Fall ‘Crawl’ Lets South Pasadena Party Art-y

Some of the numerous tents set up this past Saturday during the South Pasadena Fall Arts Crawl, which organizers called “a great success.” Photo by Henk Friezer

Everything seemed to “fall” perfectly into place Saturday at the South Pasadena Fall Arts Crawl. 

The popular quarterly event took place in the business district along Mission Street. Sponsored by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and produced by the SPACE, it offered artists and musicians the opportunity to showcase their talents — and residents and visitors a chance to share in the fun and creativity.

“We can say with a fair amount of certainty that this Arts Crawl was one of the busiest we’ve had,” said Laurie Wheeler, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “We can attribute that to the fact that more businesses participated and we had more artisans. Merchants all went above and beyond to program art, music, open houses and other special events for the evening.”

This year, the Arts Crawl started at 4 p.m. — an hour earlier than previous years — allowing attendees more time to enjoy and participate in all of the activities and offerings.

“The event was a great success,” said Hope Perello, co-producer of the Arts Crawl. “We saw a lot of people attending the event at the earlier start time, which was a bit of a surprise since we weren’t sure they would have been aware of it.”

The South Pasadena Historical Museum, which is operated by the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, also opened its doors to offer free tours.

“We participate in all of the Arts Crawls,” said Mark Gallatin, president of the Preservation Foundation. “It’s a great opportunity to draw in folks who are visiting from outside of the city, residents that haven’t seen our museum, and inspire artists with the displays that we have. Our non-profit foundation is made up of all volunteers, so we rely on memberships and donations to keep the doors open, which is why events like the Arts Crawl are so important to us. The event draws hundreds of people into the Mission District, and we want to be open and share what we have with the entire community on days like this.”

Next door to the museum — and another first for the Arts Crawl — was the placement of the Gold Line Stage, a live music venue presented by the South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory. It featured musical performances by local acts such as Sky Rocket and the Buzzrites.

“The Gold Line Stage was well-attended and drew a crowd that was as diverse as its musical lineup,” Perello said. “All the artisans told us they enjoyed having the music playing while they were selling their unique items. Some said this was their favorite event because the people were so nice and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.”

A chalk drawing gives Crawl visitors an early taste of Halloween.

On Mission Street, students from the nationally acclaimed Pascale Music Institute dressed up in Halloween costumes while performing holiday music and arrangements by various classical composers, including Handel.

“We try to perform at least once a year at the Arts Crawl,” said Susan Pascale, music director and founder of the Pascale Institute. “Our school has been in town for 18 years, and we’ve been performing with the Arts Crawl since it started. South Pasadena is such a lovely close-knit town. People really appreciate the arts here.”

Artist Ronny Johnson, who drew a parrot-themed chalk mural for the Summer Arts Crawl, was back again — this time creating a Halloween-themed street mural. The SPARC Gallery hosted closing receptions for David Johnson and Deborah Van Der Zaag’s shows at City Hall and celebrated the opening of “The Human Form” by artist Yuki Toy at the Chamber of Commerce.

More than 18 vendors displayed their handmade art, gifts, and other items at Artisans’ Alley on Meridian Avenue. Other activities included pumpkin decorating at Hotbox Vintage, balloon twisting and a glitter tattoo artist at Adobe Design, a children’s coloring station at Ellen’s Silkscreening and a “Welcome to Haddonfield 5” exhibit of photographs from the “Halloween’’ movies at SugarMynt. 

Mama’s Brick Oven hosted a display of pet-themed artwork by South Pasadena Middle School students in Denise Tanaka’s art class, while Mission Wines hosted a Crawl pre-party with beer and wine specials from 1 to 5 p.m. Gus’s BBQ offered a late night happy hour starting at 9 p.m., and food trucks for Austyn’s Burgers, Sticky Rice and Stuffed Crepes served up dishes throughout the evening.

Spectators admire some of the many arts displays at last Saturday’s Fall Arts Crawl. Photos by Henk Friezer

In partnership with Friends of South Pasadena Library, Light Bringer Project — the non-profit that presents the annual Pasadena LitFest festival — offered two Combchella workshops with author Camari Carter-Hawkins. Based on her book, “Write Back to You: A Journal for Writing Yourself Back into Your Life,’’ the hands-on journaling workshops focused on inspiring creativity and setting personal intentions.

“We have participated in the Arts Crawl before but never to this extent,” said Kat Ward, events manager for Light Bringer. “We’re happy and grateful to the South Pasadena Library for offering the use of their Community Room for our workshops. I love that fact that young people are participating in the Arts Crawl. It’s empowering for kids, and it’s fun to walk around and see what everyone is offering. I don’t think there’s anything better than an evening of art.”