South Pasadena Arts Crawl Celebrates Love in the Winter

The Artisans’ Alley, by the Walking Man sculpture at Meridian Ave. and Mission Street, showcased a variety of art, crafts, and gifts including Carissa Weber Art, Bellagazoo, One Dae Handmade, Polyfaction, Precious Few on Earth, SYL Design Studios, Beyond Blue Ceramics, Spirit Jewelry, SOPA Studios, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Artspetite. Photo by Henk Friezer

On the crisp, cool Saturday of Feb. 16, residents, visitors, artists and musicians alike came out to celebrate the Winter Arts Crawl in South Pasadena with the theme of “All You Need is Love.”

Sponsored by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and produced by SPACE, the free neighborhood night-on-the-town along Mission Street and the South Pasadena business district featured both new and returning vendors and artists. There were numerous live music performances, open houses and sales across the district with more than 25 businesses participating.

Artist Christine Roberts, a former So Pas resident and current South Pasadena Unified School District substitute teacher, smiled and laughed as she set up her booth Bellagazoo ( in Artisan’s Alley on Meridian Avenue at Mission Street. A designer since the age of 10, Roberts offered a variety of handmade wares from knitted crowns and pussy cat hats to eccentric tasseled earrings featuring high-heeled shoes and dogs.

“I love South Pas,” said Roberts. “I moved here for my children to go to the schools. I visit people and people come to see me. I just love making fun things and sharing them with the world.”

Nearby, the spirited watercolor, ink and acrylic art pieces of Alhambra-based artist Carissa Weber ( glowed beneath the lights of her booth. After participating in the Eclectic Festival two years ago, she brought her art for the first time to the Arts Crawl.

“I just thought it’d be good to try,” said Weber, who seeks to encourage people through her art to “listen to yourself, have fun, follow your spirit and follow your dreams.”

Residents Laurie and Luke came out to the Arts Crawl and credited it for being very welcoming and easy to navigate with a convenient location.

“It’s nice and a little bit nerdy too,” Laurie shared with a laugh.

“There’s a sense of community here that’s really kind of cool,” added Luke. “The Arts Crawl, I’ve been through it a couple of years and it’s kind of cool.”

Brightly marker-colored paper letters spelling out ART graced the windows of newly opened GWRX training studio (Instagram @gwrxfit) on Mission Street. The letters were decorated by TK students at Arroyo Vista Elementary in teacher Julie Little’s class.

“They did all the stuff inside [the letters],” explained GWRX trainer Tynan Field. “It’s really sweet.”

The studio featured photographs of client and So Pas resident Vicky Marx, and a setup area for kids to try out different equipment. Owner Gary Loya’s son, Whittier-based artist Gabe Loya, live-painted street art on the wall while visitors chatted and sipped beverages. Gabe Loya is working to make a career in art and tattooing. He came out to support his father, who he credited as a main support of his art since he was little and just starting out doodling.

“I feel like any type of exposure, I’m really looking forward to,” said Loya. “Honestly after I’m done, I want to take a look at other artists because sometimes the most talented artists are right in your backyard.”

The jazz tones of piano performed by Luke Sterling (Instagram @lukesterlingmusic), a fellow at LA Philharmonic, lilted throughout Moji’s boutique on Mission Street. Guests sampled cheese and crackers while browsing through the international offerings.

Boutique owner Moji Shand called the shop her hobby, as she travels often and collects pieces along the way with her husband Euan Shand, who serves as chairman of Duncan Taylor & Company and imports whiskey from Scotland. Moji Shand also serves as CEO of the company.
“The shop is a little bit of an experience,” said Moji Shand. “We want you to come in and experience the world.”

Elegant and eccentric pieces from France, Scotland, London and local artists filled the boutique with a warm and welcoming energy. Upcycled whiskey case chairs by  Scottish artist Maurice Geddes were also available for sale.

“We try to support our local artists and musicians as much as we can,” Shand continued. “This is just to be part of the community, be fun, bring a little bit of the world down there, and people like to experience what I think is a bit of what I experience when I travel.”

Resident Therese Clinton fluttered down the street in a golden handmade costume with fabric butterfly wings, flowers, decorative birds and lights alongside her lighted umbrella-hat-wearing friend Mark Snyder. Don Groner walked dog Romeo, who wore a mane fit for a lion made from multicolored tulle. The group admitted the dress-up was sheer coincidence for the Arts walk, as Clinton designed the dress for an upcoming wedding with the theme of “space and birds” while Snyder was testing his props for the Mardi Gras parade in Venice.

As Clinton recalled on the decision to attend the Art Walk, “there’s an Art Walk, Don, stick around! Let’s debut the outfits to see how they work. Everyone’s taking pictures and they really like it. It’s been very fun!”

Both kids and adults alike added their own flair with bendable glow sticks outside City Hall for an interactive light sculpture sponsored by South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC). The base of the sculpture resembled a house frame with a painted heart on a singular back wall and was constructed by artist and musician Aaron Therol.

SPARC Board President Sandy Kitto shared that with the organization’s tagline of “igniting creativity and illuminating the arts,” the goal was to follow through on that by creating a glowing structure.

“The Arts Crawl theme is ‘All You Need is Love,’” said Kitto. “The artist put the heart there and built the house. That’s where the love is held.”

A few blocks down in Handle (, which offered jewelry, books, ceramics, books and beauty gifts, that same artist lit up the space with the sounds of his band Winter River ( Therol’s voice and guitar tones, alongside bandmate Jane Kim gracing the cello, set a poignant mood from the store to the street as passersby paused for a moment in the cool night air to listen.

“This right here is the best of our lives,” Therol sang.