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Pasadena Commission to Review New Guidelines for Annual Arts Grants

Published on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 11:56 am

The Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission is set to consider new guidelines for this year’s Annual Grants Program at their meeting on Thursday.

The commission will consider staff recommendations to changes to the program guidelines for fiscal year 2020-2021, according to city officials and the meeting agenda.

“The recommendation will now require organizational applicants as an eligibility requirement to submit either a [Cultural Equity and Inclusion] Statement, Policy or Plan, which documents their self-assessment of their current efforts,” according to  Pasadena Arts and Cultural Affairs Division Manager Rochelle Branch.

“This measure will primarily impact small budget organizations, which will receive support to develop their statements through technical assistance workshops provided each year by the Cultural Affairs Division,” she said. “This is an important step in the city’s progression to align with the L.A. County CEII initiative, under which many Pasadena organizations are either already compliant or are eligible to be so.”

The finalized guidelines, as well as applications, were expected to be made available in early February, Branch said. The deadline for applying was expected to come in May.

The budget for the Annual Grant Program will be determined along with the city budget in June, she said.

During the current fiscal year, the program distributed more than $189,000 to 30 local arts and culture programs, as well as individual artists, according to city records. The grants ranged in size from $2,250 to $9,000. A list of recipients is available online at

Among those awarded grants was Los Angeles-based multimedia artist, curator and educator Bia Gayotto.

“I am extremely grateful to have had the support of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Department since 2002 when I applied for my first grant. Since then, I’ve received a total of seven individual artist grants, and was awarded a grant each time that I applied,” she said.

“The Pasadena [Arts and] Cultural Affairs Department had a positive impact on my career, allowing me to produce and exhibit several bodies of work. As a result, I have grown as an artist and was able to learn and interact with the community to develop my projects,” according to Gayotto. “I am very thankful for this opportunity that the city provides to local artists, and for all the support that I received from Rochelle Branch, cultural affairs division manager, and Jayme Filippini, grants coordinator.”

Not all cities in the region offer such grants, she said. 

“That is why the Pasadena individual artist grant is so important to the local community, helping many artists to keep working and believing in themselves,” Gayotto said.

Artist Alan Nakagawa of Los Angeles said the grant allowed him to continue working as an artist in residence at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple

“Receiving the grant was a game-changer for me,” he said. “We wanted to continue my residency at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple, but had no resources.”

“I had built a great relationship with the community and was so honored that they wanted me to continue,” he said. We heard about the Individual Artist Grant opportunity, so we applied.

“Although I’ve been privileged to be the artist-in-residence at a number of places, the longest any contract has been for in a little over a year. The Individual Artist Grant enabled me to be at the Temple for what will be over two years. This is the first time I’ve been able to do that,” Nakagawa said.

“I’d like to thank everyone for supporting the arts,” he added.

In addition to the Annual Grants Program, the city also launched a one-time COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Grant Program last year, distributing just under $550,000 to local arts organizations.

More information on the Annual Grants Program is available online at

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