Easy Reader Staff

PV Arts Center Celebrates 80 Years

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Palos Verdes Arts Center

From left to right, Allen Lay, board chair, Harlyn Norris, honorary chairwoman, Don Knabe, county board of supervisors, Loren DeRoy and Bob Yassin, executive director, celebrate the PV Arts Center’s 80th anniversary in February.

The Palos Verdes Arts Center marked its 80th anniversary in February, dating itself in a community that has long supported an education in the arts.

The non-profit group has reached well over one million students in 32 years through Art at Your Fingertips, which brings creative projects to grade school classrooms. It also offers art classes for children and adults ages three to 93.

“It’s really an extraordinary program,” said Bob Yassin, PVAC executive director. “It works because of tremendous parent involvement. Rancho Palos Verdes is kind of unique in that we have so many committed parents, which is why it’s lasted so long.”

As school district budgets continue to erode arts programs, the need for non-profits like the PV Arts Center becomes even greater, said Yassin, who’s an art historian and worked in arts administration his entire career.

To celebrate its anniversary, the Arts Center announced a $25,000 gift from the office of Don Knabe, LA County supervisor, which put the group close to reaching its $5 million recent fundraising goal.

It also accepted a $2 million donation from Dr. Allen Alpy in memory of his wife Beverly to go toward the renovation of the non-profit’s building.

The Arts Center will remain at a temporary space at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall until workers finish remodeling the group’s existing building, expected to finish in October.

Crews had to push back the completion date three months because of unforeseen requirements to bring the building up to proper fire and safety codes, Yassin said. For 40 years, the group occupied the same building, which drastically needed repairs, he said.

“We hope to have a state of the art facility to make things we do easier and better,” Yassin said.

Some of the additions include a glass-blowing studio and a video production lab. Computers will replace dark rooms and projectors in the photo lab. And the patio and plaza will expand.

Allen Lay, who chairs the Arts Center’s board, said his involvement with the group began 25 years ago because he believed in arts education for young people.

“It provides all those basic fundamental skills children need,” Lay said. “It also exposes them to a whole new world –

that’s not normal in today’s modern society. Hopefully it gives them some ideas about how to express themselves outside the boxes we create through the education process. And in later years it hopefully can provide a foundation for some real enjoyment.” ER



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