Professor Emeritus Suzanne Bravender, former Divison Dean Linda Malm, and State Senator Jack Scott, a former president of Pasadena City Collete, at the gallery reception commemorating 20 years of the Artist-in-Residence program, January 12, 2006.
SUZANNE BRAVENDER, Professor Emeritus
My education at the Otis Art Institute was outstanding, although there was something missing — the opportunity to work with world-class artists. When I went into teaching, I envisioned that through careful planning I could develop a program where my students could study with the best of the best artists. Over the years, my dream became an obsession — a passion.
The idea for an Artist-in-Residence program at PCC had been percolating in my mind for several years before I was able to conceptualize it in fairly final form. I discussed my idea as early as 1984 with then president Dr. John Casey, my art department chair David Schnabel, and the head of the PCC Foundation, Dr. Henry Kirk.
Finally, in 1985 I formalized the idea for the Artist-in-Residence program. I got approval from David Schnabel and President Casey. Moreover, I solicited critical funding from a local foundation that continued to support our program for 15 years. With the encouragement of new art department chair Linda Malm, and presidents Jack Scott and Jim Kossler, my dream was more than amply fulfilled, and now it is a very happy and satisfying memory.
All these administrators readily agreed to assist with the program and indicated that we would work together on funding the project. Both the college and the Foundation made substantial financial commitments. Although the program was in place by 1985, it was 18 months of dedicated work to bring the first artist to the campus. (World-class artists require at least a year's advance notice for them to be able to break out a week in their busy schedule for a spring visit. Some took three years to book.)
It was clear from the beginning that outside funding would be based on an ongoing evaluation of the quality and breadth of the program. Because my stated goal was to "bring the world's great names in art to the PCC campus to interact with our students in a studio setting, thus enriching their lives," I was able to attract sizeable donations to the program from the J. W. and Ida M. Jameson Foundation which supported the program for 15 years. By 2001, the 15th year I participated in the program, the Jameson Foundation had given the Artist-In-Residence program $125,000.
For 13 years, I chaired a diverse committee widely representative of the various disciplines in the Visual Arts Division. Outstanding artists were indeed brought to campus. During this time, I personally shepherded all aspects of the program, which included picking up the artists at the airport, getting them comfortably settled in the hotel, driving them to PCC every day, and generally giving them full-time attention for the week.
After my retirement, I assisted the chairs for the 14th and 15th years of the program. Art historian Sandra Haynes chaired the 14th Artist-in-Residence program in 2000, and photography instructors Linda Hoover and Mike Mims chaired the 15th year of the residency in 2001.