April 3, 2023

Dear Friends,

Spring is here – and I am thrilled to have arrived in Los Angeles to work with the wonderful team here at The Wallis and to make my home in this world-class city.

The arts provide us all with common ground, a place to come together and share ideas and perspectives. As I have moved across the globe, from London to The Hague, and now from Washington, D.C. to L.A., my deep belief in the power of the arts to build bridges and foster dialogue and understanding has only
grown stronger.

The vision of The Wallis speaks eloquently of the world to which we aspire, “in which sharing stories, creativity, and the arts are celebrated as core elements of the human experience.” I am deeply committed to this vision and invite you to join in the
journey. This month we have a wonderful and diverse line up of events from crowd-favorite Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone, to jazz trailblazer Ulysses Owens, Jr. and opera star J’Nai Bridges making their Wallis debut, and so much more. I am also very proud to see Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie on the Bram Goldsmith stage, a production from the Kennedy Center, my own most recent professional home.

I invite you to try something which might be new to you; I have been fortunate to have worked across the spectrum of music, theater and dance, and this has taught me that the boundaries of form are increasingly fluid. The Wallis provides you the opportunity to explore new forms and creative languages. Be brave.

I look forward to meeting many of you at an upcoming performance, gathering or event, and to hear of your stories and experiences – we all have stories to share.

Robert van Leer
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts