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Planning and Community Development Department

  • Public Art Program

    The goal of the Pasadena Public Art Program is to build a publicly available collection of contemporary art that celebrates the human spirit and condition. The Public Art Program seeks to assemble a cohesive collection that encourages public dialogue, understanding and enjoyment of public art. Public art serves as the perfect medium for illustrating the broad range of cultural expression practiced in the Pasadena community. 


    Pasadena's Public Art Collection is Now On-line

    The City of Pasadena Public Art Collection is now available on-line nationwide through the Public Art Archive, a free, searchable database.  The Archive is provided by the Western States Art Federation (WESTAF), a non-profit arts service organization which provides technology systems for arts organizations and artists.

    Pasadena's 177 artworks, many of which have been created by artists of local and national recognition, document permanent and temporary public art projects commissioned through the City's Private Development and Civic Public Art Programs.  Artworks facilitated by the Cultural Affairs Division on behalf of community partners are also included. 

    Please follow these instructions to access the database for artworks in Pasadena.  In the Search field, type “City of Pasadena.”  There are numerous search filters to refine and extend your searches by material, artwork type, placement, date, artist name, and title. 

    You can also select the "Map this" feature to plan your visit by viewing the artwork’s location on a Google map, getting driving or walking directions, or saving the map for later use.  In addition, there is a mobile version that allows you to navigate Pasadena’s collection from any mobile device. Simply point the browser on your smart phone or mobile device to PublicArtArchive.org, and the site will automatically direct you to the mobile version, ask for permission to locate you, and then you will see a list or map of the artworks near you.  Click here to access the Public Art Archive database. 


    Public Art Requirement

    The City’s Public Art program focuses on two areas: new private development and City construction projects. The Public Art Requirement may be satisfied by the creation of site specific public art or by payment in-lieu of artwork. For further information, please contact Cultural Affairs staff at (626)744-7062.

    Private Development Guidelines 
    City Construction Project Guidelines
    Public Art Program Overview 


    Public Art Master Plan

    The City is in the midst of developing a public art master plan that will prioritize project development and contribute to a new vision for public art in Pasadena. A series of Community meetings provided resident input that will influence draft recommendations to be presented. An Advisory Group will play a role in the development of recommendations which will be presented to the public. City Council is expected to review final recommendations.

    Rotating Public Art Exhibition Program

    The Rotating Public Art Exhibit Program is intended to complement the permanency of the Private Development and Capital Improvement Public Art programs by placing artworks throughout the City for a limited time period. The program seeks to create an outdoor art gallery to enliven the urban landscape, create a dynamic visual experience for residents and visitors, create more venues for artwork in the City, increase exposure and opportunities for artists who live and work in Pasadena, educate the public about public art by stimulating discussion, provide a cultural draw for tourists and provide entrée for artists new to public art.

    The Rotating Public Art Exhibition Program has two components 1) a rotating exhibition of loaned existing sculptural works and 2) changing exhibitions of public artwork commissioned for a specific site. Nine public art projects will be installed in locations throughout Pasadena. The second component of the program will offer temporary, “site-specific installation” opportunities for exhibition. Artists will create public artworks for a specific site during the span of the exhibition. 


    Millard Sheets Mural Gifted to City of Pasadena 

    Pasadena City College’s (PCC) Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium is new home for the Millard Sheets Mural, Tournament of Roses, 1890. The recently installed piece was gifted to the City of Pasadena and dedicated in May 2014 by Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard who thanked PCC for housing the 75 ft. mural. 

    In 2011, the mural was removed from display inside a local bank building on Colorado Boulevard. The mural was conserved by the artist’s son, Tony Sheets, through the City of Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission.   

    For Pasadena, Sheets painted a mural of the first Tournament of Roses Parade for the former bank branch on Colorado Boulevard. After years of display inside the bank building, the mural was conserved for future generations through a partnership with Pasadena City College. On January 23, 2014, Tournament of Roses, 1890 was installed in honor of the Mayor’s 2014 State of the City Address and the Grand Opening for PCC’s new Center for the Arts.  

    The impressive mural, which dates from 1963, consists of 20 oil painted panels on walnut veneer that reveal an historical narrative of the first Tournament of Rose Parade in Pasadena. Containing unique, Pasadena-specific content, the artwork also showcases the style and technique of its artist, Millard Sheets. The installation depicts the earliest days of the Parade in Pasadena and features images of participants in late 19th century attire in horse-drawn carriages and on horseback as they proceed along a backdrop of iconic Pasadena landmarks including City Hall, parade floats, and marching bands.   

    The partnership between the City of Pasadena and Pasadena City College ensures public accessibility and prominence of this remarkable cultural heritage icon and provides maintenance of the artwork in a secure environment.

    Sheets Mural Dedication Program  

    Sheets-Mural-Dedication-01  Sheets-Mural-Dedication-02 

    Neighborhood Enhancement Mural Program 

    The goal of the Neighborhood Enhancement Mural Program is to enhance the visual experience in the City by placing high quality murals in areas of high visibility. The addition of murals creates a more aesthetically pleasing environment for residents, workers and visitors. Increased pedestrian activity in these neighborhoods will promote economic growth for merchants and property owners in the adjacent communities. The mural are temporary and must be sustained for at least five years.

    Staff is working on the release of an RFP that will be available shortly. For questions please contact the Cultural Affairs office 626-744-7062.


  • Completed Projects


    David Schafer Separated United FormsSeparated United Forms
    Two cast bronze sculptures
    7' h x 12' w each, 2009

    Sculptor David Schafer was commissioned through the City of Pasadena Public Art Program for New Private Development requirement of Pacific Medical Buildings located at 70 W. California. The artwork, Separated United Forms encompasses two large-scaled cast bronze sculptures, 7’ x 12’ each that are anticipated to be installed in Summer 2009.

    The two rounded sculptures are undulating and organic with references to a life-form. The development process involved the selection a small Henry Moore sculpture from the collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena which was scanned using 3D scanning technology. Moore believed his sculptures evoked growth and suggested a living life-form, or the vital life force. The forms of the sculpture were then manipulated by scaling, rotating, superimposing, and doubling.




    Ann Marie Karlsen Revival_croppedRevival
    Stone and glass mosaic mural
    15' h x 5' w each, 2009 

    Artist Anne Marie Karlsen created two mosaic wall murals titled  Revival that are strongly influenced by the history of the Raymond Theatre and the site at 129 N. Raymond Avenue developed by Buchanan Raymond, LLC. Each mural contains a single form composed of abstract imagery. Karlsen play homage to the historic theatre by appropriating the classical Grecian urn motif as the primary icon for the artwork. The artwork is 59”w x 181” h and presents multiple experiences for the viewer: close-up one can experience the asymmetry and beauty of the mosaic elements (Italian glass, marble and granite) and their colors, form various vantage points and distance, the composition becomes symmetric and shapes emerge that relate to the historic theatre building next door. The tactile nature of the mosaic is inviting to the touch – discovering the variety of shapes, forms and textures. 




    Artist Gwynn Murrill completed three public artworks at The Montana, a mixed-use development located at 345 East Colorado in the heart of Pasadena in 2008.

    The artworks, Bighorn Fountain, Raptor Intaglio and Cougar Intaglio, are based on the natural environment and wildlife common in the American West.  Murrill was inspired by the arid climates set in and adjacent to mountains common to many locales in settings as disparate as the City of Pasadena and the state of Montana.  Pasadena’s history is rich with artists focused on the region’s natural splendors for inspiration. The Montana artwork builds upon this tradition by furthering it within a contemporary idiom, one respectful of the past but committed to progress in art. 

    RamBighorn Fountain
    Bronze and anamosa limestone
    10'7" x 12' in diameter, 2008

    Bighorn Fountain is a life-size cast bronze sculpture of a native San Gabriel Mountain bighorn sheep poised atop two columns of rough-hewn limestone blocks. Water gently pours down the inside faces of the blocks providing a sense of respite during warm weather. 



    Raptor Intaglio Raptor
    Carved limestone
    18' x 80', 2008

    Raptor Intaglio is the most visible artwork, and Murrill's largest to date, is a dramatic intaglio carving into the limestone panel sections that are situated above the building's main entrance on Colorado Boulevard. Two large-scaled eagles (one is approximately 9'6” and 42' long, the other approximately 15'6” high and 22' long) are carved into the limestone, creating a flowing narrative for the building's façade. While playing on a long-tradition of architectural ornamentation, Murrill's approach is strictly contemporary in its reductive language and manipulation of scale. 


     CougarCougar Intaglio 
    Carved limestone
    8'6" x 20', 2008

    The Cougar Intaglio carving was inspired by the arid climates set in and adjacent to mountains common to many locales in settings as disparate as the city of Pasadena and the state of Montana. An additional large scale, intaglio of a cougar (approximately 8'2” and 19'4” long) is carved into limestone panels measuring 8'6” high by 20' long, on the Euclid Street façade of the Montana. 

    The project, initiated by developer Charlie Munger and MS Property Company, was designed and managed by Nakada + Associates, Inc., with landscape architects Korn Randolph and art consultant Marc Pally for the City of Pasadena Public Art Program. 




    Bowl_Water_FountainWhole Flow 
    Stainless steel and recycled water 
    18’h x 6’ w x 50” d,  2008 
    “Whole Flow”  (Processio Pasadena) is a sculpture by artist Buster Simpson for Whole Foods Market that functions both as an artwork and as a working example of water preservation and sustainable uses of natural resources. The fountain will run on gray water from the condensation from a series of freezer units. 

    The sculpture is fountain is a series of fourteen stacked stainless steel bowls measuring 50” diameter and 12” deep. The artwork forms and provides a vertical aeration system for the water cascading from one bowl to the next allowing oxygen to enter the water and promote a cleansing process. This procession is one of healing and of art, a journey of restoration infrastructure, serving as a model and catalyst, and suggesting a procession of paradigm shifts for Pasadena recharging the valley watershed.
    Commissioned in 2005 by Bellevue Ventures LLC with infrastructural assistance from Whole Foods Market, art consultant Marc Pally worked with landscape specialists Korn Randolph, Fabrication Specialties, LTD., and Simpson Studios to create an example of sustainable artwork.



    Tiles317 Paces and 2 Stops (and 4) 
    Cementitious Terrazzo 
    2,500 square fee, 2009 
    Artist Renee Petropoulos instaled 317 paces and 21 stops (and 4), a terrazzo hardscape that wraps around a corner of the mixed use project like a garden path at 220 N. Lake Avenue. The artist designed the path as a progression of colors and patterns that are repeated throughout the project like the diamond pattern with large rocks found on Walnut Avenue, the rock pattern on Lake Ave. and the stone pavers on Walnut and Lake Avenues. The perspective decreases or increases as it winds its way down the block. As some patterns echo one another, color is introduced to reinforce and enhance the effects of the composition giving the project a rhythm felt by the pedestrian. 

    Commissioned by Standard Pacific Homes for the City of Pasadena Public Art Program. 



     Conservation_Team_In_ActionConservation is underway on Margaret Nielsen’s “Pasadena Panorama” that greets visitors to the Paseo Colorado on the Garfield Promenade. Paseo Colorado management, Development Diversity Corporation is committed to maintain all the public artwork and has been working with the artist and Cultural Affairs staff. The Venetian glass mosaic fountain and hardscape has experienced some minor damage since 2000-01 when the artwork was installed. Conservation to the damaged glass mosaic pieces will be replaced, the tile regrouted and the entire piece will be cleaned.  




    Conservation is underway on Margaret Nielsen’s “Pasadena Panorama” that greets visitors to the Paseo Colorado on the Garfield Promenade. Paseo Colorado management, Development Diversity Corporation is committed to maintain all the public artwork and has been working with the artist and Cultural Affairs staff. The Venetian glass mosaic fountain and hardscape has experienced some minor damage since 2000-01 when the artwork was installed. Conservation to the damaged glass mosaic pieces will be replaced, the tile regrouted and the entire piece will be cleaned.   



    Broken_FountainAnne Marie Karlsen’s “Dream Stream” has been providing a soothing and tranquil experience to visitors to the Terraces at Paseo Colorado since it was installed in 2001. Significant damage was sustained by the fountain as its tiles began to separate from the wall. Working in conjunction with the artist and Terraces’ manager, Sculpture Conservation Studio was called in to lead the conservation effort. The fallen tiles have been cleaned, filled and in-painted at their studio and the entire fountain has been treated and the calcification built up has been cleaned. The sound of the trickling fountain is once again greeting apartment residents and guests.  


  • Conservation Team


    Conservation_Team_2Conservation Team includes (from left to right):

    Steve Forss, Tile Installation; Anne Marie Karlsen, Artist;
    Meagan Goldberg, Sculpture Conservation Studio
    and Carol Greene, Manager Terraces at Paseo Colorado.

Water Usage Gauge