CSQ is the first meeting on the day’s agenda, and the punctual appearance by L.A.’s most influential venture philanthropist is at once invigorating. Game on, indeed. Sagaciously engaged at the roundtable of his office, Broad takes occasional sips from a tall glass of water while nimbly transitioning across topics in his diversified portfolio of exceptional achievements. The walls are populated with framed photographs of presidents, dignitaries, and corporate influencers posing next to the man who is leading the charge to transform Grand Avenue and downtown Los Angeles into a cultural mecca worthy of the second-largest city in the nation. Engaging and accessible from the get-go, the Bronx-born, Detroit-raised, West Coast icon (he’ll celebrate 50 years in L.A. next year) has a gentle yet direct manner that is all lean and no fat.
Energized by the positive reception his new book The Art of Being Unreasonable has garnered , Broad cuts a crisp profile as a sea-tested captain of multiple industries who is not bashful about calling attention to the positive impact his financial support has rendered in science, education, the arts, and the civic rejuvenation of downtown Los Angeles. (One need only survey the crop of prominent buildings and institutions around town that bear his and his wife’s name for evidence of the latter.) Today, he and Edythe (affectionately known as Edye) have traced parallel lines in terms of their philanthropic passions, cultural contributions, and aesthetic sensibilities.
The city is teeming with evidence of their commitment to the arts, with more on the immediate horizon; next year, a new contemporary art museum, simply called The Broad, will open on Grand Avenue. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the site will also serve as the new headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation. Broad has collaborated with many other architects of notable stature. His relationship with Frank Gehry grew strained then repaired in years past, and the association yielded Walt Disney Concert Hall, a structure that Broad proudly calls the finest symphony house in the world.