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Showcase House for the Arts First Asian-American President Says the Organization is “More Than Just a Pretty House”

Published on Thursday, November 3, 2022 | 5:54 am
Vikki Sung

The first Asian-American to serve as President of the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) has been named to another term for 2022-2023. Vikki Sung served before in 2019-2020.

“I’m pleased to be asked to come back to serve again this year. Hopefully everything will run as planned,” said Sung, who pointed out that her first year as president was marked with challenges brought about by the pandemic. 

Many of Sung’s plans during her first term did not pan out because of restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

The organization’s signature annual event is the Pasadena Showcase House of Design, a tour of the complete makeover of an exquisite local property by dozens of interior and exterior designers. That tour funds the organization’s true raison dêtre: to support music and musical experiences.

“We had scheduled performances by many of the organizations we support,” said Sung. “This is something that we want to continue to do at Showcase.” 

As PHSA president, Sung said in an interview with Pasadena Now she wants to “promote that music is a big part of why we do what we do.”

“I want the general public to understand that the Showcase House exists for a reason,” Sung said, who further added that PSHA is “more than just a pretty house.” 

PSHA is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization. It supports a diversity of programs including musical theater, orchestra, jazz ensembles, marching bands and choral groups by awarding grants. 

It nurtures the study and appreciation of music among young people with its three annual music programs: the Music Mobile, which has introduced orchestral instruments to more than 125,000 third grade students; the Instrumental Competition, which has awarded more than $650,000 in monetary prizes for exceptionally talented musicians; and the Youth Concert, which has brought nearly 250,000 fourth graders to Walt Disney Concert Hall for exuberant performances presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil).

“We support and provide music programs and instruments for public schools. And this is all through our gifts and grants program where they submit a request for funding,” explained Sung.

“We have funded after school music programs in the Pasadena Public Schools music therapy that’s used for elders as well as for pediatric hospital patients. So we have a hand in a huge variety of organizations that use music in changing lives, basically,” she added. 

With over 200 members, the organization primarily raises funds through the Pasadena Showcase House of Design—one of the oldest, largest, and most successful home and garden tours in the country. It typical is open for tours from mid-April to mid-May.

Since its founding, Sung noted that the organization has changed some of its policies to adapt to changing times and to appeal to the younger generations. Before, the organization prohibited taking pictures at the house but now, it is allowed. 

“We used to forbid photography in the house,” said Sung. “But now we say, ‘get out your phones, take pictures, post on social media’ because what better way to promote us than having visitors who’ve already seen the house.” 

“We benefit from that and we’re happy that people want to talk about us,” she added.

Through its Gifts & Grants program, Pasadena Showcase has contributed over $24 million to nonprofit organizations in support of music education, scholarships, concerts, and music therapy, while continuing to support the LA Phil and its learning programs for which the organization was first founded. 

For more information on how to support the organization, visit:

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