Anthony Quinn Foundation creates and administers innovative programs to advance the idea that art, in all its forms, is essential to learning and the enrichment of the mind.
Our mission is to advocate for the important role arts education plays in personal development and in the overall improvement of social, economic and cultural systems.
Central to the pursuit of the Foundation’s mission is the life story of Anthony Quinn. His artistic legacy inspires young adults; learning about the challenges of his youth and the ways in which he overcame them helps inspire confidence in their own creative potential. Toward these ends, the Anthony Quinn Foundation:
Throughout his life, Anthony Quinn was steeped in creativity. When he was only two years old, Anthony’s mother used to craft hand-sewn handkerchiefs by drawing pictures on linen, embroidering and selling them to help feed the family. His father too displayed artistic talent. He played Mexican folk songs on the guitar and sang when the family would gather after dinner every night. Their first family home was a mere shack in the poor Mexican neighborhood of East Los Angeles, but his mother always kept the dirt floors swept clean and his father painted some of the windows with a beautiful landscape to hide the view of the neighborhood trash bins just outside. From these experiences, and many others, Anthony learned that regardless of how poor he was his life could be made richer through the arts.
After his father died, his mother often worked two jobs to support the family. They had to find inventive ways of earning money. Some of Anthony’s jobs included amateur boxing, foreman of a mattress factory and working in a butcher shop. Anthony learned to sketch and to sculpt in plaster. He once created a bust of Abraham Lincoln for which he won a prize of $100. Several years later, one of his drawings was also awarded first prize in a statewide contest. The reward was a life-changing apprenticeship with iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was a celebrity at the height of his career. Wright’s philosophy, which made a tremendous impression on young Anthony and stayed with him throughout his life, was that a successful architect did not build to the size of man, but to the size of man’s spirit.
In and of themselves, each one of these events might not be so significant. But, in the context of the path that Anthony Quinn forged, they were stepping stones for a life linked by the passion to create. He believed that all children are naturally creative thinkers—but that their creative edge gets dulled when they are consigned to a rigid educational environment. Creative thinking needs to be nourished and encouraged throughout one’s life. Many studies have positively demonstrated that imaginative thinking and creative expression help develop and strengthen traditional skills; the very skills needed to work through the complex choices we make every day.
Anthony believed that his early exposure to creative expression—his parents’ artistic ingenuity and aesthetic integrity—gave him the foundation upon which he built his career. His love for reading fed curiosity about the world, which he was later able to satisfy during his travels for work. Traveling opened up new worlds for him—culturally and artistically—and he never visited a city or country without both leaving a part of himself there and bringing a part of that place home with him. Through his acting and his artwork, he was able to communicate his love for all of humanity—irrespective of linguistic, cultural, or religious differences. He believed the arts were a universal language.
I spent 16 years of my life with my late husband, Anthony Quinn. Through our experience together, I learned how creativity is part of everyday life. No matter where we traveled, from the most luxurious to the most basic places, Tony saw beauty and art in the simplest things — and in the people who made their small part of the world more beautiful. A simple flower arrangement; the way pictures hung on a wall; the care with which a tree was pruned.
Creativity is not just genetic. Creativity can and should be taught — and nurtured throughout one’s life. The arts uniquely open avenues of learning and understanding. Yet, arts education is in crisis throughout the world. As budgets decrease, the arts are always the first to lose.
I established the Anthony Quinn Foundation to raise and distribute funds for arts scholarships. We draw inspiration from Anthony Quinn’s singular journey, where from an early age the arts enriched his life. Throughout, he seamlessly moved between film roles and across cultures as an actor who made art and an artist who made films.
As the cornerstone in its vision, mission and values, the Anthony Quinn Foundation embraces creativity and the arts not only for their pleasure but for their central purpose in growth and development.
Founder and President
Anthony Quinn Foundation