The Important, Proud, Storied Tradition of the Pasadena Art Alliance Continues, with Last Weekend’s Auction

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5:53 am | May 8, 2018


[Updated] The Pasadena Art Alliance continued its storied tradition of supporting the contemporary visual arts with its biennial art auction fundraiser last Saturday at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, with about 400 in attendance.

The group comments on its website that “Los Angeles is now recognized as an international leader in contemporary art. We think our organization helped make that possible.”

In fact, the Pasadena Art Alliance supporters comprise what many say is the largest independent contemporary visual arts support group in the nation. Since 1955 the group’s members have passionately supported contemporary art and artists and provided financial support, through grants, of over $6 million.

In March, the Alliance gave $300,000 to 31 southland arts organizations. It gave out about the same amount last year.

Although the exact amount raised from the auction is not made public, Public Relations Chair Louise Brinsley said that 88 works were sold and that “we were very pleased with the combined Patron donations and auction proceeds that will support our Grants Program and the Impact Award in the next year.”

All money raised during Saturday’s art auction goes directly towards the PAA Grants Program and its Impact Award, which fund projects for the arts and art education that make a difference in the community.

“We give to institutions of varying degrees of size,” said Bea Trujillo, Pasadena Art Alliance President.

Among the organizations that have received grants from the Pasadena Art Alliance include the Armory Center for the Arts, ArtCenter College of Design, Fulcrum Arts, the Japanese American National Museum, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, NewTown Arts, the Pasadena Museum of California Art and Side Street Projects.

Patty Zuber, an Alliance member, said the Pasadena women who started the Alliance back in the 1950s were so interested in contemporary art that many of them are still active and still doing what they can to help achieve the group’s mission.

Zuber in particular cites the early Art Alliance’s support of the Pasadena Art Museum, the predecessor to the Norton Simon Museum

“Some of the stories from those early days are pretty legendary. They were tasked with really any job that they needed have done at the Pasadena Art Museum, like cleaning bathrooms or filing papers or doing things even a higher-end like exhibiting the art or cataloging the arts,” Zuber said. “Sometimes, the art line ladies would be tasked with entertaining the artist prior to the party and prior to the event, so there are a couple of good stories about Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp. Those are the kinds of things that I think makes the genesis of the organization.”

Aside from the biennial Art Auction, Pasadena Art Alliance also holds SNAP, primarily a portrait photography benefit that started as a partnership with the Art Center College of Design in 2003, and Treasure Sale, held roughly every four years, where Alliance members work together to collect donations of antiques, furniture, china, glassware, silver and appliances, and then appraise, price, and display them for sale. The Alliance said the next Treasure Sale will be in 2019.