Los Alamos Schools Grateful For Duane Smith Auditorium Endowment

Shell-1.jpgPianists Orion Weiss, left and Shai Wosmer rehearse in front of the sound shell on stage at Duane Smith Auditorium. Photo by Peter LaDelfe


The Los Alamos Public Schools and the Los Alamos Community Foundation are pleased to announce that the Endowment for Duane Smith Auditorium has had a successful first year and is now actively paying out. These proceeds are used to fund the preservation needs of this valuable resource that serves not only LAPS, but the entire community. 

According to Executive Director of the Los Alamos Community Foundation, Rachel Kizielewicz, the fund started earning interest with the establishing contribution from donors Joan Smith Brown and Kelly Myers in August 2018. Each year going forward the annual earnings from the fund will be put to immediate use.

“It is rewarding to see an initial idea that Kelly and Joan had to preserve the auditorium for the community’s benefit now come to fruition. Over the past year, this fund has been supported by a number of people in the community,” said Kizielewicz. “As the endowment continues to mature, we look forward to the annual distributions being larger and even more impactful.” 

 Supt. Kurt Steinhaus said, “On behalf of the Los Alamos schools, we are very thankful and look forward to continuing to work with the Community Foundation for the benefit of students and everyone that uses the auditorium.”

The first tangible example of the impact of these proceeds is the recent installation of a new sound shell for music performances at DSA. The Los Alamos Concert Association (LACA) used the sound shell for the first time on Sunday for Shai Wosner and Orion Weiss’ performance. 

The reception of the sound shell was positive. LACA’s Artistic Director, Ann McLaughlin said, “The new shell is much easier (and safer!) to set up.” She also noted that an unexpected bonus for LACA is that the new shell is more efficient in directing sound out into the audience. “We could really tell the difference and the wood grain finish looks great!” said Ann. 

 The Duane Smith Auditorium, originally called the Civic Auditorium, was built in 1950 and stood as the main facility in which local organizations could host plays and performances due to its spacious stage and seating area. The building was renamed in 1994 to Duane Smith Auditorium after well-loved LAPS Superintendent Duane Smith. 

 The Los Alamos Community Foundation is excited to share that a donor has put forth $10,000 in matching funds, which will provide a dollar for dollar match to the next $10,000 in public contributions that are made to the fund. Contributions can be made via check (mailed to LACF, PO Box 1225, Los Alamos, NM 87544, with Endowment for Duane Smith Auditorium in the memo line), or online at www.losalamoscf.org, under the ‘giving’ tab, then ‘available funds’.  

About the Los Alamos Community Foundation:  Established in 2015, the focus of the Los Alamos Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life in our community by inspiring, facilitating and supporting enduring philanthropy, and building the capacity of our local nonprofit organizations. The Los Alamos Community Foundation currently stewards six local endowment funds and total assets of more than $266,500. For more information about the Los Alamos Community Foundation, visit http://www.losalamoscf.org.  Additional questions on ways to give to the fund can be directed to Kizielewicz at rachel@losalamoscf.org or 505-661-4420.