Friday’s ArtNight Put Pasadena on Display

Scene from ArtNight 2015Joan Pounds, a three-year Pasadena resident, presented her book What Happens Next?Scene from ArtNight 2015Scene from ArtNight 2015Scene from ArtNight 2015

Story and Photography by VERONICA AN

6:33 am | October 10, 2015

ArtNight is hard to capture. Its depth and range and now, its sheer volume. It’s a lot to fit into one night. Try as they may, visitors to Friday night’s ArtNight events across Pasadena just couldn’t squeeze every activity into their evening.

It was as if the city itself were the installation, and all the men and women joining the objects and performers to become willing players in a combined art experience.

The crowd at City Hall was awash with colored lights and live jazz music filled the air. Hundreds lined up for the free ArtNight shuttles that whisked them off to destinations around the city. Others stayed to enjoy the projected art and sound installation at City Hall itself. The projections, put on by Freewaves Projects, used City Hall as a canvas for a display of lions, lights and sound.

This project is part of the innovative My Pasadena project, an NEA-sponsored series of temporary public artworks focusing of creating community. Emily Hopkins, Executive Director of Side Street Projects, described the art projects as “Creative Place making” and said, “These artists are just trying to start a conversation, build community and make the world a better place.”

After ArtNight, My Pasadena continues to build community and highlight local art and architecture with temporary exhibitions in the Civic Center area.

A short walk or even shorter shuttle ride away, the Pasadena Central Library hosted over 50 authors in their spacious book stacks.

Joan Pounds, a three-year Pasadena resident, presented her book What Happens Next?, a book of her paintings with accompanying stories written by children at Pasadena’s Boys and Girls Club. After an accident changed her life forever, Pounds began painting and created this book as a reminder that anyone can achieve their dreams even if obstacles seem to stand in their way.

What Happens Next? benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena and will be available for purchase this January.

In addition to authors, the library also hosted an art show by the artists of Pasadena’s Adaptive Recreation Program. Jackie Scott, the Adaptive Recreation Specialist, works with disabled adults to help them express their creativity through art and poetry. The group previously created a show and published a book to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that was shown at the Armory. This show’s theme was “Memories” and artists shared special moments in their lives through paintings.

One of the artists, Steven Drotlet, described his painting, “This is My Dad” to a crowd of visitors. Scott added, “We discovered that a lot of these adults have a great artistic ability and just wanted to give them time to work on and develop it.” The program brings together community members and art lovers a few times throughout the year.

In the end, what mattered was not how many exhibits you saw, but finding that one piece of art that spoke to you and meeting people who felt the same. Perhaps Don, former PCCA art professor and longtime ArtNight attendant, said it best, “I’ll go where it takes me, I’m just excited to be around so any people who love art.”