20 May Eiteljorg Insider: Five Questions with La Marr Easter, Vice President of Operations
By Sophia Holt-Wilson, Eiteljorg Marketing and Communications Intern
La Marr Easter is the vice president of operations at the Eiteljorg. He started at the museum as the manager of security in 2015. In his current role, he oversees various daily operations at the Eiteljorg, including retail, housekeeping, grounds, maintenance, admissions, and more. La Marr is also one of the only members of staff to remain working in the museum while the stay at home order is in place, and he has spent this time preparing the building to reopen to the public again when the order is lifted.
Here are five questions to help you get to know La Marr:
1. What is your favorite piece in the museum?
The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, oil on canvas (2003) by Mian Situ. This painting was purchased by the museum through the help of the Western Art Society to acknowledge the presence of the Chinese in the development of the West. The painting represents diversity and has personal meaning, and has resulted in the creation of friendships that I will be forever grateful for.
(You can read a previous Eiteljorg Blog article about The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, here)
2. What has it been like at the museum without visitors?
The atmosphere at the museum is quiet. Without visitors and staff, it feels like an empty school. I suppose we are taking advantage of the time in much the same way educational institutions do when their students are away for the summer.
3. Have you learned anything new about the museum while spending time in it alone?
I have spent many late nights alone at the museum repairing problems, checking out alarms, and investigating mysterious sounds that have alarmed security. All of them have been worth the inconvenience. There is something about being alone and surrounded by so much inspirational history and knowing you have been entrusted to protect it.
3. If you could have any piece of art in the world, what would it be?
The Elephants (1948) by Salvador Dali. Dali painted the elephants without the slightest aesthetic concern. I think the reason I like it is sometimes I don’t see things the same way other people do, and this painting makes me feel like it is okay to do that.
4. How do you spend your time outside of work?
Most of my time outside of work is spent with my family in the country or working in my yard. I have a koi pond that requires a lot of attention; my back yard is listed in a national registry as a “nature habitat,” which requires many amenities for wildlife.
5. What’s something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I am retired from the Federal Government, where I worked as a Master Behavioral Detection Officer. I received my training at the FBI training Center in Quantico, Virginia. At the time I graduated, there were 290 Behavior Detection Officers throughout the country. Just a few reached the Master level. We were deployed at airports, bus stations and large sporting events, and oftentimes accompanied by a K9 officer.