All Grown Up: Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts Turns 30

Birthday party Saturday with ‘Off The Wall’ Anniversary Art Auction and Gala

Published: Friday, May 31, 2019 | 5:09 AM

Thirty years and Armory Center for the Arts has come full circle. On Saturday, works from well-known and well-regarded artists will be presented at The Off The Wall Anniversary Art Auction and Gala, a fundraiser that supports the Armory Center’s relationship with the community.


“We don’t encourage guests to actually remove things off the wall,” said Armory Center Director of Communications Jon Lapointe. Which is what was done when the Armory first started holding the Gala 18 years ago.


But that temptation is there, as on hand there will be more than 60 objets d’art created by established artists including the late Herb Ritts, Ed Ruscha, Susan Rankaitis and others. (Bidding on a variety of the works is open already at )


But it is not the renowned names of the art world that bring a sense of pride to the Armory. Instead, a sense of real accomplishment stems from watching youngsters go from young children on a school bus arriving for ceramics class, and grow into successful artists.


The Armory operates a range of art programs and enables people of all walks of life to come in and develop their creative side.


“We like to think that we are mentoring the next generation of artists,” Lapointe said. “We have some very well known artists. But we also have a lot of emerging artists.”


“One of the great stories is there’s a piece that we have by a young artist named Patrick Martinez,” Lapointe said. “Mr. Martinez is our first former Armory student to donate a piece of work to our biannual art auction, which is a wonderful little milestone. He was a little kid here in our studio and we were one of his very first exposure to the fine arts and the contemporary art world. And he has gone on to graduate from Art Center in 2005 and he has an international exhibition record already. He’s an emerging talent.”


As Gay Pride celebrations in early June approach, the Armory also advocates for those who may not always be able to put into words their emotions. This year’s special musical guests are Queertet, a Los Angeles’ LGBTQ string ensemble, to perform classical compositions with a contemporary twist.


The Armory too has had its challenges over the years, but Lapointe said the organization is committed to its vision of supporting artists and nourishing art in children.


“Obviously every organization on the planet, especially nonprofits, are beholden to the state of the economy and funding comes and goes,” Lapointe said. “But we have been very fortunate and blessed to have such a strong network of individual and foundation supporters that believe in our mission and recognize the good work that we do.


Armory Director of Development Andrew Gould said the legacy of 30 years of good community participation makes his fundraising efforts easier.


The Armory has a range of marketing partners from among retailers, restaurants and media partners. And tying in with an online auction company, enables bidding for works online.


“It’s an exciting year for us because it’s our 30th anniversary,” said Andrew Gould. “It’s the 30th anniversary in this building here Raymond Avenue. It’s the 30th anniversary of all the great community arts programs that we provide. It’s a good opportunity for people to reconnect with the Armory.”

“Community outreach is central to the Armory,” Gould said. “We have adventurous, contemporary art exhibition programs. So we do have really incredible exhibitions here and showcase work by you know, artists who are doing really interesting, adventurous work, but we also have so much incredible community programming and arts education programming. I think we can really authentically connect through different service areas.”

Lapointe said it’s a strong team committed to bringing the arts to everyone that comprises the supportive foundation for the Armory.


“Everyone on the staff and others team and on the board  is in it for the mission,” he said. “It’s all degrees of good. Some days are extremely good and some days are regular good. But we get up every morning and put our eyes on the mission.”


To see the works of art up for bid, go online:

Tickets are still available for Off the Wall. The event will be held on Saturday, June 1 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The cost is $150 per ticket.

For more information call (626) 792-5101 or click here: