Pasadena is dynamic – vibrant with activity and full of culture. We invite you to experience the public art that is so vital to the City’s unique character. These interesting and varied walking tours feature jewels from Pasadena’s innovative Public Art collection. Each tour takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour to complete and will give you a good sampling of the City’s holdings. Walk with a friend or walk by yourself – make these tours your own. Established in the late 1980s, the Public Art Program requires that 1% of the building valuation of both new private development and municipal construction projects in the City is dedicated to public art. Public Art in Pasadena has a strong history of community collaboration for both public and private partnerships, incorporating key constituents into the planning process. Artwork is site specific and is accessible to the general public, thus improving quality of life for all residents. Pasadena’s extensive Public Art collection is eclectic, multi-cultural and reflects our values and identity. Many renowned local and national artists have created outstanding work that has garnered national acclaim for the City’s collection.
As diverse as the artists that create it, Pasadena’s public art ranges from a children’s playground modeled on the Arroyo Seco and art glass mirrors that tell the story of the City’s firefighters to a much larger-than-life memorial to Pasadena heroes Mack and Jackie Robinson. The vast collection also includes functional artist-designed benches, narrative murals, interactive and kinetic sculptures, and quintessential examples of modern and contemporary art movements.
In addition to these works, important public art collections can be found at Art Center College of Design, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Pasadena City College. So, take your time. Enjoy your walk, and get to know the city that surrounds you.
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.