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Sep 17

History Is Now | Directors Talk

Join the current and future directors of Focus on the Masters Arts Archive & Library before the opening reception as they candidly discuss the history of the organization, its development, and plans for the future. Founder and current Executive Director Donna Granata will share highlights from the history of the organization while incoming Executive Director Chelsea Cody will share her vision and plans for the future of the nonprofit.

Donna Granata, FOTM Founder & Current Executive Director

An accomplished artist in her own right, Donna Granata is an internationally published and award winning painter turned photographer. Her photographs have been displayed across the United States. Selected works from her FOTM portrait series are housed in the Smithsonian’s Archive of American Artists; in the photographic Collection of the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York and other public institutions that house the personal archives of the artists documented. Donna received a Bachelor’s of Art Degree and Honorary Masters of Science Degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography where she was an adjunct professor in the Portrait Department. She received a Master’s Degree in Arts Journalism from USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, graduating with honor. Granata is listed in Marquis Who’s Who of American Women. In 2012 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts from the City of Ojai, CA.

Chelsea Cody, Artist & Future FOTM Executive Director

Referred to FOTM by documented artist Elyn Zimmerman, for whom Chelsea worked as a studio assistant, she began her work at Focus in 2022 as a Learning to See program assistant. Chelsea earned her MFA in Studio Art in 2019 from the Art Center College of Design. With a background in journalism, political theory, and gender studies she carves a circuitous path in pursuit of a more resilient and life-affirming creative existence. Utilizing writing, photography, collage, sculpture, and performance, her interdisciplinary practice is rooted in the confrontation of the commonplace – questioning the status quo. Drawing on her interests in philosophy, social justice, power dynamics and identity, she is continuously asking why, to what end, and most importantly, what else could be? The latter being the most important question for FOTM. She is the ideal candidate to bring FOTM’s next chapter to fruition. See her work and read more about her at


  • How Focus on the Masters was born…or what happens when your house is full to bursting with art and historical information.
  • What we are really talking about when we emphasize the importance of the arts to a healthy society.
  • What has been the greatest achievement? The most significant struggle or sacrifice?
  • How the pandemic altered our trajectory and what we face in the wake of this experience.
  • What does succession mean and who is taking the helm?
  • Why intergenerational cooperation is vital to navigating change.
  • Preserving nuance and encouraging depth in an environment of snippets and scrolling.
  • The generosity of attention and how we build meaningful networks of support.

Bank of America Performing Arts Center, Verizon Founders Room (2nd Floor)
2100 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
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Sep 17, 2023 02:00pm - Sep 17, 2023 03:00pm