The Davyd Whaley Foundation, announced its launch on Saturday with a mission dedicated to supporting under-recognized Los Angeles area artists. In the spirit of its namesake Davyd Whaley (1967-2014), the Foundation offers a variety of grants to assist these artists in the fulfillment of their vision.
“To honor Davyd’s generous spirit and to preserve his memory, I have established The Davyd Whaley Foundation to support artists in the Los Angeles community,” said Founder and Executive Director Norman Buckley. “Davyd’s goals were always evident: Make art. Buy the art of others. Help people whenever possible. Grow in consciousness. The mission of the Foundation was designed around these tenets.”
The Foundation joins a small group of philanthropic organizations that directly support individual Los Angeles area artists. The Foundation will award its inaugural grants in early 2017 and plans to expand its grant program in the coming years. Awardees at the end of each year will be further recognized with a showcase exhibition and sale of their work at a local venue.
“Initially, two grants will be awarded. The release of grants will be staggered over the first year of the foundation— application for the first grant will be available October 15, 2016, application for the second grant will be available January 15, 2017,” said Ellie Blankfort, Director of the Foundation. “Those grants are The Davyd Whaley Mid-Career Artist Grant: $10,000 awarded to an under-recognized, mid-career artist in the Los Angeles area and The Davyd Whaley Artist-Teacher Grant: $10,000 awarded to an artist-teacher in the Los Angeles area, to allow them more time and resources for their own studio work.”
Davyd Whaley was born on December 6, 1967 and died on October 14, 2014. He was a resident artist at the Santa Fe Art Colony in downtown Los Angeles, a member of the Los Angeles Art Association and previously worked for 15 years as an electrical engineer. He was admired and deeply loved by his colleagues, friends, and his spouse, television director Norman Buckley. His time was split between being a full-time studio artist and teaching classes to the underprivileged in East LA. Whaley was primarily self-taught, but studied painting with Max Maslansky and Nick Brown at UCLA and with Ronnie Landfield and Larry Poons at the Art Students League of New York.
In the recently published monograph on Whaley’s work, Los Angeles author and art critic Peter Clothier wrote, “The hero’s journey is above all a spiritual quest, whose ordeal is the battle with the dark side of one’s human nature, and whose grail is ‘enlightenment’—finding the light, the self-knowledge that leads to inner peace and the recognition of one’s place in the world.” Outside the studio, having concluded that the business world was not for him, he turned his attention to the more humanitarian field of health care, enrolling in nursing school in 2006.
The following year found him volunteering at Kaiser Permanente, working to aid and comfort the families of patients in intensive care. In 2012, he contributed his largest canvas to date, Fields of Play, to a fundraiser for terminally ill children. It was the favorable response to this painting that opened the door for future gallery representation and the beginnings of a financial return on his paintings which took even the artist by surprise. The same year he was named Volunteer of the Year by Los Angeles County for his work instructing art classes for seniors and underprivileged children at a community center in East Los Angeles.
“The Foundation not only provides monetary support but also seeks to champion the values of the artist in whose honor it is named,” Blankfort said. “Davyd Whaley was deeply committed to the exploration of the human psyche in his work, as well as helping those he saw to be in need of his support and encouragement. It is his personal commitment that served as a model for our mission.”