Thursday, July 13, 2023

Return of the ED Blog!

Has it really been seven years since the last post here? As the newest Executive Director, it feels like the perfect time to revive this blog with some much needed updates! 

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Laura DeAngelis and I have been a resident of Boulder Creek since April of 2013. I stepped into the role of ED this past January, just after the New Year and amidst the worst winter storms I have ever experienced in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In fact, the first day I was scheduled to report to the Museum, there were two big landslides on my property - one of which completely blocked the driveway. So instead of starting my first day at the Museum, I was shoveling mud off the driveway at home. 

Becoming Executive Director has been a huge learning experience for me. Prior to the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, I worked as a Studio Artist Educator for the San Jose Museum of Art, taught photography at Mills College in Oakland and worked several years as a Customer Service Representative for Bay Photo Lab in Scotts Valley. During the past six months, I've connected more with our local community than I have in the ten years that I've lived here -  and it has been incredibly rewarding. The San Lorenzo Valley Museum has so much to offer and I'm thrilled to be part of an organization that educates on the indigenous peoples of the area in addition to early settler history. One of the projects I'm most excited to complete is a native plant garden at the Grace Gallery that will serve as an outdoor exhibition and opportunity to learn about the first peoples and their early practices. My hope is that we can begin to cultivate volunteer landscaping practices that honor indigenous lessons in tending to the land and living in reciprocity with the natural world.

This past June, we held our first in-person Fundraising Dinner & Auction at Scopazzi's since 2019 - and it was a great success! This was my first time planning a fundraiser and the road leading to the event was not a smooth one. However, it was truly a pleasure to communicate with local business and feel supported by our wonderful community. While drafting solicitation letters and receiving donations, I had the unique opportunity to visit the sites of local business who have supported the Museum for several years. (This might have been my favorite part of the process!) We received over 60 live and silent auction donations this year from local businesses, artisans and Museum supporters and were able to raise over 6k for the auction alone. Ronnie Trubek graciously volunteered to be our MC for the night and she was such a pleasure to have on board for this event. To top things off, we had our very own Lynda Phillips (previous SLV Museum ED) as our auctioneer for the night, who did a fabulous job. I am so grateful to Ronnie and Lynda for all of their hard work and support. It was really amazing to see the whole event come together and I can't thank the volunteers and local community enough for their kindness and generosity. 

The day after our Fundraising Dinner & Auction, we received one of our newest acquisitions: A historic Steam Donkey that had been abandoned deep in the forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This acquisition has been a dream come true for the San Lorenzo Valley Museum, as it was first sought after in 2014 when a donation request letter was written to the land owner from our ED at the time, Lynda Phillips. This year, the land owner was kind enough to meet us at the Museum to discuss the significance of the artifact and it's relevance to the early logging industry in the San Lorenzo Valley. You an imagine our excitement when he graciously agreed to donate the Steam Donkey to the Museum! With the help of local logging expert, Bruce Baker, we were able to gather a team of professionals to relocate the Steam Donkey on June 23rd, 2023. The operation took over 10 hours and it was a tremendous effort by all parties involved. The Steam Donkey now rests at the entrance to the Museum at our Boulder Creek location - the perfect home for this important piece of San Lorenzo Valley history.  

Until next time, friends.

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