Pasadena Community Foundation Awards $335,000 for the Arts

A group of five adults stand together in pose, smiling at the camera. THey are grouped in a line, many with their arms around another. They all wear white nametags. PCF’s 2023 Arts & Culture grantee organizations were celebrated at the home of Frank and Rosalina Cardenas on June 15. Pictured left to right: Lance Davis, Parsons Nose; Ellen Friedlander, Pasadena Photography Arts; Leslie Ito, Armory Center for the Arts; Scott Vandrick, Pasadena Symphony Association; Melissa Froehlich, Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Photos by Camille Stemmons.

Pasadena Community Foundation’s is proud to announce that its inaugural Arts & Culture Grant Program has just awarded $335,000 to 18 Pasadena-area arts and culture organizations to help them mitigate the unchartered, precarious landscape following the pandemic. Leaders of the grantee organizations joined PCF on June 15, 2023 for a celebratory reception at the home of PCF Board Member Frank Cardenas and his wife Rosalina Cardenas.

See the grantee list at the end of the post. 

The recipients range from emerging organizations like Mt. Lowe Chamber Players and Pasadena Photography Arts, to established ones like Pasadena Playhouse, Armory Center for the Arts, and Pasadena Symphony Association. Arts patrons and PCF supporters Terri and Jerry Kohl augmented PCF’s support with a $100,000 gift, which helped extend funding to additional organizations.

PCF’s funding will provide flexible support for innovative program delivery, new audience curation, and organizational changes. Among the specific projects planned are the creation of literature and music education programs at several PUSD schools, technology upgrades, the expansion of family-centered and emerging artists programs, hiring staff for marketing and audience engagement, and exploring works from traditionally underrepresented playwrights and composers to create new performance opportunities.

A man and a woman stand together in pose, smiling at the camera. The man has his arm around the woman's shoulders. He wears a nametag that reads Danny Feldman. They are outdoors, surrounded by other people and a balcony of a building is behind them.
Danny Feldman, Pasadena Playhouse, and Julia Rodriguez-Elliot from A Noise Within enjoy the Arts & Culture Grants Reception on June 15.

PCF’s Long History of Support for the Arts

The Arts & Culture Grants are part of a long history of the Foundation’s support for the arts. PCF’s first arts grant was in 1973, and since that time, with the help of PCF donors and endowment builders, it has awarded more than 500 grants totaling more than $3 million to local arts and cultural organizations. Learn more about PCF’s impact in the area of arts and culture.

Since the onset of the pandemic, PCF has channeled additional resources to local arts organizations. In 2020, PCF partnered with the City of Pasadena to support its emergency Art & Culture Relief Grant Program. In 2021, the Foundation disbursed an additional $100,000 in unrestricted funding for arts recovery.

Those initial efforts led to a “listening tour” in 2022, during which PCF visited 16 nonprofit arts organizations and arts leaders to learn how the pandemic had created unique and enduring challenges within the sector. These included a shift in audience demographics, attendance, and expectations; a dramatic rise in operation costs due to the supply chain and national inflation; and an urgent need to invest in new technologies to support hybrid programming and more sophisticated multimedia productions. Conversely, the organizations also recognize that this period offers a great deal of opportunity to strengthen capacity, diversity, and audience support. They are eager to tackle this new reality creatively and will use PCF’s funding to do so.

PCF President & CEO Jennifer DeVoll notes that PCF’s new grant program responds to similar issues that led the Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum to announce its temporary closure on June 15, 2023.

“PCF is terribly saddened by news of the Mark Taper Forum. We keenly understand that the Taper’s challenges are shared by many arts organizations. We feel that expanding PCF’s commitment to arts and culture provides recognition of the important role that these organizations play in the vibrancy of our community.”

2023 Arts & Culture Grantee Organizations
A Noise Within
Armory Center for the Arts
Arroyo Repertory Theatre
Boston Court Pasadena
Harmony Project
Light Bringer Project
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus
Mt. Lowe Chamber Players
Muse-ique The New MUSE/IQUE
Parson’s Nose Theater
Pasadena Conservatory of Music
Pasadena Heritage
Pasadena Master Chorale
Pasadena Photography Arts
Pasadena Playhouse
Pasadena Symphony Association
Side Street Projects

Four adults stand outdoors in front of a yellow wall and greenery. They are grouped in a line, and the woman at the far left holds a violin as does the man at the far right.
Members of the Mt. Lowe Chamber Players join the organization’s manager Phoebe Ray (center left) and PCF’s Program Director Jeannine Bogaard (center right).