Behind the Scenes, Getty Center

VA to the Getty, by Way of the Shuttle

In 2007 the Getty Security department was approached by the VA (Veterans Affairs) to see if we could arrange a visit to the Getty Center for some of the veterans at their facility off Sepulveda Boulevard at Constitution Avenue. Of course we could! The first visit was coordinated through the Getty shuttle service—and since then it’s become a regular program.

Carrie Brandlin, a recreation therapist with 25 years of voluntary service experience who’s worked at the Veterans Hospital for 10 years, initially reached out to us.  After noticing some of the Getty shuttles staged at the Constitution Lot (our backup lot for high-visitorship days), she contacted the Getty to see whether she could arrange a visit to by interested veterans. The first visit was such a hit that we all decided to continue the program on a monthly basis.

On designated days and times, we send a free shuttle to pick up any veterans who are capable and interested to attend, as well as their family members who want to visit the Getty Center. After two or three hours, our shuttle takes these special visitors back to the VA. I help by coordinating this service.

To the Getty Center we go! Our shuttle at the VA pick-up/drop-off location.

To the Getty Center we go! Our shuttle at the VA pick-up/drop-off location.

According to Carrie, “the Getty is helping to serve American heroes while furthering the VA’s mission.” That mission is to improve the health of the served VA population by providing primary care, specialty care, extended care, and related social support services in an integrated healthcare delivery system.

Carrie Brandlin with the mission statement of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Carrie Brandlin of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System shows off the mission statement.

Many different veterans pass through the VA domicile at Constitution prior to reintegrating into civilian life. They come with different backgrounds, not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visiting the Getty Center helps them get involved in the community, have a free, positive leisure experience, learn about art, and interact with other people. It also allows some veterans to spend quality time with their families. So far, the program has averaged approximately ten veterans a month.

Judging by the favorable response from participating veterans, it’s something they appreciate and enjoy. We’re delighted to be able to meet these men and women and offer them a memorable outing.

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  1. Amber
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if there are other shuttles to the Getty that are available to the public. Maybe leaving from/near UCLA? Thanks!

  2. Dirk
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Hello Amber,

    Unfortunately we don’t have any other shuttles leaving from elsewhere, other then public transportation. The setup with the VA is specifically for the Veterans.

  3. Steven B. Lofton
    Posted January 1, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Just wondered about more information on the days and times for the shuttle that
    runs for veterans and their families to the Getty Center from Sepulveda Blvd at
    Constitution Avenue this Sunday January 3, 2016.

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.

      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”


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