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Meet David Chrzanowski of Loft Academy Learning Center in South Bay/ Mid-Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Chrzanowski.

David, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It was my dream to be an Olympic wrestler in school as a kid in Ann Arbor, MI. However, a stray bullet shot point blank range from a .22 derailed that dream. A few years later, a chance reading of “Death of a Salesman” gave rise to a whole new direction in my career. This tale of a family- who’s patriarch fills his son’s heads with unrealistic dreams- gutted me at the time.

My relationship with my dad was highly unusual, and often strained, and I guess the arch of Wily Loman resonated with me. I was immediately hooked, even if at the time I may not have been able to understand why. After escaping to the mountains of Glacier Park, Montana for a summer I continued my studies in Michigan and moved to Chicago to go to graduate school fully intending to work and teach in the city of ‘broad shoulders’. After enduring the second, then the third worst snowfall in Chicago’s recorded history, my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I set out for Los Angeles where we continue to collaborate on film, television, and theatrical stories. I founded an enrichment center in the South Bay called the Loft Academy, who’s mission is to inspire curiosity in students.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Lucky in love, unlucky in cards. My dad was a drug kingpin, life growing up was a feast or famine situation. Before that, he ran all the Little Caesars stores in Canada. So his character was…. well, complicated. He was a bit of an idiot/savant to be sure. I guess one challenge was just trying to be ‘normal’ when things at home were anything but. There were a lot of things happening that I couldn’t tell my friends growing up. Later, as I’ve mentioned, I was shot at point blank range. This had nothing to do with my father’s activities.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
The plays I read, the plays I like to direct are usually connected to family dynamics. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to tell stories about how families treat one another, how they hurt, and how they heal. A lot of my work has focused on storytelling through movement and violence. I taught both on the college level for a while.

As an educator, I’m passionate about igniting curious minds in my students. The enrichment center I founded in El Segundo (The LOFT Academy) has no grades, no reward systems, and uses hands-on, constructivist teaching methods to inspire a joy of learning.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was a high-level freestyle wrestler, but I also sang and acted in all the school musicals. This seeming contradiction confused my classmates. Was I a jock, or a queer? I think other kids saw me as something of an oddity but I never saw myself as odd.

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Image Credit:

Photo credit: Liz Lauren

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