The school of Visual, Media and Performing Arts (VMPA) continues to face funding issues, although external and internal support bring a hopeful outlook to the situation.
“There are always financial issues with the arts and one of the things that has been a challenge for us, in good times and in not so good times, is to maintain adequate programmatic funding,” said Joseph Futtner, associate dean of VMPA. “One of the things that we’ve…adopted as a strategy to address that is seeking external as well as internal grant support for our programs.”
The VMPA department covers a broad spectrum of fields ranging from dance, music, theater and communications in addition to studio arts and design.
The Pasadena Art Alliance (PAA) is a top supporter of the VMPA department, according to Futtner.
“For years we have been supported by the Pasadena Art Alliance. They are probably our major supporters in funding, in terms of gallery space and the artist in residence program,” he said. “We depend a great deal on that partnering with the PAA.”
Funding support for scholarships and the Center for the Arts is provided by the PCC Foundation as well.
“The PCC Foundation has numerous arts scholarships that are given away each year to deserving students in the Visual, Media and Performing Arts,” wrote Bobbi Abram, Executive Director of the PCC Foundation by email. “Westerbeck and Osher scholarships are two of the largest scholarships provided to performing, visual and media arts students. These funds have a combined endowment of over $600,000; providing over $24,000 in scholarships annually.”
Additionally, the PCC Foundation raised $3.5 million to provide equipment and programs for the Center for the Arts, according to Abram.
The VMPA department is “very fortunate” to receive funding from the Student Services Fund and smaller art organizations “which provide everything ranging from simple moral support to contributions that we use to apply towards scholarships for our students and other types of benefits,” said Futtner.
Events like the Noon-Time Artists’ Talks are made possible through funding and having spaces for such events to take place.
The closure of the Gallery on the Quad, which is now the Conference Center, “created havoc” according to Professor Brian Tucker. The loss of the Gallery stemmed from previous administration decisions, however.
“The administration’s decisions may have been influenced by larger political trends that support STEM and basic skills programs at the expense of the arts and humanities,” said Tucker. “We are happy, however, that an additional art gallery space is being installed in the V building to restore the expanded gallery program that was one of the cornerstones of the Center for the Arts fundraising campaign.”
Futtner hopes that by turning to the community for assistance, the VMPA department can return the favor to the San Gabriel Valley through art shows and gallery exhibits.
“We’re reaching out to the community for support,” he said. “We’re reaching out to be able to provide them with good programming and I think we are becoming increasingly successful.”