We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristina von Hoffmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristina, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in Venice, CA. I was blessed to grow up in a culture that was built on resisting the status quo. The people I got introduced to growing up—whether it was through family, friends, or random encounters on the Boardwalk—all taught me to never apologize for being yourself. They embraced and celebrated their weirdness, their creativity, their eccentricities, and that has continued to inspire me.
You see that same energy embodied by our city’s founder. People thought Abbot Kinney was crazy for wanting to build a city over what was essentially a swamp—they called it “Kinney’s Folly”. He persisted in spite of the naysayers, built a thriving amusement town, and now we are the most popular tourist attraction in all of Los Angeles, one of the top two in Southern California. Our city is recognized the world over for its cultural influence, from skateboarding and surfing, to architecture, art, design, music, and more.
Nowadays, there are still naysayers. But the thing that strikes me the most is how fiercely people here still fight for their concept of Venice, whatever that might be. There’s a passion and a loyalty here that you just don’t find in many other places.
I feel so lucky to have been raised here, and I’m proud to be working to preserve and celebrate the many different legacies of our community—in particular, the diverse generations of individuals and families who have made Venice this top destination for millions of people each year.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am completely driven by purpose and passion. While some people are motivated by process, for me the entirety of my career and volunteer work has been devoted to causes that I believe will provide a benefit to others and help make a positive impact. The guiding question I use to orient myself in life is: “Are you contributing?”
My Mom took a job at an oceans advocacy organization shortly after I was born, so you could say I grew up in the environmental movement. I used to think I would never go into non-profit work myself but, of course, that’s ultimately where I ended up. Currently, I serve as the Senior Operations Director of the award-winning nonprofit, Climate Resolve. The people and lack of attitude are what have kept me in the field. Since we have such a relatively short amount of time on this planet, I feel lucky to be spending my working hours alongside intelligent, passionate, and genuinely caring human beings.
I went to school for Environmental Studies and French, and started finding internships during the summer that helped me get a foot in the door in the movement here in LA. One internship led to another, which then provided me with a great recommendation from a supervisor and helped me get my first environmental job (which I found on Idealist.org). That’s how I got started and kept building connections from there.
In the meantime, an interest in keeping my back strong and mobile (I have scoliosis) ultimately led me to hatha and vinyasa yoga. After falling in love with the practice, I signed up for a teacher training with my primary instructor in 2012. I asked the owner of the gym I went to at the time if he would be interested in offering a class to the athletes there, and ultimately got a side job teaching beginner’s yoga right after graduation. Since 2013, I have continued my education and built a personalized practice now primarily serving elders and corporate teams.
Lastly, with the Venice Heritage Museum project, as I came into my late 20s I started to feel an urge and responsibility to give back to the city that raised me. I began volunteering with the team working on building Venice’s first-ever museum, joined the Board, and now am actively engaged in the process of fundraising and community-building to bring this long overdue project to life for our city.
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?
Take a bike ride to the beach down Venice Blvd past the old Venice City Hall (now Beyond Baroque) and Venice Jail (now SPARC), pointing out author, Ray Bradbury’s old home across the street from Fire Station 62 where he wrote The Martian Chronicles and the idea for Fahrenheit 451 was born. Take a few detours to check out street art and murals by Venice artists like Jonas Never and Gustavo Zermeño, Jr.
Grab coffee at Menotti’s Coffee Stop right by the Venice Sign (which was a project of some of the Museum’s founding board members!)
Visit my friend, Fred, at Gonzo Africa on Windward Ave to pick up a few beautiful handmade pieces of jewelry and other crafts to take home as gifts and mementos.
Take a walk along the Boardwalk, check out a few of the performers, and visit the Venice Skate Park. Get a custom shirt made at Venice Liberty. Check out the Venice section at Small World Books, which was once the residence of 1960s Venice print artist, Earl Newman, and his family. Then head back on the bike path towards Breakwater to check out the surf, and find a spot south of Venice Blvd to relax on the beach.
Lunch at Hoagies (maybe a nap afterwards to digest… haha). Check out an exhibit or an event at a local arts institution like SPARC or Beyond Baroque.
Dinner at Hama Sushi in the Venice Circle or a burger from Hinano’s. If it’s Hinano’s, play a round of pool and see who we run into.
If it’s the second Friday of the month, catch a band playing with the Music Box Micro Stage at Pour Vida Art House on Lincoln Blvd, with beats by DJ Room Service and delicious tacos made by Ola Loa General Store.
Drinks at The Townhouse, preferably in the Del Monte Speakeasy while dancing to a set by DJ Jedi. Late night tacos from the stand at Brooks & Lincoln or in front of the Whole Foods on Lincoln.
Next morning, get up and take a stroll on the Venice Walk Streets or through the Canals. Then do something like the above all over again mixing in a few more of Venice’s great places to grab food and people watch.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The people of Venice, the ancestors, the elders, and those who are continuing to carry the torch for our one-of-a-kind city.
“Venice Centennial 2005”: Barbara Baumann