About Us


The mission of the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is to present the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to California. Informed by the state’s rich mixture of cultures and inspired by its impressive geography, California art has long been defined by a spirit of freedom and experimentation. PMCA exhibitions and educational programs explore the ways California’s distinct perspectives and customs have shaped and defined art in all media.

History and Background

The Pasadena Museum of California Art was founded to honor the rich and eclectic artistic and cultural history of California. With a mission that encompasses both historical and contemporary art, the Museum celebrates in equal measure the plein-air painters inspired by the region’s mountains and deserts—as well as today’s artists who use the PMCA’s building as canvas. As a non-collecting institution, the Museum develops temporary exhibitions with independent curators, which allows for flexible and dynamic programming.

Museum founders Bob and Arlene Oltman are longtime Pasadena residents and art lovers who collected California art for two decades. In 1999, they were struck with the idea to create a small gallery space that would exhibit the work of the state’s artists exclusively. Founding Director Wesley Jessup decided to broaden the initial vision into a larger museum whose mission would also encompass showcasing design and architecture. The Museum’s doors opened to the public in June 2002, and today, the organization is a 501(c)(3) public non-profit foundation.

It is a rare opportunity and privilege to contribute to the planning and launch of a new museum that will set out to explore and clarify the contributions of California artists, architects, and designers in a national and international context.-Wesley Jessup, Founding Director

Board of Directors

    • Jim Crawford
    • Julie Gutierrez
    • Reed Halladay
    • Gina Knox
    • Joyce Leddy
    • Penny Lusche
    • Jeff Moran
    • Jen Olson
    • Arlene Oltman
      Founder & Secretary
    • Robert Oltman
    • Patsy Pinney
    • Peter Richman

  • Christopher Wilson


    • Jay Belloli
      Interim Executive Director
    • Erin Aitali
      Director of Exhibitions & Interim Associate Director
    • Leah Clancy
      Outreach & Digital Engagement Coordinator
    • Emmett Clements
      Lead Preparator & Special Projects Manager
    • Sergio Gomez
      Exhibition Designer
    • Aya Lehman
      Bookstore & Membership Associate
    • Sarah Mitchell
    • Director of Development
    • Natalie Moreno-Cason
    • Finance Manager
    • Brianna Smyk
      Director of Communication & Editor

The Building

In 1999, the Oltmans commissioned the Los Angeles architectural firm MDA Johnson Favaro Architecture and Urban Design to create the Museum. They broke ground in December 2000, and the Museum opened to the public in June 2002.

Google Street Art Project

In March 2015, the PMCA contributed to the Google Street Art Project, a collection of images and online exhibitions from organizations around the world. Included as part of the Project are: Layer: A Loose Horizon (2012); Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas (2011); Susan Silton: Inside Out (2007); and artist Kenny Scharf’s Kosmic Krylon Garage (2004).