K-Rails Will Get an Artistic Makeover

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
The South Pasadena Arts Council recently received funding from the City Council to decorate the al fresco dining program’s K-rails with prints of artwork by local artists.

The City Council voted last week to reapportion remaining funds from a project that the coronavirus pandemic cut short to help fund a new endeavor that arose in response to the pandemic.
The South Pasadena Arts Council, or SPARC, will now receive $7,000 to help the organization produce vinyl prints to decorate the concrete barriers used in the city’s al fresco dining program. The funds are being redirected from the Civic Center Art Gallery, whose functions were scaled back because of the COVID-19 crisis.

SPARC officials explained that they plan to curate images by about 40 artists, most of them local, to create the wraps. This is part of a beautification effort for the al fresco areas, which used concrete K-rail barriers to section off portions of street parking to allow for outdoor seating for local restaurants. The barriers also help shopkeepers do business outdoors.
The vinyl wraps present a viable alternative to painting the barriers, which are already in place and would present hazards for artists spending long periods of time applying paint to them while standing in traffic. Additionally, the wraps preclude the need to clean off the barriers when they are returned to the leasing company.
“It helps us in many ways. It allows us to return it back to the condition it was before the project,” explained Blue Trimarchi, artistic director of SPARC. “We’ll try to cover all the outside surfaces of the K-rails, which are on the street side. The vinyl wrap material has a three-year life expectancy, so it should last fine for this project.”
It can’t happen soon enough, to hear the council tell it. Although K-rails are seen as a vital tool to help restaurants during the pandemic, most council members decried the barriers for their ugly appearance against the more picturesque backdrop of South Pasadena.
“It seems like a very good solution to the problem,” Councilman Richard Schneider said last week. “It looks very nice, if you ask me, and I’m sure the other artists here will do equally good projects. I think it’s worthwhile to go ahead with this.”
SPARC plans to present its artwork selections to the city’s Public Arts Commission for approval, after which the organization will work with the Public Works Department to install the prints.