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Robinson Park Recreation Center Public Art Project Update Coming Wednesday

Published on Tuesday, January 16, 2024 | 6:22 am

Pasadena’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department (PRCS) will provide an update on the Robinson Park Recreation Center Public Art Project Wednesday, when the Pasadena Northwest Commission meets at a special meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Jackie Robinson Community Center. 

According to the agenda, PRCS will provide a presentation that includes key introductions for Corey Dunlap, Public Art Coordinator from the Cultural Affairs Division, and artists Carla Jay Harris and Deborah Aschheim, who have been chosen to accomplish two tandem Public Art Projects with a budget of $200,000 each.

Harris and Aschheim will also be presenting research they’ve been conducting within the community since last August. 

The project, initiated in 2019 as part of the Capital Improvement (CIP) Public Art Program & Guidelines, has progressed through various phases. Phase 1, with a $40,000 budget, focused on development, while Phase 2 has an allocation of $160,000 for implementation.

A unique feature of the project is the community’s and stakeholders’ deep involvement in the artwork development process. The Robinson Park Stakeholder Group, active in 2020 and 2021, were active in defining the values and goals for the project, guided by a vision statement that emphasizes capturing the community’s history, the legacies of Jackie and Mack Robinson, and creating a dynamic narrative that connects generations.

Selecting the artists for the project involved a meticulous process, with the Request for Artist Qualifications (RFQ) opening in February 2022 and leading to a series of events such as stakeholder meetings, a community gathering, and an artist workshop. 

The applications closed in April that year, and the Artist Selection Panel – including the Robinson Park Stakeholder Group, the Recreation Center Renovation Project Steering Committee, a Professional Public Artist and Administrator, the Civic Public Art Program Director, and longtime Northwest Pasadena residents – made the final selections.

A review by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission in May 2023 concluded with approving  the chosen artists, Carla Jay Harris and Deborah Aschheim, who signed Artist Agreements with the City last August, marking the commencement of Phase 1.

During this phase, the artists engaged extensively with the Northwest Pasadena community, attending community events, group meetings, meeting stakeholders, and conducting one-on-one interviews with residents. This research phase, ongoing since August 2023, has been crucial in gathering historical knowledge and personal stories, contributing to the development of the artists’ concepts.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Northwest Commission will provide a glimpse into the progress and insights gained during this community engagement phase. 

For those attending, the Jackie Robinson Center is at 1020 North Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena.

To learn more about Pasadena’s Public Art Program, visit

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