Landmark On Main Street withstands the test of time
For years, Landmark On Main Street has been considered the beacon of the community, and with a rich history that it has, how can it not be?
“The Landmark of today is the result of the kind of activism that Port Washington is known for,” Laura Mogul, who is the executive director of Landmark On Main Street said. “When the school district was preparing to sell the 1908 building in 1984, a group of concerned citizens formed a coalition to save the beloved landmark structure. They identified not only potential uses for the building, but also funding sources. The building opened in its new incarnation in 1995. We share this building with senior apartments and the YAI program, and we manage the space that includes the Jeanne Rimsky Theater, Doctors’ Gym, Parent Resource Center, Childrens Center and the PiT (Teen Center). There isn’t anything else quite like Landmark, either here in Port or really, anywhere.”
So how did Mogul earn the prestigious title of executive director? According to her, it was her just being in the right place, at the right time.
“I call this my ‘Third Act’,” she said. “I had a career in advertising, then a second career in community nonprofit volunteer service. When this position opened up, I was encouraged to apply by people I had worked with in the community. And it turned out to be the perfect way to combine all my past experience.”
As executive director, Mogul has to wear many hats to ensure that the Landmark runs efficiently and effectively.
“We’re a very small staff here and we all back each other up to make the ‘magic’ happen,” Mogul explained. “Which means that at various moments in any given day, I’m the CEO, Marketing Director, Development Associate, PR spokesperson, board liaison, building manager, programming director, grant writer, cheerleader, Zoom camera person and computer tech.”
So what is Mogul most proud of as her title of executive director comes to close? Mogul is retiring this year after holding the executive director title for the past six and a half years.
“I’m proud of the place Landmark occupies in the life of our community,” she said. “From the building on outward, we’ve used every bit of our resources to bring the performing arts to the community and the community to the performing arts. Yes, we have a solid regional reputation as a regional arts presenter, but first and foremost we serve our community.”
Although being executive director is fascinating and rewarding, it can also be exhausting, Mogul added.
“A normal week in season is 60 to 70 hours,” she said. “The last 15 pandemic months in particular have been tough. It has felt at times like I was carrying the weight of the entire organization in my head. I’ve taken Landmark pretty far during my tenure, and I’m looking forward to seeing where my successor will take us next.”
And with the pandemic slowly coming to a close—at least in the United States—it was a punch in the gut for the Landmark.
“For 25-plus years our service to the community has been all about live experiences—concerts, student performances and community events in the theater; festivals, birthday parties and sports in the gym,” Mogul explained. “The pandemic really was a punch in the gut for us, but not for long. We learned to livestream, turned our parking lot into an outdoor ‘venue’ and provided the entertainment for the Port Outdoors Dine & Shop nights. Without our regular season, though, our revenue took a hit. No ticket sales, few sponsorships, few rentals. We put out an appeal in the fall for support to get us through the dark time, and our community really came out for us. As of now, we’re still waiting to hear about our SVOG [grant] application; if that comes out OK we can breathe a little easier.”
So what does Mogul want the community to know about the Landmark?
“We are quite literally a beacon in this community,” she said. “You can see the clocktower from pretty much everywhere in town. And I think our fellow residents know that everything we do, we do for their benefit. Whether that’s bringing world-class entertainment to their hometown at affordable prices, making the Jeanne Rimsky Theater available for recitals, fundraisers and events at below-market rates or renting out our gym for sports, events and birthday parties, we’re here for our community in so many ways. And they’re here for us.”
Landmark On Main Street is located at 232 Main St., Suite 1 in Port Washington. For more information, visit landmarkonmainstreet.org or call 516-767-1384.