The Reason Why the Pasadena Museum of California Art Closed


The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is an art museum which showcases the art and design which originates from the Golden State. It has been showcasing the breadth of California creativity for the last 16 years. However, it was closed on October 7.

Throughout the years, the PMCA has put on a large number of shows, including the current show of Grafton Tyler Brown, who is one of the few black landscape painters who used to work in the 19th century.


The Pasadena Museum of California Art was a unique institution which focused completely on California. The museum was first to open in 2002 with a purpose which looked like a mix between eccentric and avant-garde. Consequently, it grew to become one of the most successful and popular venues in the Golden State.

The museum’s board has decided to put an end to the museum. However, Susana Smith Bautista, the executive director didn’t have an explanation for why the museum is closing. She only stated that the PMCA has been struggling for years.

The director of the nearby ArtCenter College of Design’s gallery, Stephen Nowlin, said that all the shows in the Pasadena Museum of California Art were vital and robust to its very end. ‘They’ve embraced the history of California but also created a way young, emerging artists could have their first museum exposure. Now they’re doing this? It doesn’t make a lot of sense,’ he said.

Both staring an intuition and moving into middle age can be challenging, which seems to be the reason where things started deteriorating. Susana Smith Bautista, who is also a Pasadena native and veteran curator was hired in May 2017 to take the museum to the next level. Only a year later, she was informed by the museum’s board that the museum is closing.


The board directors have not shared many details regarding the closure. Nevertheless, many insiders admitted that the real reason is that the board was tired of the cost and efforts of running the place. Additionally, the founders of the PMCA lived above the museum they built. This gave some potential funders the sense that the operation was a vanity project. Hence, the museum lacks a roof deck for events, which additionally limited the revenue sources and income.

As the Pasadena Museum of California Art was a rather huge venue, the growth of the diverse and broad shows will be chartered in other museums and galleries.