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Before Annual “Gold Crown Awards,” Pasadena Arts Council Executive Director Assesses the State of the Arts

Published on Monday, September 19, 2016 | 4:41 am
Robert Crouch, the Executive Director of the Pasadena Arts Council

As he prepared for tonight’s Gold Crown Awards ceremony to fete the achievements of Pasadena’s top artists and philanthropists, we talked to Robert Crouch, the Executive Director of the Pasadena Arts Council, who assessed the state of the arts community in the city.

Crouch had been a curator and arts administrator in the greater Los Angeles area for many years when he took over the Pasadena Arts Council last July from a former director who had been there for 13 years. Though his tenure so far has lasted only a year and two months, Crouch seems impressed with Pasadena’s mixture of attributes that other cities don’t have.

“I’ve always understood Pasadena to be a city with extraordinary resources and a real culture of philanthropy and civic pride, that is really unique to the greater Los Angeles area. I don’t see that sense of pride elsewhere outside of Pasadena, Pasadena is really special in that way,” said Crouch.

Crouch also noted that during his many years with MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles), a significant amount of support for the museum in Los Angeles came from philanthropist in Pasadena, which he said as far as he can tell is still going strong.

Crouch went on to say that Pasadena’s art scene is still strong despite the challenges associated with running a nonprofit arts organization.

“I’m not seeing any organizations struggle,” Crouch said. “We coordinate quarterly meetings of different arts leaders in the area, and everyone is doing pretty well. Overall, the kind of fiscal health and the kind of creative health I’m seeing is quite strong in Pasadena.”

According to Crouch, the institutions of art in Pasadena have been growing over the years and he no longer sees artists struggling like they were during the recent recession.

“I don’t see people struggling like they were five years ago during the recession,” Crouch said. “A lot of these institutions are growing and really holding strong.”

In addition to the Gold Crown Award — which will be awarded to Bill and Brenda Galloway and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich — the Arts Council will hand out the AxS Award (pronounced ‘axis’) to the Institute for Figuring for its dedication to the ambiance of science and mathematics, according to a statement released by the media.

“In 2002, we inaugurated the AxS award, which is for artists and other leaders who were doing interesting work at the intersection of art and science,” Crouch said. “Last year, we honored the studio at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”

The awards ceremonies will take place at Descanso Gardens at the Rose Pavilion on September 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $150 and may be purchased by contacting the Arts Council at (626) 793-8171 or


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