We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Maxcy and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jen, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
For as long as I can remember I have been involved in the arts in one way or another. For many years I was a professional actor, then an advocate for arts in the public schools when my children were growing up, and now I’m an arts presenter and a painter on the side. As time has passed I have come to understand artists and storytellers as central to a healthy society. I think the arts are where we work out so much of what challenges us as human beings, where we grapple and express, and most importantly where hearts and minds can be moved. In my current role as Director of Public Programs at the Skirball Cultural Center here in LA, I am so privileged to work with artists across all disciplines; brilliant writers, theater makers, musicians, and filmmakers. People crave artistry that can help them make sense of things, or help get them to some kind of catharsis, or even just be the catalyst for them to release and feel connection and joy. Music is great for this sense of connection. I also think storytelling and artistry can build empathy and tolerance for those who may be very different from us, may have vastly different experiences, but that somehow through art, we see the shared humanity. This is very powerful, feeling and seeing shared humanity. And I think so necessary in our world today, given how small the earth has seemed to become and how increasingly critical it is for us to all work together–on the same team. The human team.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The career I have today was not the one I set out to have when I was younger. For many years I was a professional actor, working first in Boston (my hometown, Go Sox), then New York, and finally landing in LA. After having my children it became much harder to sustain the life of a sporadically employed actor, so I turned my focus to raising my children and helping in the schools. Eventually I became a PTA President which was an interesting life chapter and in some ways set the stage for me to understand myself as a leader, to really understand my style as a collaborator, and where some of my challenges were. I think in general I am a pretty magnanimous leader, and I’m very keen to include lots of people in any endeavor and really create a sense of team, but nothing like actually working with people with very different views to realize that a shared vision sometimes means that my own ideas are not front and center.  I actually work really hard on the leadership/team piece of my job because I want to be sure that I am growing as a leader, that I remain open to feedback, and that I’m contributing positive energy to the workplace. And maybe some of this concern is also because I’m a mom to three young adults and in that arena I’m also very aware that my behavior has an impact, that young people are watching.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, hiking is key in LA! I would take a trip up the Temescal Canyon trail where you can emerge and have a gorgeous view of the ocean, and then loop around to a little waterfall. Another beautiful place to hike is Malibu Canyon, and if you’re in that area you have to go check out Old Place on Mulholland Highway where the ambiance outside and inside is amazing. I’m loving Main Street in Santa Monica these days, so I might stroll around there and stop at the Ten Women Gallery where I happen to have some paintings, but where almost thirty other women artists showcase their art and they are all amazing! The restaurants on Main Street really stepped up during the pandemic and outdid themselves with their outdoor dining areas, so I’d check out Lula, Manchego, or of course the legendary Cha Cha Chicken. And then on Sunday night I’d grab some bicycles and meet up with the Venice Electric Parade which is the coolest parade of bikes (everyone puts lights on their spokes, and if you don’t have any, you can get them at the starting line) that starts in Venice on the boardwalk and cruises up the bike path to past the Santa Monica Pier and then back. So fun!  And I would be remiss if I did not recommend that anyone visiting LA check out the Skirball Cultural Center since we have a huge range of cool offerings, both in the museum spaces and in public programs.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My earliest supporters were back in my little hometown of Holliston, Massachusetts and this would be people like the Drama Director Jim Kadra who always encouraged my work as an actor, or Music Director Al Ezer who taught me to play about three different instruments and also how to write a score for an orchestra! Later in my life I turned to so many powerful women who helped to encourage me through motherhood, careers shifts, new phases of artistry. At the Skirball Cultural Center I have had a whole crew of amazing women here in LA who have advised and supported me over the years. Huge shout out to Nina Silver, Mia Carino, Sheri Bernstein, Rosalie Tucker, Sue Larson, Rachel Stark, Amina Bliss, Adele Lander-Burke, Monya Jackson, Gail Green, and so many more. All of these women have helped to nurture and support me at points along the journey, and I owe a great deal to them.

Website: www.jenmaxcy.com

Instagram: @maxcyjen

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-maxcy-b75a0b8/

Image Credits
Larry Sandez (photo of Jen Maxcy on Stage)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.