You couldn’t ask for a more perfect Southern California fall day for an outdoor celebration; a crisp 70 degrees and blue skies as far as the eye could see. But all eyes were focused on not only the stunning setting of Craig and Carolyn Watson’s exquisite home but also on the eye catching, unique art renderings the final ten boxes that were revealed for the first time along with the other twenty boxes that are already adorning our streets throughout the city.
The ten new artists selected and commissioned to paint the last of the city’s 30 traffic signal boxes unveiled their designs at the al fresco event. Guests were immediately greeted by the artwork, beautifully displayed, as they dined on small bites from Crossings restaurant, were treated to an open bar and an extraordinary Pie Bar! The smooth and groovy sounds were provided by the Jaz Sawyer Trio which eventually got people not only dancing but gleefully buying raffle tickets for the oh so cool and coveted prizes.
SPARC founder and fierce arts advocate, Lissa Reynolds, was beyond thrilled telling us, “loved the party! Beautiful home, perfect weather, wonderful food, enthusiastic & supportive attendees! I was overwhelmed by the turn out and support from the Artists and the South Pasadena community! Thanks to all!” She went on to let us know that the party was such a success that SPARC’s Holiday Party sold out in a matter of a few days, which is music to her ears.
SPARC CEO Howard Spector echoed Reynolds’ enthusiasm saying, “I think it’s the best event we’ve ever done!”
It was held at the exquisite home of Craig and Carolyn Watson who are lifelong supporters of the arts and Craig did a magnificent job of auctioning off the final boxes. It was a thrill to see community members stepping up to sponsor a box and meet with the artists. Mike and Michelle Downing teamed up with Stephen and Sheila Rossi to sponsor one of the available boxes during the party. Michelle Downing described the party as a grand event with a beautiful ambiance and says, “I had the honor of sponsoring the first phase of utility boxes for my good friend and artist, Val Johnson. When we learned SPARC was looking for more sponsors, we jumped at the opportunity!”
Sheila Rossi explains that she and her husband love how the Box Art project brings art to the community in a way that is accessible and relatable to all ages and says, “we love that it adds a touch of beauty to our streets and sparks conversation around each individual piece. And we love that the funds raised go to support the artist involved and promote the arts in our community.” The couple attended the party already co-sponsors of a box near their home but Sheila explains, “when we saw that the Polynesian design still needed a sponsor, we decided to co-sponsor the second box in honor of our family’s Hawaiian heritage.”
The enthusiasm was contagious as one after another party-goer stepped up to help sponsor a box until all ten boxes were claimed! The raffle was a huge success as well with some very happy winners heading home with a handcrafted SPARC bag full of amazing things like concert tickets, theatre tickets, artwork, and so much more. One sought after prize was a free evening rental of the Fremont Centre Theatre to hold your own event. As the party began winding down, no one wanted to leave, such was the feeling of bonhomie.
In collaboration with the City of South Pasadena, SPARC’s Box Art Project began in 2015, transforming the city’s humdrum utility boxes into colorful works of art— from vivid abstract and whimsical designs to images of the city’s raucous wild parrots, historic ostriches, its bustling train station, and its place along iconic Route 66.
Funds raised help support the creation of public art in South Pasadena and SPARC’s art and cultural programs. There are so many ways to get involved with SPARC and being a part of the arts in our community. Check out their website for upcoming events and ways to support the arts.
Founded as a grassroots effort in 2010, the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC) today is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that develops educational and public arts programs, creates interactive projects, and collaborates with other organizations in the City of South Pasadena and the surrounding Los Angeles area to foster and produce cultural events featuring the visual, performing, literary and media arts. SPARC is able to accomplish this through the generosity, good will, financial support, and involvement of a supportive community of artists, arts enthusiasts, businesses, and volunteers.