Academy Names Heather Cochran and Bill Kramer to New Museum Posts

Miracle Mile Museum Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles - H 2012
Chris Godley

Miracle Mile Museum Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles - H 2012

The executive appointments are part of developing a new movie museum in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile district.

Moving forward with its plans for a movie museum, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named Heather Cochran and Bill Kramer to two newly created museum posts.

Cochran, who joined the Academy staff as museum project administrator in 2004, when the Academy first began drawing up plans for a museum, has been promoted to managing director, Academy museum project. She will help manage and execute the overall vision for the museum.

Kramer, who most recently served as chief advancement officer for the Southern California Institute of Architecture, is joining the Academy staff as managing director, development, and will oversee the museum’s capital campaign, which Disney CEO Bob Iger is chairing, as well as future fundraiser efforts.

Both will report to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who announced the new exec lineup Wednesday. “With Heather and Bill in place, the Academy is poised to move the museum to the next phase and beyond," she said. "Each brings a wealth of experience that will be critical as the museum project continues to gather momentum.”

In October, the Academy entered into an agreement with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to develop plans for a new movie museum in the former May Company building at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, which is owned by LACMA. As the Academy moves forward with planning and initial fund-raising, its timetable calls for unveiling designs for the museum by October, with an eye toward opening its doors by 2016.

“Right now, we are looking at choosing an architect for the interior of the building,” Cochran said Wednesday of the project’s current status. Once the museum team settles on concept designs for the adapted-reuse project, it will begin drawing up specific plans for exhibition space as well as concrete fund-raising goals for both the construction of the new museum and the establishment of an operating endowment.

“Right now, we are in the silent stage of the fund-raising campaign,” Kramer said.

The Academy has begun approaching individuals, members of its board of governors and local foundations, and by October, when it publicly unveils more detailed plans, it hopes to have raised $100 million in commitments. Kramer would not say what pledges the Academy already has in hand but said, “We’re very confident we’ll reach our goal for October.” At that point, the Academy will launch a public fundraising effort, reaching out to a wide array of donors, companies and foundations.

The Academy, which had originally planned to build a new museum from the ground up on land it owns in Hollywood, had already begun to develop ideas for exhibiting material from its own collection of Hollywood memorabilia. “We have a fantastic collection, and we’ve also been making some strategic acquisitions,” Cochran said. “As we develop plans for the new location, we’ll revisit some of those ideas as well as build out a curatorial team.”

Cochran also has been involved in developing the Academy’s Hollywood property, where it now plans to open an outdoor movie theater by May. She said the Academy also is looking at creating additional parking on parcels it owns as well as retrofitting some of the existing buildings for artifact storage.

Kramer began his fundraising career at the Sundance Institute in 1999. In his recent work with SCI-Arc, the architecture and design school in downtown Los Angeles, he established an external affairs office, which handled development, public relations and alumni outreach functions. He also developed multiyear fundraising partnerships with foundations and individuals. Kramer also has served as director of development at Columbia University School of the Arts, as senior director of development for the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and as executive director of development for the Campaign for Cal Arts, which raised $150 million for the school.