The Chouinard Foundation


The Chouinard Foundation was founded in 1999 by Bob Perine and Dave Tourje, after Tourje purchased the home of Nelbert Chouinard - the founder of the original Chouinard School of Art in 1921. Shortly after this, many joined the Advisory Board including the current Board of Advisors and Directors Sam Clayberger, Lou Paleno, Chuck Swenson, Doris Kouyias, John Van Hamersveld and Gary Wong. From it's inception, the Chouinard Foundation's purpose was to illuminate the legacy of Chouinard and bring it to public consciousness, whether by mounting major Museum shows, starting an art school, partnering with the City of LA or presenting a feature-length documentary film. Prior to this effort, though one of the most prodigious in history, Chouinard's legacy was nearly forgotten. This website documents the history and these efforts, providing a forum for the legacy to continue by allowing those that went there to post their recollections of one of the truly great art schools in history - a major piece of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles and beyond.

Nelbert Chouinard 

Nelbert Chouinard was born Nelbertina Murphy to Ruth Helen Lawrence Murphy and Dr. Lee Murphy on February 9, 1879 in Montevideo, Minnesota. Nelbertina’s older brother Lloyd later nicknamed her Nelbert.

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LA Times Articles & Magazine

From 2001-2007, the L.A. Times chronicled the progress of the Chouinard Foundation in numerous articles. These articles, written mainly by art writer Suzanne Muchnic, form an articulate summary of the Chouinard Foundation’s accomplishments. Numerous magazine articles were written by top art writers concerning the progress of the Chouinard Foundation as well.

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Chouinard House

The Chouinard House was built in 1907 in South Pasadena by Nelbert Murphy Chouinard’s father, Dr. Lea M. Murphy. Nelbert moved west shortly thereafter and lived in the house until her death in 1969. The house is a turn of the century Monterrey Colonial Eclectic farm-style house with additions built under Nelbert’s guidance through 1919.

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Bob Perine

Chouinard owes Bob Perine a deep debt of gratitude for his passion and persistence. Without him, we could not possibly be where we are today. Bob helped set the groove we are now in to this day, and if Chouinard is to ever realize the potential we have all envisioned from the beginning, it would be in large measure, due to the efforts of Bob Perine.

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Grandview Magazine

Bob Perine began producing the Grandview in 1999, from the inception of the Chouinard Foundation to his passing in 2004. In it, he illuminated various aspects of Chouinard history, and documented the progress of the Chouinard Foundation during these times.

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Siqueiros Mural Discovery, “Street Meeting”

“Street Meeting” was thought to have been destroyed, but was found not to have been by Luis Garza, Jose Luis Sedano, Bob Perine, Dave Tourje and Nob Hadeishi. Discovery of the mural led to much national and international press, including an Emmy nominated KCET production concerning the discovery. The mural remains unconserved despite this effort.

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John Van Hamersveld

In 2002, renowned graphic designer John Van Hamersveld joined the Chouinard Foundation’s Advisory Board and began producing the Chouinard Foundation’s graphic output. Several classic images were generated including the “Draw The Idea” poster and concept which became the motto for the Foundation.

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South Pasadena Art School

In 2002, the Chouinard foundation undertook the near-impossible task of renovating a 13,000 square foot facility in the Oldtown Mission West district of South Pasadena, in order to start an artschool.

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LA Rec & Parks

In 2006, the Chouinard Foundation was granted a public/private partnership with the City of Los Angeles in order to bring it’s art program to the youth of the innercity. The first of it’s kind, the school ran from 2006 until 2009 and brought an unheard of level of art instruction to hundreds of talented teens who were never before exposed to art education.

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Frederick Hammersley, Harold Kramer collections

Frederick Hammersley
In 2002, Frederick Hammersley donated to the Chouinard Foundation his entire body of student work.

Harold Kramer
In early 2002, Director Lou Paleno donated the entire collection of artworks bequeathed to him by his friend and mentor, the renowned Chouinard teacher Harold Kramer.

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Chouinard/Cal Arts

The Chouinard Art Institute closed it’s doors near downtown L.A. in 1972 under what many considered to be controversial circumstances. Walt Disney’s promise to keep the school alive morphed into the awkward realities of closure and transition, removal of longterm teachers, and to some, the neglect of a 50 year body of work unparalleled in art history.

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Chouinard Photographic History

Here we seek to create a photographic history by inviting anyone who has photos of the original Chouinard to submit them to our photo gallery.

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