Today's Featured Biography
Suzanne H FLINTON
Suzanne (Rusty) Flinton
3401 Club Dr #5
Los Angeles, CA 90064
See Also FaceBook: Rusty Flinton
1955 – 2010
Wow! Still alive and still healthy that’s the nub of it! Still working, too! Full time! For pay!
It has been a wonderful ride—all the way from Cambridge MA to it seems like a million places in between, ending here in the City of Angels.
After I left Radcliffe at the end of my sophomore year I worked in Harvard Sq at the old Upper Story shop for a year then, after deciding to not re- up at Radcliffe, I went home to Albany NY where my parents lived and I had gone to high school. I met a young architect, married him, had a son, divorced and went to NYC to live with the boy.
NYC – 1959 – 1975
Worked for a point-of-purchase advertising agency a few years then got into the arts – my real long life love – I was the administrative manager for the NY State Council on the Arts in the swinging 60’s, worked for the NY State Council on Architecture, and Arts Councils of America. Learned a lot about state government issues and public support for/of the arts. Testified at federal and state legislatures about expenditures for the arts and built rationalizations for budgets across the State and Community Arts Council movement.
Married a stockbroker in the mid-‘60‘s (oh, heady days!), had two more sons, divorced early ’70’s (yes, again) was then on my own in NYC with 3 kids (oh, not so heady days!).
Became an arts expert on crossover gov’t funding, i.e. use of Community Development $, Dept of Commerce $, Historic Preservation $, HUD other $, NOAA (yes there is arts money there, too) AND in the Dept of Fisheries. It’s all what you call it, how you write/slant it and who you know in the grants world. As I am sure you all know. I did learn that the clear blue flame of good works and knowledge does not burn on its own, but needs the aid of the unknowledgeable to fuel the fire. Loved it.
Louisville KY 1975-1977
Landed in Louisville after NYS Architecture Council was deleted from the NY State budget. Was placed as special asst to the mayor to develop his neighborhood outreach programs and was appointed the citizen participation and arts person for Louisville’s Community Development funds. We generated a whole bunch of neighborhood groups, got whole bunch of grants – am proud of the one making several Louisville alleys into common neighborhood work/play spaces. One group renovated a derelict house under HUD funds and turned it into low cost rentals. More fun. We generated and hosted the first national neighborhood programs convention in Louisville, combining a lot of Historic Preservation and HUD money and felt that a good amount of actual great activity resulted.
Had connected with a man in the arts in NYC before the two younger children and I went to Louisville (oldest boy then at Amherst) and though he commuted to Louisville every other weekend (how many of us have been THERE? I bet!), that wasn’t the best solution for us. He managed to talk his boss into setting up a branch in Los Angeles, so he moved from NYC and the kids and I moved from Louisville to take up life in LA.
We were happy – in the hills of Hollywood (Laurel Canyon and then Nichols Canyon) and all was well. I became the first executive director of the first nonprofit economic development corporation in LA – the Hollywood Revitalization Committee (what a snappy name! Geez!). We got basic funding from the City’s CD money and then got lots of grants – got a grant to help educate the working girls on Hollywood Blvd believe it or not – put up GED courses on the Blvd in the afternoons before business got busy at night. Well, it seemed like a good idea at time and the US Dept of Education bought it… Did the first Historic Preservation listings in LA and made Historic Districts in Hollywood. We were far behind the East Coast on these kinds of things. Put together some low cost elderly housing in Hwd with an LA developer. Tried to make Hollywood come into the 20th century for large HUD grants but no one wanted to declare Hollywood an economic disaster area which was the first step towards funding. Later, 25 years later, after I was long gone, it happened and now the Blvd has the Kodak theater and a whole bunch of good development. I am proud to say, though, that the Hollywood Sex Museum is still functioning at its old, grungy spot in the midst of all this gentrification. Jane Jacobs would like the Blvd now-or at least I like to think so. We also did a whole lot of organizing the neighborhoods for various efforts, so Barak ain’t the only community organizer in town! I have sat in more living rooms, church basements, and cold mall community rooms than I care to shake a stick at. All in good causes though and all greatly life affirming for me. Loved it.
Well, we were swanning along just fine when the local City Councilwoman got a burr under her saddle and de- funded us – Yikes. No manner of other funding could then replace the ability to communicate with the district council person. The organization lasted a few more months and then was disbanded.
Too bad. We were swinging.
Let’s see, - I got a real estate license and worked for a commercial agent in ‘83-’84. Made a total of $300.00. Got hired by the City of Santa Monica as Historic Preservation Officer and put together an arts in public places program. Started a local arts council. Became deputy director of Community Development, did housing bonds, developer deals, etc. And finally one night had an epiphany! At 2:00AM during the regular City council meeting I suddenly thought I can’t do this anymore. I don’t CARE about congestion on the streets of Santa Monica. I don’t CARE whether so and so gets two or three parking places any more. I went up to the City Manager and gave my notice!
Oh my. Then I started a manufacturing business of high end table linens. Did that for 5 years. Had a loft in downtown LA. Loved that too but went broke in the retail recession of the late ‘80’s.
Divorced again. Kids all grown. Probably why.
Went to work for my ex-husband’s company that he had started a year after we came out to LA and was very very successful at. Marketing research for movies. I went to London to head up their European branch and became an expert (instant like in the movies) on how American movies would play in the studios’ European markets. It’s not brain surgery. But that was a lot of fun, working 24/7, travelling like crazy all over Europe, and I loved that too! I made many good friends in the UK and Europe -- we use Skype to keep up nowadays…
LA 2000 - 2010
In 2000 I found that I really couldn’t do another winter in northern Europe, left NRG and came back to LA. Since then I have done many different things but am presently the bookkeeper/financial officer of Sussman/Prejza & Co, a graphic design firm that specializes in the built environment. So back to the arts again, sort of – www.sussmanprejza.com for a look at our work.
Along the way I have sat on Boards of Directors of a museum in LA, an orchestra in London, a national theater group located in LA, and appeared on various panels etc.
Children are all wonderful – range from Kuwait to Brooklyn to LA. Four grandchildren – 2 on the East coast and 2 are out here in SoCal. I am proud of every one of them and love them all to bits…
Words of wisdom? Be curious about everything. Learn as much as you can all the time. Hang out with younger folks, older folks, kids - people of all different persuasions – don’t say no – well, a little discretion, but not too much! Enjoy yourself. And I am so grateful that I have been blessed with extremely good health my entire life, have had more energy than I ever needed and though I am not an outside person, no camping and such, do enjoy the outdoors on a sailboat in the sun with a glass of wine….
May it continue for a long time.
January 28, 2010
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