Palos Verdes Centennial: A Photographic History

July 22 – August 19, 2023

Talk by Palos Verdes history authority, Dana Graham, Saturday, August 19, 1pm

Read “As La Venta Inn Toasts 100 Years, We Celebrate a Glamorous Past with an Eye on a Promising Future,” by Gail Phinney in Southbay magazine HERE

Palos Verdes Centennial: A Photographic History tells the story of our community from its agricultural roots as the Rancho de los Palos Verdes with the Phillips family ranchers who maintained it and the Japanese families who later farmed it, to the 1913 purchase of the 16,000-acre parcel by New York banker Frank A. Vanderlip, Sr. and his group of investors who transformed it.

Beginning with the 1923 real estate rally and the construction of La Venta Inn, the architects of the Palos Verdes Project imagined an idyllic Mediterranean-style coastal community with the help of master planning by the Olmsted Brothers. That tradition of planning and design excellence continued during the Peninsula’s post-war growth. Along with the demand for housing came the need for amenities such as schools, libraries, and cultural centers. The resulting building boom was fertile ground for innovative designers of the day, including Richard Neutra and A. Quincy Jones, whose mid-century modern architecture left its imprint on the fabric of the community.

Throughout this long history, the Palos Verdes Art Center has been a cultural touchstone to generations of residents on the Peninsula. Founded as The Palos Verdes Community Arts Association in 1931, it was first housed in the Myron Hunt designed Malaga Cove Library and Art Gallery where students from nearby Malaga Cove School would visit. There it showcased art of the moment to a geographically isolated and sparsely populated community without interruption, even during the difficult WWII years.

When the Peninsula grew in the 1960s and ‘70s, the Association expanded to meet its needs. Started in 1963, Art for Fun(d)s Sake became a much anticipated annual event combining art, entertainment and food. It reached its heyday in the ’70s when it was held at the 32-acre Northrop Research Park. It was moved to Marineland in the mid-70s and funds from the event paid for the construction of the 1974 Lowell Lusk building where the center resides today.

As we look back on the past and forward to the future, Palos Verdes Art Center / Beverly G. Alpay Center for Arts Education remains dedicated to its mission of educating, enriching and building community through equal and inclusive access to the visual arts. We thank our partners, Palos Verdes Library District and Palos Verdes Historical Society, for their assistance.