What was once the personal collection of Pasadena residents Bob and Arlene Oltman is now a three-story institution with more than 10,000 square feet of gallery space. The Pasadena Museum of California Art features art, architecture, and design from all over the state and aims to explore cultural issues that are unique to California.
Teeming with curios and game-changing treasures, The Folk Tree specializes in the one-of-a-kind work of artisans and craftspeople from Mexico and cultures around the world. Dress up desks, end tables, and museum-quality cinder blocks with wooden carvings, clay figurines, pottery, and other objects d'art made with expert craftsmanship and high-level sorcery. Memorialize beloved armadillos of your childhood with an elaborately painted carving from the family of Pedro Ramirez ($68.50 and up), or make conversations with your walls seem normal by decorating them with coconut masks ($16.50). Shadow boxes ($26.50 and up) integrate three-dimensional tableaus and written text to satirical effect, and black-clay lanterns (starting at $9.50) combine an alluring sheen with tamed fire. T-shirts are also available to help keep customers as artfully ornamented as their décor.
Art Center for Kids' imaginative programs foster creativity, problem solving, and freedom of expression in young students with a number of hands-on animation, architecture, and sculpting activities. For three hours on seven consecutive Sundays, kiddies learn the intricacies of printmaking, robot creation, T-shirt design, or building toy cars to practice nascent parallel parking skills. Sessions challenge young artists to finish pieces using the same resources available to undergraduate art students while working alongside fellow students to complete more complex projects, such as a room-wide giant doodle masterpiece in the Big Draw class. Upon completion of the course, artists take home their works to hang on the fridge or in the family Louvre.
On this night only Dianne Reeves belts it out on one of the largest, most star-strut-upon stages in Los Angeles. Orchestra-level seats place you right up front (seating is anything below the balcony section), close enough to feel all of the soulful notes roar. Reeves, a musical titan, part R&B star, part storyteller, and pure jazz from voice to toe, improvises and revises the genre's tradition, singing always her present moment's gospel. She has earned so many Grammys and other shiny accolades that she donates them to children to fill up their birthday piñatas. Her eclectic career defies simplistic labels: she sung the soundtrack to period-piece heavyweight Good Night and Good Luck, closed the 2002 winter Olympic games, and broke through a seemingly impassable cultural barrier by being the first jazz singer to perform in the Arab kingdom of Qatar. With a voice that holds more soul than purgatory, it's an evening not be missed.
A non-profit venue for and supporter of avant-garde contemporary art, LACE provides an artistic outlet unfettered by the demands of commerce. In its 30-year history, the organization has opened eyeballs to the work of more than 5,000 creative minds, including artists such as Martin Kersels, Nancy Rubins, and Johanna Went. Use your friend-level membership to preview exhibitions—such as the upcoming Los Angeles Goes Live: Exploring a Social History of Performance Art in Southern California, 1970–1983, opening in October 2011—before they're open to the public, giving you a small window of time in which to observe the art before children can attempt to smear it with peanut butter. Members also receive complimentary or reduced admission to special events such as the annual winter fundraiser and the LACE 10K, a steptacular art walk that immerses culture vultures in the greatest art form of them all, physical fitness.