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“I’m staggered,” Sefton says, “at how genuinely engaged,
adventurous and uncynical the audience is.”
Not only has Sefton brought new and innovative talent to UCLA Live, he has
increased engagement among funding sources. Royce Center Circle, UCLA Live’s
primary donor group, has, for example, brought in more than $1.05 million in
gifts over the past two years. UCLA Live has also received increased support
from major arts funders; for the first time, it received funding last year from
Altria, Inc., the Rockefeller Foundation MAP program and The Annenberg Foundation.
“David came in with a very fresh vision,” says Olga Garay, program
director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, one of the organizations
that provide funding to UCLA Live. “His dedication to commissioning new
work, to looking at multidisciplinary art forms and to weaving into his program
a rock ’n’ roll sensibility captured not only the imagination of
the hiring committee that brought him to UCLA, but of Los Angeles as a whole,”
Sefton knows how far he has come.
“When you’ve got big companies coming to you to say they want to
be on your program because they’ve seen who’s already been there,”
he says, “you know there’s a new reputation and tradition being
created here at UCLA.”
Cynthia Lee is an associate editor of UCLA Magazine.