Pasadena Art Alliance has become one of the most generous financial supporters of ArtCenter College of Design with a recent grant that brings a nearly 50-year record of giving to more than $1 million. The PAA ArtCenter partnership began in 1976, the same year the college opened the campus in the hills above the Rose Bowl. ArtCenter President Karen Hofmann acknowledged the $1 million giving milestone at a special ceremony at PAA’s annual meeting on June 1 in Pasadena. “We are deeply grateful to the Pasadena Art Alliance for this extraordinary history of giving to ArtCenter,” said Hofmann. “Supporting our students through scholarships to increase access to an art and design education is a very meaningful way to support the next generation.
PAA’s sponsorship of our exhibitions for so many years has helped us reach new audiences and made an impact on the cultural landscape of our region.” The Pasadena Art Alliance’s partnership with ArtCenter has directly assisted scores of students. “I am the first in my family to finish college and I want my children to be inspired,” said Elysabeth Bell who graduated in spring 2022. “Both my parents were immigrants to this country and wanted to give us a better life. Getting my degree will not only help me, it will help my children continue to pursue the better life that my father risked everything for by escaping communism.” Bell is now teaching painting workshops for ArtCenter’s Integrated Studies Program while in graduate school at the Claremont Colleges.
The students who received PAA scholarships throughout the years identify as first-generation American, first-generation college students, single parents, men, women, White, Latino/ Hispanic, Black/African American, American Alaskan Native and Asian. Many have become successful exhibiting artists including Crystal Whitehead, Julio Torano, Filip Kostic, Case Esparros and Jose Flores while others have gone on to pursue graduate degrees. The scholarship recipients have aspired to be art teachers, gallery owners and fine artists, to inspire positive change and be in a position one day to help other students achieve their dreams, as the PAA has helped them. The honorary ArtCenter donor pencil recognizing the milestone was presented to Pasadena Art Alliance President Annaly Bennett. The pencil will be displayed on donor walls on both campuses and positioned among the College’s most generous supporters such as The Rose Hills Foundation, Fletcher Jones Foundation and individuals including Alyce de Roulet Williamson and Adelaide Hixon.
The $1 million milestone tipping point was reached with a recent PAA grant of $32,000 to the College that included $17,000 to support exhibitions and $15,000 to fund Fine Art student scholarships. In the nearly 50 years of supporting Art- Center, PAA has donated $422,775 to support student scholarships; $514,500 to support the College’s Exhibitions program and another $67,366 was dedicated to a general restricted fund. The Pasadena Art Alliance’s mission is to foster the appreciation of contemporary visual art in Southern California. PAA annually supports deserving visual arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County through grants and awards programs. PAA has recently supported several upcoming ArtCenter exhibitions:
ADVANCE OF THE REAR GUARD: CEEJE GALLERY IN THE 1960S
In October 2023, ArtCenter College of Design will open “Advance of the Rear Guard,” an expansive, historical survey of artists affiliated with Ceeje Gallery, a groundbreaking but underacknowledged venue that fostered remarkable diversity and equity in Southern California’s then-nascent contemporary art landscape. Organized by independent, Los Angeles- based curator Michael Duncan, “Advance of the Rear Guard” will be presented at ArtCenter’s 4,600-square-foot Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at the college’s hillside campus in Pasadena. During its 22-week run, the exhibition will showcase approximately 70 paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs by more than 30 artists.
DEVIN TROY STROTHER: GUMBO AESTHETIC
Devin Troy Strother works across a variety of creative modes; including sculpture, neon, installation and mixed media. He is known for incorporating pop culture imagery alongside humor and language in his pieces. It is through channeling satire that Strother has created a conceptual framework by which to explore conversations on the intersection of racial prejudice, kitsch and high art. His work draws on references ranging from stand-up comedy and music to Henri Matisse’s cutouts and Joseph Cornell’s intricate assemblages. Strother interrogates stereotypes of the Black entertainer as a means of reclaiming representation and identity often fetishized in mainstream media. The exhibition “Gumbo Aesthetic,” scheduled to run at ArtCenter Downtown Los Angeles, will present a survey of the artist’s work and practice from the early 2000s to the present. Comprising works ranging from paintings, sculpture and collage, the show will trace the ways in which Strother has developed a practice that navigates and engages conversations on race from his own perspective— one that is informed by his experience of coming of age in a predominantly white neighborhood in the 1980s. ArtCenter Exhibitions is a program of public-facing curated spaces. The college’s programs seek to ignite emotional resonance, provoke intellectual dissonance and conjure unexpected pathways of thinking by connecting art and design with the social, scientific, humanitarian and poetic dimensions of our time. Galleries include the Hillside Campus’ Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery at its South Campus in Pasadena and ArtCenter DTLA. Additional curated spaces include the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography Gallery and Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall located at ArtCenter’s South Campus, as well as the Hillside Campus Student Gallery.
First published in the June 15 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.