UPDATED: Public art in Pasadena: Evaluate or eviscerate?



**UPDATE: Janette Williams will revisit this issue with a story in the Sunday Star-News. Apparently, the Chase Bank is still remodeling its lobby, and there may be no room for the 50-foot Millard Sheets mural. The city is working to find a solution — or a new home for the work of art. More on Sunday.

What in the name of goodness is going on with the threat to murals/public art in Pasadena?

First, Star-News reporter Janette Williams broke the story about the painting over of a 60-foot, city-funded mural on a Northwest Pasadena storefront. The paint had barely dried on the $2,500 work of art before it was gone.

As if that fiasco wasn’t bad enough, now Thal Armathura over at Avenue to the Sky writes that historic Millard Sheets mural panels — inside what is now a Chase Bank at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard — were nearly painted over also:

“We were alerted that Chase Bank at Lake and Colorado, located in what
was Washington Mutual, who inherited art works commissioned by the
Ahmanson Corporation, the owners of Home Savings which was originally
located at this site, were about to do something nefarious to the
Millard Sheets mural panels depicting the Pasadena Tournament of Roses … located on the walls behind the teller area.”

Thankfully, someone tipped off the Cultural Affairs Division:

“Rochelle Branch, of the Pasadena Cultural Affairs Office was alerted to this by an observant Pasadena Library employee, Catherine Haskett-Hany (here from another blogpost: Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also).”

Click on over to Avenue to the Sky for more interesting history and links.

Meanwhile, Petrea Burchard at Pasadena Daily Photo does some investigating at the Hen’s Teeth Square shopping center at Los Robles Avenue and Woodbury Road. And she finds a mural that hasn’t been painted over. It’s not a Millard Sheets masterpiece, but it is lovely, and thank goodness, it’s still there!

On that post, Armathura comments with some more background on the shopping center:

“Hen’s Teeth Square, 2053 – 2057 North Los Robles, Pasadena, designed by architect Theodore Pietsch is a designated Pasadena landmark and is reputed to be the first corner drive-in market shopping center in the country, built in 1930. … Hen’s Teeth Square is a monument to our car culture and the cornerstone of our local historic district. The name Hen’s Teeth Square is original to the development and does reflect the rarity of the time of a corner drive-in shopping center.”

(Photo via DLZ127’s Flickr photostream)