L.A.’s Main Museum and ArtCenter College Launch Seven-Month ‘Exploratory Partnership’

View of Beta Main in downtown Los Angeles.


The Main Museum in downtown Los Angeles and the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, an L.A. suburb, will begin a partnership in June that will last until the end of December. In a release, the institutions called the partnership “exploratory,” with the Main Museum potentially becoming a part of the ArtCenter.

The partnership is intended to have the college’s students and faculty engage with the downtown L.A. arts community. The college will provide operational support, and the museum will lease its current space to ArtCenter for $1 per year in exchange. (The ArtCenter would retain its two main campuses in Pasadena.)

The Main’s programming, which places an emphasis on contemporary performance art and social practice works, will remain the same, though the partnership would also have the Main add design—a key component of the ArtCenter’s art curriculum—to its displays and exhibitions. The museum would also maintain its residency program.

“Movements aren’t made by individuals,” Main Museum director Allison Agsten said in a statement. “They are made by the collective, and to that end, the more of us that can work together, the better. The Main’s work is very much rooted in process—such as building the museum over time—so it seems only right to create a partnership with ArtCenter in a way that is true to our mode of organizing.”

The ArtCenter College of Design was founded in 1930 in Pasadena, a suburb northeast of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, and offers programs in visual arts and a range of applied arts and design programs, including advertising and illustration.

The Main Museum, which does not have a permanent collection, was founded in 2016 by real estate developers Tom Gilmore and Jerri Perrone. It opened that fall as “Beta Main” with an exhibition of Suzanne Lacy and Andrea Bowers. (The museum is still partly under construction.) The Main’s Beta location is located on the outskirts of the L.A.’s historic downtown area.

“The prospect of working with a museum in Downtown Los Angeles offers the chance to create rich, intercultural, and trans-disciplinary dialogue with a wider community of Angelenos as well as the many visitors to the central L.A. destination,” ArtCenter provost Karen Hofmann said in a statement. “We know this collaboration will produce exceptional contemporary art and design programming for Los Angeles.”

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