About Us

Mission

The mission of the Pasadena Museum of California Art is to present the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to California.

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