An Artistic Getaway

McGroarty Arts Center offers something for everyone

Saturday, February 15, 2014 | 4:17 pm

Just a little that way on the 210, in a land past JPL, and just east of wherever you usually go, sits a unique and unusual center where the arts flourish. The McGroarty Arts Center, in nearby Tujunga—the former home of mining executive/journalist and artist John Steven McGoarty, and his wife Ida—is, according to their website, “a local arts ecosystem that supports a breadth of accessible arts and culture experiences for every individual and family in the Foothill communities.”

The Center provides a host of arts and performance experiences in an array of areas from drawing to music to acting, with affordable or free multi-disciplinary arts classes for at-risk youth, children, and families, as well as performances, exhibitions, and events. The Center is also a display venue for artists to present their works.

McGroarty is also currently in the middle of an expansion program designed to expand not only its services, but its reach in the community, and to “become an art park and cultural destination for the local community.”

Over the next three years, McGroarty Arts Center will expand services, improve facilities, and initiate new outreach campaigns to the community, while continuing to develop its “nurturing atmosphere, maintaining the one-on-one attention that beginning, intermediate, and advanced students have come to expect from instructors and staff.”

“This is my place to get away, a place where I find myself,” says Aviva Heston, volunteer and student at McGroarty. As Heston told Pasadena Now, “I used to go to Barnsdall Art Park, but it closed for a few years for renovation. It was then that I visited McGroarty, and I never went back to Barnsdall. It’s a very special place.”

The multi-level building, built in 1923, with original wood furnishings and cabinetry, archways and tile floors, was dedicated as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in February of 1970. An upstairs library features an exhibit honoring McGroarty and his works, with artifacts of his career and home life on display.

McGroarty himself was an executive with Anaconda Copper Mining Company at the turn of the 20th century. He moved to Los Angeles in 1901, and became an editor at the LA Times. McGroarty also wrote California: Its History and Romance in 1911 and Mission Memories in 1929.

MacGroarty Arts Center will welcome the spring 2014 season with its “Arts at Play: Exploring Abstraction” festival March 10-23, featuring works in all mediums celebrating modern, contemporary, and abstract arts. The event will include original theatre pieces, dance, film, music, an exhibit of abstract art, as well as an arts fair and arts workshops. Workshops include mask, tile and drum making, an abstract painting workshop, and an abstract art exhibit, as well as rock music performances, acting workshops and a poetry recital.

As part of the festival, McGroarty will also host a one-day arts fair with works in all mediums available all day from local artists.

McGroarty Arts Center is at 7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga. (818) 352-5285. Online visit


blog comments powered by Disqus