The Art in the Street… and of Getting There

Mar 19, 2017

Two new exhibitions at Pasadena Museum of History take a look at art from different perspectives.

Art in the Street: 25 Years of the Pasadena Chalk Festival celebrates the silver anniversary of one of the area’s most popular art attractions.

The Art of Getting There: Railroad Inspired Artistry explores how railroads, the apex of the Industrial Revolution’s might and power, have inspired artists since their introduction.

The exhibits will be on view from Wednesday, March 29 through Sunday, August 13 in the Museum’s History Center galleries.


Art in the Street: 25 Years of the Pasadena Chalk Festival
The Pasadena Chalk Festival, one of the area’s most popular arts attractions, will celebrate its silver anniversary in 2017. From its humble launch in front of Pasadena City Hall in 1993, when this medium was just beginning to be known outside of Europe, the unique event incorporates approximately 600 visual artists a year and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the Civic Center over the two-day festival weekend. Light Bringer Project, founders and organizers of the Pasadena Chalk Festival, will team with PMH to produce this exhibit, which explores the history and impact of the festivals’ centuries-old medium of street painting.

This style of street art, also known as pavement art and street painting, can also be viewed as a type of performance art. Artists use impermanent materials such as pastel chalk to render a variety of images and designs on streets and boulevards, sidewalks, plazas, and public spaces. For the past twenty-five years, the Pasadena Chalk Festival has celebrated this medium, attracting artists and design teams from many regions of the country, across Southern California, and virtually every Los Angeles-area community. Leading art schools, museums and cultural centers are also represented in the annual event.

The exhibit will feature the creation and installation of chalk murals, some of which are site specific, as well as photos and videos of exceptional artwork spanning twenty-four years of Festival history. Major accomplishments highlighted in the exhibit include breaking the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 and presenting centerpiece artists like the Aboriginal team from Alice Springs and their “dream painting,” among others. A special “tools of the trade” display will give visitors an inside look at the art form’s process and techniques. Artists will demonstrate chalk drawing, and the public of all ages will be encouraged to join in (chalk materials provided) on specific dates throughout the run of the exhibition.


My Fair Lady Movie Poster by Neliegh Olson 2016; photo by Brian Biery.


The Art of Getting There: Railroad Inspired Artistry
Ever since the debut of railroads, whether for passenger or freight service, many have been “romanced by the rails.” Hobbyists, artists, photographers and countless others have tried their hands at making their own rendition of how it was, could be, or should have been. Curators Michael Patris and Steve Crise of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society will celebrate the history and beauty of railroads through this exhibit of railroad art.

The Art of Getting There: Railroad Inspired Artistry will include paintings, photography, lithography, carvings and sculpture which were created from steel rail stimuli. Objects from the extensive archives of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection will be on display, in addition to several unique and amazing artworks from private collections. Nineteenth century to contemporary art will be exhibited, including a few pieces created specifically for this show. This will be a memorable visit for all age groups who love the sight of motion depicted by some amazing artists.
From traditional art, such as paintings and photographs, to advertising art, to sculpture and carvings, the technical innovation and artistry of railroads will be celebrated in this exhibit.

“#40 at Speed” by Yoko Mazza. 24 x 36, oil on canvas, 2013; photo by Steve Crise Photo.


To fully appreciate the splendid beauty of an operating steam locomotive, you must see one in action and at speed.  In 2011, Yoko, along with her husband Steve Crise, were visiting the Nevada Northern Railway. This was Yoko’s first time seeing an operating steam engine thunder by only feet away from her. The impression has stuck. Since then, she has created a series of vibrant paintings of steam locomotives of the Nevada Northern Railway and other roads as well. But she still creates beautiful works based on Japanese traditional theater masks, also known as “Noh Masks”, and paintings on her other passion, Flamenco Dancing. Yoko has painted throughout her life but only recently has she embraced such diverse and colorful subjects in her more recent works. (Courtesy of the Artist)

“Diesels for the Upgrade” by Edmund Lewandowski (1914- 1998) 12.5” x 10” serigraph, Fortune Magazine cover, March 1948. (Courtesy Steve Crise collection)


This striking work illustrates the concerted effort by American Railroads to upgrade their fleet of steam locomotive to the new sleek design offered by the smooth and streamlined diesel locomotives. Edmund Lewandowski created murals, advertising pieces for many industrial clientele, and a large body of covers for both Time and Fortune magazines. His uniquely Precisionist style of painting was his trademark and is found in both his personal work and his commissioned pieces.


“Red Car Line – Venice, California” by Harold Edward Lanfair (1898 – 1981) 22” x 28” (framed) watercolor, circa late 1930’s. (Loan from the collection of Tom Spellman)


A forlorn Victorian-era house sits just feet away from a wig-wag controlled crossing along Pacific Electric’s Venice Short Line. Folks came to the beach on the PE from four different counties; San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles on nearly 1,100 miles of track during its heyday.  Lanfair was an illustrator, designer and painter from Portland, Oregon. He studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, Nicholas Haz School, Otis Art Institute, and the Huntington School in Cleveland, Ohio. Exhibitions include the Cleveland Museum in 1932, the Zeitlin Gallery in Los Angeles, also in 1932, as well as SFMA, WWAA and AAW from the 40’s to the late 50’s. Lanfair was also an illustrator and designer for Hollywood movie studios from 1930 – 1945.


Art in the Street & The Art of Getting There
PMH, 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103.
Hours: noon-5:00 p.m., Wednesdays-Sundays
Admission: $7, general; $6, students & seniors; free for Museum Members and Children under 12 For more info, please visit
Or call 626.577.1660.


This year’s Chalk Festival is scheduled for June 17-18, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Find details at


Eric Sisley; photo by Brian Biery.


Gloria Ing and Team, Masquerade Party, 2016; photo by Brian Biery.





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