At 9:30 a.m. on a recent Tuesday morning, six men in their 20s and 30s were sitting on leather chairs in a cozy, dimly lit room in a nondescript Miracle Mile building, sharing with one another and two therapists their progress in transitioning from a life of addiction to what they hope will be a clean future.
In January, the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) ended its international search for an executive director and picked an Angeleno: UCLA professor Peter Tokofsky.
What sold CAFAM on Tokofsky was his suggestion that the museum buck the tradition of looking outward to international cultures for exhibit material, and focus on indigenous trends instead.
"It's all right here," Tokofsky said. "This museum is going to be increasingly about L.A."
Tokofsky promises that future exhibits at the Miracle Mile museum will revel in local culture -- ethnic and popular -- and Los Angeles' populace, including the Jewish community. As an appetizer, entertainer Len Levitt will stage a Passover-themed puppet show, part of CAFAM's "Puppets" exhibition, on April 13, and Hebrew University professor Shalom Sabar will lecture on the lore and lure of Hebrew amulets on April 19.
Not long ago, Jeffrey Gold disappeared from Los Angeles' art scene."I just buried myself in my work," said the 45-year-old artist. "I didn't let people see the work. I was kind of struggling."