At 100 Years Old, It’s Time To Party


The volunteers of the McGroarty Arts Center decided to host an open-to-the-public Centennial Celebration of their historic landmark. On Saturday, Oct. 14, dozens of local residents joined staffers in commemorating the birthday of the Tujunga institution.    

The event opened with a dedication of the Center, originally the house belonging to John Steven McGroarty, poet laureate and congressman in the 1930s.    

Local elected officials on the dais included State Senator Anthony Portantino and Monica Rodriguez, Los Angeles City councilwoman, 7th district. Center Board Member Leanne Stein was one of the first to speak. Stein originally took art classes at the Center. 

“I started for the clay and stayed for the community,” she said.

Also speaking was Alice Pero, artistic director of the Center. She is California’s 10th poet laureate, having taken on the title in 2020.  

Next on the list of speakers was State Senator Portantino. He presented a state senate resolution to Center board members.  

“You built a huge legacy here,” said Portantino. “I hope to be here for the 125th birthday, [but] probably not the 200th.” 

State Senator Anthony Portantino (holding framed resolution) and Jim Roy, district representative for State Senator Caroline Menjivar, presented a state senate resolution to Center Executive Director Kylie Ryan and Board President Frank Valdez (far right).
Photos by Ruth SOWBY

At the end of the program, audience members were encouraged to attend the Center’s annual Chili Bowl on December 2nd and 3rd.