Fuller works with City of Pasadena and local artists to create temporary exhibits
Artist Michelle McCreary
, who completed her MA at Fuller this year with an emphasis in theology and art, has applied her training and creativity to an innovative project: organizing and curating art installations in three vacant storefront windows in Pasadena’s “Playhouse District,” an area of the city surrounding the legendary Pasadena Playhouse. Fuller alumni Olga Lah and Sarah Amanda Jones are displaying their art at 23 N. Mentor Avenue and 600 E. Colorado Boulevard, respectively, while four artists from the Associated Assemblage Artists of Los Angeles (AAALA) contributed to an installation at 561 Green Street.
“I am excited to give Fuller students an outlet to show their work,” said McCreary, “and I am equally excited about involving other artists in the area.”
The storefront project, unveiled in late August, is an effort of the Pasadena Playhouse District Design and Physical Enhancement Committee, on which Brehm Center Associate Director Nate Risdon and Fuller Professor of Theology and Culture William Dyrness both serve. By turning the area’s empty properties into temporary art exhibits, what could be seen as a blight on the district instead have become pockets of beauty and culture.
When Risdon heard of the committee’s desire to carry out such a project, he immediately suggested McCreary –who had worked with the Brehm center curating an art show for the Hubbard Library last winter—for the job of making it happen. “It was kind of serendipitous,” recalls McCreary, who had only days before shared with Risdon her interest in approaching Pasadena property owners about doing temporary art shows in vacant storefronts.
“Michelle, Bill [Dyrness] and I see this as a way for Fuller to ‘redeem’ ugly or unused spaces in our city,” commented Risdon. McCreary agrees: “Having art in vacant spaces is a win for all parties. It improves the appearance of the city, it gives exposure to the artists and, hopefully, generates awareness for the property owners.”
McCreary acted as a liaison between the Design and Enhancement Committee, the property owners, and the artists in order to set up each installation. These interactions made the project even more significant for her, because she sees it “as one more way for Fuller to be engaged in the broader community.” For Risdon, the project “seems like something that should be born out of Fuller—it fits who we are.” The effort is a theological statement about reclaiming worn-out things and making them beautiful again, he explained. “Taking on this project is not even a leap,” said Risdon, “it’s the next logical step for us.”
Please visit the installations at these locations:
23 N. Mentor Avenue, with art by Olga Lah
600 East Colorado Boulevard, with art by Sarah Amanda Jones
561 Green Street with, art by AAALA contributors (David Lovejoy
, Jena Priebe
, Kate Carvellas
, Patrick Quinn
, Cynthia Paige Aaron