Creative Aging Directory - McGroarty Arts Center

Program Title
McGroarty Arts Center Arts Classes for Adults
Program Summary

McGroarty Arts Center of Los Angeles is a community arts program based in a beautiful 1920s stone building. Classes are held on a weekly basis, with many sessions available in the mornings and evenings and on weekends to accommodate diverse scheduling needs. Each class typically has one three-hour session each week and runs for an eight-week session, with four sessions each year. McGroarty Arts Center ensures that all classes are provided at affordable rates and has a robust financial aid program offering reduced tuition and free classes to moderate- and low-income older adults. Highly qualified arts instructors design personalized curriculums around the goals of each student, and classes are kept small to encourage a greater sense of community among participants. The participants are also given opportunities to exhibit their work. There are over 75 visual and performing arts classes designed for specific ages and skill levels. The center serves approximately 1,100 older adults per year. 

Program Background and History

McGroarty Arts Center was founded in 1953 in the historic home of John Steven McGroarty. Mr. McGroarty wrote for the Los Angeles Times for more than 40 years, authoring the weekly column, “Seen from the Green Verdugo Hills,” which he continued to write during his two terms in the House of Representatives (1935-1939). He also wrote several poems and plays, most notably The Mission Play, a three-hour pageant portraying the history of the California missions. In 1933, Mr. McGroarty was appointed the first-ever Poet Laureate of California, a position he held until he died in 1944 at the age of 82.

After Mr. McGroarty’s death, his niece inherited the home and surrounding grounds, which she sold to the City of Los Angeles in 1953. The house was declared a historic-cultural monument in 1970. In 1995, McGroarty Arts Center was privatized and has since been operated by a non-profit organization in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

McGroarty Arts Center now serves 7,000 people each year. It provides access to the arts through in-depth arts instruction and experiences. Affordable or free multidisciplinary arts instruction is offered to at-risk youth, children, and families, as are performances, exhibitions, and events that engage the broader public. The center serves as a venue for artists to present their work, while preserving the legacy of John Steven  McGroarty and his historic home. McGroarty Arts Center partners with the California Community Foundation to sustain its arts programs.

Program-Specific Research and Key Findings
Program-Specific Assessment and Evaluation

Programs are evaluated at the end of each session through the use of surveys distributed to every student and interviews with a sample of students and staff.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Hire instructors whose teaching philosophy matches that of your organization. Allow participants to take on leadership roles in your programs, and you will build an amazing community of creative people.

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State (Main)
Phone-Phone (Main)
Facebook Link
Twitter Link
Arts Discipline
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus
Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus Other
Interdisciplinary Connections
Creative engagement
Target Audience
Active Adults, Intergenerational
Adaptive Program Design
Adaptive Program Design Other
Program Setting
Arts Organization
Program Service Area / Geography
Program Service Area / Geography Other

Greater Los Angeles