History & Mission
MAFA History: Our group came into existence in the 1950’s when Ms. Mildred Lapson, a longtime Monrovian and renowned artist, produced art exhibits and guest art lectures in the 1950's and organized the first Monrovia art festival in 1964. Her vision was to enrich our lives by bringing fine arts to the community. This led to an effort by other community leaders including Harvey Brubaker and Katherine and Ed Ainsworth resulting in the incorporation of the Monrovia Arts Festival Association in 1965. This vision has continued through the efforts of many since that humble beginning. In 2012 the name of the organization was changed to Monrovia Association of Fine Arts to better brand the organization as a fine arts group
Today’s MAFA is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization whose key goals are to promote local artists and provide mentoring that encourages our young people to experience art. MAFA has had a renaissance in the last 10 years as more artists have come to the area, which has become an artist location. Membership is open to artists and non-artists alike. We need non-artists with organizational skills to help us continue our growth.
- MAFA's flagship Art in the Park Show in Library Park (First Saturday in October) has expanded to include a Chalkfest.
- In partnership with the City of Monrovia, MAFA has established the Artist Alley Gallery in the Monrovia Community Center, where local artists' work is displayed for sale for three months at a time. The Monrovia Historical Museum also hosts a rotating gallery of MAFA artists' work, as well as local businesses such as Grey & Cash Restaurant in Old Town.
- MAFA fosters professional development for students at Monrovia High School and California School for the Arts--San Gabriel Valley.
- MAFA artists bring art to hundreds of underprivileged children with kids art workshops at the Foothill Unity Center's "Back to School" event and Thanksgiving and December Distribution each year.
- MAFA has established and delivered the MAFA Professional Development for Artist Series of workshops on a variety of topics from highlihgting various mediums and skills to organizing and marketing an art business and handling taxes.
- We provide art classes for students at Clifton Middle School and Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School, funded by a grant from the Ruth & Joseph C. Reed Foundation for Art.
- MAFA provides opportunities for member artists by liaising with the City’s Art in Public Places Committee.
- In 2020 during the pandemic, we brought art to the community by organizing and delivering two at-home virtual chalk festivals for families, students, kids and professional artists.
- In the past, our members developed an after school art curriculum for use by the MUSD Village After School Program.
- Since 2004, MAFA has contributed more than $50,000 for art education for the students of Monrovia.
- MAFA has earned grant funding from the Ruth & Joseph C. Reed Foundation for the Arts, Tournament of Roses Foundation and 3M Unitek Corporation.
- The Santa Family YMCA in partnership with other community groups provided Friday Teen Nights in Library Park during the summer. MAFA artist instructors led the art workshops that were popular with the teens and supported with grant funding from the Tournament of Roses Foundation.
MAFA 2020 Activities Report
MAFA 2020 Activities Presentation
Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) Racial Equity and Inclusiveness Statement.MAFA supports Monrovia to be a community where people of all backgrounds and identities can share and amplify their stories, art, cultures, and experiences. . MAFA supports the community by providing adults and children with resources, workshops, events, and other opportunities in support of its belief that everyone enjoys and is inspired by art--either as an artist or by appreciation of the arts--and that art makes the community strong...Monrovia Strong. MAFA recognizes that this work depends on everyone feeling welcome and empowered to contribute. It recognizes that by actively reaching out, the organization can find the strength that comes from being as diverse and inclusive as possible.
To further foster racial equity and inclusion, MAFA will continue to:
- Collaborate with local organizations serving communities of color to engage students, artists, and teachers of color in MAFA programming and events. These organizations include such groups as the Monrovia City Council, the City of Monrovia Community Services and Community Development Departments, the Monrovia Art in Public Places Committee, the Monrovia-Duarte Black Alumni Association, the Monrovia Area Partnership, the Monrovia Community Coordinating Council and faith-based organizations.
- Work to foster trust among people across geographic, race, class and gender lines and supports the community’s and individuals’ efforts to create public art.
- Create a culture of appreciation and honesty and understand new ideas, perspectives, and experiences.
- Review all program-related messaging to create a tone of openness and approachability with an emphasis on using accessible and inclusive language.