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Our History

Our Story

A Distinguished History of Arts Support

Arrowhead Arts Association, a non-profit organization, was formed in 1985 by a group of San Bernardino Mountain residents and businesses to provide a rich cultural life for the area. From its inception, the goal of the Association has been to provide classical music and fine arts for the mountain communities by sponsoring instruction, public performance and exhibition of visual and performing arts. Arts studies and endeavors of area students have been supplemented and their talents supported by scholarships from the Association. We remember with appreciation our founding members: Tom Akin, Elizabeth Hale, William Pettus, Pat Welsh and Cynthia Thomson-Altmeyer. Their inspired leadership and vision are responsible for creating the Association.

Since 1985, the Association has presented the Annual Fall Classical Music Festival, bringing the best of classical music to the mountains, enjoying standing-room-only Sunday matinee performances by a symphony orchestra. In the same year, Classics by the Lake, an intimate evening of fine music hosted in one of the mountain’s lakefront homes, was also inaugurated. Both of these programs continue to the present day.

The Annual Music Festival, a weekend of Bach, was launched in October of 1985. Featuring the Inland Empire Symphony under the direction of Don Thayer Jeager, this orchestra and other ensembles were presented. Drew Struzen, renowned artist and Disney illustrator, created and donated a commemorative poster to mark the event.

In addition to classical music, the Association, in 1991, initiated a variety of pop music forms, now featured as the annual Blue Jay Jazz Festival, now an independent organization. Patti Doyle of the Arrowhead Arts Association, Dr. Hugh Bialecki of the Blue Jay Business Association, and Simon Barley of the American Jazz Symposium were instrumental in its creation. Supported by donations, grant funding, merchant sponsorships and enthusiastic public support, the Blue Jay Jazz Festival continues to present festival events on Thursday evenings during the summer.

The Association continues to increase the number and styles of performances offered. Our offerings have included symphony orchestra concerts, piano recitals, chamber music concerts, choral performances, pop and jazz concerts, and youth enrichment programs. In 1998, affirming the commitment to young people, the Association produced, for many years, the annual Youth Concert which featured the world class Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The Auxiliary, founded through the efforts of then-President Leona Kendrick, was established in 1993 as a major support group for the Association. Auxiliary volunteers are integral to the success of presenting all of the institution’s musical and other events. They administer an on-going youth enrichment program, raise funds through their participation as Mountain Thrift Shop volunteers, and serve as community service volunteers in cooperative support of the Lake Arrowhead Chamber of Commerce “Home Tour”.  The Association acknowledges with appreciation their important contributions in helping us achieve our goals.

The Association assisted in the formation of Arrowhead Artists Guild and Lake Arrowhead Performing Arts Company, both of which evolved into independent organizations. Arrowhead Arts Association was also instrumental in formation of Rim of the World Arts Council, an “umbrella” organization for all the artistic endeavors in the mountain community for several years.

It is through the generosity of our community, as well as of our major benefactors, that we are able to provide so many musical opportunities for a wide segment of our mountain population and to fulfill our mission of promoting music in the mountains.

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