Our mission is to build on the power of art to transform lives and communities through creating, teaching, and presenting the arts.
Nonprofit and donor-supported, Pasadena's Armory Center for the Arts is a leader for contemporary art exhibitions and community arts education. The Armory believes that an understanding and appreciation of the arts is essential for a well-rounded human experience and a healthy community. At the core of our mission is a deep commitment to social justice through arts education.
When California issued safer at home orders in March 2020, the Armory faced a daunting question: how do you provide meaningful art experiences to your community when you can't be in the same room together, and how do you sustain that... indefinitely? Our values of collaboration, creativity, social justice, resilience, and a belief in the transformative power of art held the answer. By the end of March, we completely reinvented how we delivered programs and services. We leveraged our team's expertise and began producing a steady stream of virtual programming, including Instagram Live performances direct from the galleries, Zoom art classes for all ages, virtual poetry readings and panel discussions, and a series of social media "art challenges" and "how-to" videos designed for struggling parents who were suddenly homeschooling.
The Armory can do all these things for one simple reason: we have a strong community that supports and inspires us. You are part of this community. This is what the power of art looks like. This is your Armory.
Community Art Education
Every day, Armory Teaching Artists transform lives and communities through the power of art. Our teaching artists are the foundation of our organization. They collaborate with incarcerated teens to create murals inside juvenile detention camps. They instruct graphic design workshops at continuation high schools in Boyle Heights that empower students to express themselves with art. They help public school teachers integrate art with math to excite imaginations and inspire critical thinking. They deliver free art classes at low-income elementary schools, inner-city parks, and recreation centers—mentoring some our most vulnerable community members.
If you'd like to support the efforts of our teaching artists, learn how here.
Contemporary Art Exhibitions
Armory exhibitions inspire dialogue around visual culture and contemporary life, contribute to global discourses in contemporary art, and introduce contemporary visual art to Pasadena, Southern California, and beyond. In addition to critically acclaimed exhibitions by contemporary artists, our exhibitions team also produces a broad range of public programs, including artist residencies, forums, screenings, and performances, many of which we now bring to you online.
Cultural Equity and Inclusion (CEI)
While 2020 presented profound challenges to the Armory, the importance of our cultural equity and inclusion work is underscored by the growing social movements dismantling institutional racism.
Cultural equity and inclusion work at the Armory means listening to the needs of our constituents and then seeing how we can play a role in achieving community cohesiveness, promoting wellness, and providing channels for self expression at a time of great uncertainty and intensified emotions.
Through art and education programs, we believe our role is to enhance social-emotional wellness, provide a powerful vehicle for self-expression, unite communities, and to help offer creative career pathways, which is more important now than ever. As the pandemic has further emphasized the economic disparities in our communities, the Armory, moving forward, focuses the majority of our efforts and resources on the most vulnerable populations and will seek to do this work more efficiently through the merging of our community, schools, and exhibition programs.
We will focus on serving the most vulnerable populations facing most acute challenges and will work with them wherever they are in the places where we can make the greatest impact.
Below is the Armory's Cultural Equity and Inclusion Policy. Many arts organizations across Los Angeles County are engaging in work towards diversity and inclusion. At the Armory, we are integrating these values into our organizational DNA. This policy represents several months of work by our entire organization—from interns and artists, to board members. We understand this work represents an on-going process. This journey will take time, courage, persistence, and commitment as we build the Armory's future.
Follow the great work we do in our community every day.