Celebrated Writer/Director teams with Joshua Tree non-profit powerhouse to create Artist Residency for Veterans
“Charles J. Evered House” to be named in honor of writer/director’s father.”
When writer/director Charles Evered was a struggling grad student just out of Yale, he didn’t have a place to live. His parents had passed away, he had no money and was saddled with student loans. The world-famous playwright Edward Albee came to his rescue. “I didn’t know where I was going to go. I was renting a cheap office in the middle of New Jersey and I’d crash there at night. That’s when I got a call from the Albee Foundation. I was told they liked the play I had submitted and offered me a residency for one month in Montauk, NY. I wouldn’t have to worry about where I’d live—at least for awhile, which was a big deal — and Edward himself dropped in and delivered our mail. He also took the time to offer me advice on playwriting as well, and corresponded with me when I made the move out to Hollywood. The whole experience was a lifesaver for me, and helped launch my career.”
Evered now plans to pay it forward by establishing an artistic residency in the Joshua Tree area, meant specifically for military veterans who are writers, painters, musicians, and artists of all kinds. In addition, the residency will be open to those who serve in conflict zones, especially war correspondents and photographers. “People who document war are often underpaid, uninsured, and targeted by regimes—living very precarious lives. Our veterans returning home face many challenges as well. But maybe if we could provide them with a peaceful and secure place to collect their thoughts for a while, it’ll advance their work and amazing things might come from it,” stated Evered. “Veterans have incredible stories to tell. To me, they literally are the stories of our time and we just want to give them a place to write it down—to compose it or to paint it, so the world knows their story.”
The residence will be named the “Charles J. Evered House,” after his father, who was a veteran of World War II. He passed away in 1979, but his son—who shares his first name—wants to honor his legacy. “I haven’t had a dad for almost forty years, but I feel like I talk to him everyday. He was a great man, and I want him to live on in some way.” The idea of helping those who serve comes naturally to Evered, as service runs deep in his family. He himself was a Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve and his son John is entering his fourth year in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Even his daughter Margaret puts in time as a Junior Firefighter back in Princeton, New Jersey—rounding out three generations of service.
Evered has joined forces with an already established non-profit powerhouse in the area, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center (HDCC), which serves as the regional arts center for the Joshua Tree National Park region. Evered has a long-standing relationship with HDCC—most recently, his new Christmas play, An Actor’s Carol, premiered there playing to sold out audiences and starred Tony and Emmy award winning actor Hal Linden. The Charles J. Evered House is a new program division of the Hi-Desert Cultural Center and features a highly celebrated mentor board of top industry talent including Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan, Tony Award winning actor, Golden Globe/Emmy Award nominated), Luke Perry, (Actor/Producer, Riverdale), Diane Paulus (Tony Award winning director, artistic director American Repertory Theater), Hal Linden (Tony Award & Emmy Award winner), Kim Waltrip (Producer, Hit and Run, Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Adopt A Sailor), Jarrod Radnich (Composer/Recording Artist, Disney/Universal/HBO/Musicnotes, 100+ million YouTube/Youku Tudou, best-selling author worldwide), William Wrubel (Emmy winning Writer/Producer, Modern Family), Stu Krieger (Screenwriter, The Land Before Time, UCR Professor), Howard Shangraw (Award-winning Director/Actor, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Fantastic Four, Frasier, Wings, artistic director Hi-Desert Playhouse), and many other esteemed individuals.
Evered himself is an award-winning writer, having written and directed two feature films, published plays that have been performed off Broadway—as well as internationally. He’s written for major studios (Universal, DreamWorks, Paramount and NBC), television shows, and independent projects. Currently, he is Professor of Playwriting at the University of California – Riverside, where he was the founding artistic director of the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production.
In addition to UCR’s new medical school that would provide mental health support and medical guidance as needed, CJE House will also seek to establish a relationship with the local hospital and police department so that its residents would have secure quick access to their services.
Evered and the Hi-Desert Cultural Center are now launching a $25,000 campaign to secure the property and fund the modifications that will have to be made in order to make the house accessible for all. “We’re getting the word out, trying to appeal to donors who understand our vision. We’re planning fundraisers including online fundraising campaigns and working night and day to make this a reality.” Evered hopes the “Charles J. Evered House” will host its first veteran resident in January of 2018.
The HI-DESERT CULTURAL CENTER (DBA) is a fully recognized non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation: “HI-DESERT PLAYHOUSE GUILD, INC.” Federal Tax ID# 23-7425816, California Department of Justice Charity Registration #008976. Donations to it are deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Hi-Desert Cultural Center has earned “Silver” status from GuideStar and is about to achieve “Gold” for its exceptional transparency & compliancy—fewer than 0.1% of the 1.8 million non-profits ever achieve this status.