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Meet Norman Buckley of The Davyd Whaley Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Norman Buckley.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My late husband Davyd Whaley (1967-2014) was an artist. In 2016, I established The Davyd Whaley Foundation, as a way to remember him and his legacy, and to promote the values that were important to him. Davyd was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2012 for setting up art classes in East LA community centers. He constantly sought out opportunities to serve others. His 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 honors Davyd’s desire to be of service to his fellow artists. Since 2016 we have awarded over $42,000 in grant money to seven Southern California artists, assisting them in the fulfillment of their vision. You can learn more about the Foundation at davydwhaleyfoundation.org.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The creation of the Foundation began as a proactive way of dealing with my personal grief. In this human experience all of us know loss, but I feel it’s what we do with the loss that defines the way we remember a person. I miss Davyd every single day, but when I say I miss him, what I’m really saying is that I miss the meaning he brought to my life and the values that he represented to me. Davyd’s life was about how to make the world a better place. He inspired all of those who knew him to extend themselves. In my own career, I am a television director–it is a good job and I am lucky to have the career that I do. After Davyd’s death, I was fortunate that I was able to immerse myself in my work. However, I felt a great need to follow the example that Davyd set for me, to find ways to give back, to serve others as well, beyond my entertainment career. With the help of Davyd’s associate and friend Anitra Kyees, as well as the support of artists Nick Brown and Krista Machovina, and the encouragement of Davyd’s friend Ellie Blankfort, the Foundation was established in 2016.

Please tell us about The Davyd Whaley Foundation.
The Davyd Whaley Foundation began in 2016 by giving two grants–for a mid-career artist and an artist-teacher. The following year we gave a third grant to another mid-career artist. This year we expanded to four grants–for an emerging artist, an artist-teacher, and two residencies. We are a grassroots organization and keep our overhead very low. I am proud of the fact that almost all of the money we raise as a non-profit goes directly into the pockets of artists.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
We are a new organization–only three years old–and I feel good about what we’ve achieved thus far. I have no regrets about the bumpy learning curve of “how to run a non-profit” and I feel that Davyd would be proud of what we’ve accomplished. He had a generous heart and I hope we can continue to lead all of our endeavors with a spirit of generosity, and encourage others to do the same.

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