropriate and well considered.
Our long-awaited website launched earlier this year. It offers a great framework for ADSW and an opportunity to catalog and showcase all things Deco in the Washington region and we will continue to add to and refine it. It would take too many words to describe all that is now included.
Trips & Tours
Baltimore - In March over 50 participants joined us for our first successful tour to visit some of the Deco treasures of Baltimore. Thank you to Linda Lyons and Kara Brown for organizing such a great experience. We look forward to repeating this tour in the future.
Washington Greco Deco - In June we organized a tour focusing on some of Washington's Greco Deco treasures on Capitol Hill, including the Adams building of the Library of Congress, the Lutheran Church of the Reformation and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Thank you to Jeanne Drewes and Jennifer Harbster for helping with this event.
Hecht's - We had a great turn out in August for a hard hat tour of the Hecht's Warehouse on New York Avenue to check out construction progress. This top Art Deco resource is being adaptively reused into loft style apartment housing. The first units are already coming online and we look forward to arranging another tour in the spring when things are further along.
Pittsburgh - We concluded with a great bus trip with 50 of us traveling to Pittsburgh for a great weekend experience. This was our first overnight venture and we successfully stretched ourselves as an organization to put together such a program. Hats off to Jim Linz for the countless hours he spent in putting it all together.
In April we welcomed Walter Nelson from the Los Angeles Art Deco Society. Walter presented a fun program on Social Dances of the Jazz Age that we hosted at the historic B&O Train Station Museum in Silver Spring, following it with a dance lesson and reception with cocktails.
In September we had a great program co-sponsored and co-organized with the National Archives, a vintage clothing fashion show focusing on clothing of the Prohibition era. Our thanks go to Lori Crandall and the models for their efforts in putting on such a great program and to the Archives for helping to make this opportunity available to us.
In November we had a great lecture at the Tenleytown Library by Houston-based historians David Bush and Jim Parsons on the 1936 Texas Centennial extravaganza in Dallas, known as Fair Park.
Also in November we held what we hope will be the first in a series of social gatherings where we can get to know one another better: a cocktail party at the wonderfully refurbished Carlyle Hotel in DuPont Circle.
Taking Stock and Looking to the Future
We hope taking stock will invigorate everyone to continue to find ways to preserve, discover and celebrate our Art Deco heritage. There is still much more to see and learn about and we look forward to getting back to you in the New Year with more on our programs for 2016 and our vision for the future. Until then, we wish you peace and happiness for the Holidays.
Art Deco Society of Washington