The Armory Center for the Arts, housed in Pasadena’s historical 1932 National Guard Building, serves as the city’s hub for art education in its myriad forms. It originated as the education department of the Pasadena Art Museum in 1947 with classes led by artists whose teaching concepts grew out of the museum's exhibitions of modern art. This education program became known as the Pasadena Art Workshops after the museum closed in 1974. Without a permanent space for exhibitions, the workshops used professional artists as teachers and focused on the development of arts programs that presented alternative forms of learning. By working in partnerships with schools, libraries, parks, neighborhood groups, community centers, and city agencies, the museum’s programs brought the arts to new audiences – a trend that continues to this day.
Opening in its permanent space on Raymond Avenue in 1989, the center underwent a $2.4 million transformation in 2002 to create an additional 6,800 square feet of classrooms and studio spaces for drawing and painting, digital arts, and photography. Today it offers a wide range of programs and studio classes for all ages, as well as exhibitions in its galleries, year around.