PCF Fund Helps Armory Center Continue Free Summer Programming

Armory Center for the Arts

“Art has a way of keeping our souls full,” says Leslie Ito, Executive Director of the Armory Center for the Arts, one of the five art organizations that recently received a Rowe & Gayle Giesen Trust grant, a Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) fund that supports visual arts experiences for children and youth.

During a typical summer, the Armory coordinates with local partners to offer free community art programs complete with free art supplies. This summer, despite the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions, the Armory has teamed up with select partners (Pasadena Public Library, Adelante Youth Alliance, Stars Tutoring Group and more) to continue inspiring young people in the world of art.

Before the programs hit the screens, however, Armory staffers took careful steps to adapt existing programming into virtual experiences. Youth focus groups helped staff and instructors translated existing material/curriculum into an online experience.

So far, more than 200 teens and middle schoolers have explored a variety of artistic mediums and topics including: water coloring, caricature design, typography and more. Responding to teen feedback, upcoming programming could involve Chicano art, zines creation, clay sculpting, nature printing and drawing.

Programs for teen groups rolled out in July. In August, offerings will expand to include experiences for middle schoolers and younger children.

The Rowe & Gayle Giesen Trust

As one of the PCF’s Funds for Pasadena, the Giesen Trust supports local art organizations that offer programming directed to children and youth.

In 2020, the trust dispersed $43,000; in addition to the Armory, other grantees included: ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena Educational Foundation, Side Street Projects, and the Wisdom Arts Laboratory. Giesen Grants provided unrestricted support for these organizations to have the flexibility to adapt programming during the pandemic.

The fund is also a stellar example of the long-lasting power of endowments.

The Giesen Trust came to PCF in 2013 with $1 million and has grown today to $1.5 million. Since its inception, the fund has dispersed $1.8 million – a number that will keep on growing and influencing countless generations of teens and youth.

To learn more about creating an endowment, visit PCF’s endowment page.