By Pam Fitzpatrick
Years ago, when we had a major graffiti problem in Old Town, some brilliant person came up with the idea of artistically painting all of our utility boxes: the theory was even graffiti artists prefer a blank canvas.
So, fast forward to today and we see some very talented artists freshening up the boxes, adding flowers and other art to brighten Old Town. As I went back through several years of documents stored on my computer, I found an interesting tale of how this all came about.
In 2004, the City of Monrovia adopted the Art in Public Places Ordinance. The ordinance was described as a response to a developing sense of “pride and cohesiveness” and a growing commitment to preserving our heritage with inspiring art designed to “arouse civic discourse and involvement.” I’ll have to say, the art around Old Town is doing just that. The Old Town entry marker (which I fondly call “the Arch”, though it’s not arched) was funded through the Paragon Apartments construction project. Most recently, we have our Daniel Stern bronze sculpture in the 400 block (by the Krikorian Theater) depicting our rich partnership with the filming industry.
There is an Art in Public Places Committee made up of Planning, Historic Preservation and Community Services Commissioners, along with a City Council Member and a member of the public at large. The program is currently funded by both donations and new construction, but there is a possible change coming in the future which will still support this public art, but will be funded through an on-going assessment of new construction. Artists interested in participating in the program should contact Diane Delmatoff at the City at (626)932-5531, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of our visitors and most of our Old Town businesses have been expressing concern about the folks who seem to have made Library Park their daytime home. If you have been following this issue via print, meetings or social media, you’ll see how diverse the concerns are and how elusive the remedies are. There was a great presentation at the March 14th Community Services Commission meeting by Monrovia PD Captain Alan Sanvictores and our City Manager, Oliver Chi. The Saturday following the meeting (on the 18th) there was a small gathering of interested community members working together to identify concerns and brainstorm possible solutions. There will be a longer presentation from the PD at this week’s City Council meeting on March 21 with opportunity for speakers. Should be interesting…
I received a beautiful birthday gift last week from one of my long-time merchant friends, and I found myself very nostalgically drifting back to past days in town – days when several of us old-timers were in different locations within this historic downtown. Mostly we had smaller spaces; clearly, we were much younger, but we were friends then and remain closer friends now. My special gift came from House of Windsor, which back in the day was called “Windsor Cottage.” Long time ago, Daphne and Keith Madison set up shop at the southwest corner of Lemon and Myrtle (where Bellisima Salon is today). Their original shop was pretty small – just the corner space minus the extension Bellisima now occupies. When the Monrovian Family Restaurant moved to the northeast corner of Myrtle and Colorado, the previous location of this historic restaurant (the current home of House of Windsor) was being leased by a gentleman who ran a craft/resale type shop which combined separate areas owned and operated by separate businesses —and, there was a small space in the very back with a studio which duplicated porn videos. Just part of our “rich and diverse history” … Anyway, check them out for their gorgeous Brighton jewelry and handbags. And, yes, they’re open 7 days a week!