Gallery 30 South is Pasadena's "Newest Cultural Institution"

Published : Thursday, September 14, 2017 | 5:50 AM

Gallery 30 South isn’t your typical art gallery and was never intended to be, thanks to the gallery’s owner and art world veteran, Matt Kennedy, who has been quietly attracting artistic heavyweights in the space he calls the city’s newest cultural institution.

The gallery which sits just south of Colorado Boulevard on Wilson Avenue opened this past February and aims to bring unique contemporary art on both the international and local level from artists across all creative landscapes, including painting, photography, sculpture, film, and more.

“It’s good to be able to have a space that brings the contemporary world into our neighborhood,” said Gallery 30 South co-owner and director Matt Kennedy.

The idea to open an independent gallery in Pasadena stemmed from an early morning coffee Kennedy and his wife shared on their apartment balcony which overlooks the Mentor Ave. location.

Kennedy, who has been the director of La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles since 2009, remembers he noticed that the space was up for lease and decided to rent it as a creative space for his wife in which she could craft her custom jewelry.

Just a few months after inspiration struck, the idea of curating neighborhood art exhibits that were not fit for La Luz de Jesus gallery was born.

“I felt that it was important to be able to feature the type of work that doesn’t necessarily click with the audience over here,” explained Kennedy. “It’s a small space which makes it very intimate and to be able to provide a small location where as a viewer you are automatically part of the performance or event it changes your perspective,” Kennedy added.

Since the grand opening in February, Gallery 30 South hosts regular exhibitions that are scheduled to continue well on through the remainder of the year. Kennedy plans to have a new exhibit opening with a reception usually on the second Sunday of each month.

The exhibits feature a variety of mediums which include hand crafted jewelry, paintings, mixed media and photography, video installations, performance art and more.

Recent exhibitions included Caesar Alzate Jr. & Betsy Enzensberger’s resin sculpture installation, Objectivism, paintings from rock-n-roll royalty Lindsey Way and Frances Bean Cobain in Ghosts For Sale, and Tom Neely: Birds of Death which features a graphic novel on walls.

Kennedy aims to showcase work available for sale ranging from affordable price points starting at $10 to more expensive pieces suited for fine-art collectors as well.

“Bringing an important contemporary has been to the art world and Pasadena was important to me. We are huge supporters of that scene in Pasadena and I think that it’s good to be able to have a space that brings the contemporary world into our neighborhood,” said Kennedy.

While established artists from all over the globe are in the pipeline for hosting exhibits at Gallery 30 South, Kennedy wants to create a hub for local up-and-coming artists to showcase their work.

With help from Kennedy’s gallery assistant, they have worked exclusively with the Young Blood Art Collective to connect with Art Center College of Design graduates to use the space for pop-up installations.

“It’s just been a really great kind of foothold to bring a more contemporary flavor since most of the people out of Art Center have a really high level of technicality involved–really stylized,” explained Kennedy.

Gallery 30 South is an ongoing experiment that is founded on bringing a variety of artistic options to the Pasadena community.

“We’re talking about having culinary exhibitions and culinary events and video events and performances,” said Kennedy.

Gallery 30 South is located at 30 S Wilson Ave and is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and is closed on Mondays.

To learn more about Gallery 30 South and upcoming events, visit

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