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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Side Street Madonna



The stretch of Orange Grove Blvd. between Los Robles and Fair Oaks has Mexican restaurants, a Latin grocery, a hair salon and more. People live here, work here, get stuff done here. It's all a bit tattered--the only shiny thing besides the church is the new plant nursery on the corner of Orange Grove and Marengo. There's always a lot going on.

Google's street view photo, showing the north side of Orange Grove between Worcester and Marengo, must have been taken before I moved to Pasadena. The photo shows small homes. Now it's all storefronts.

The side streets go north and south into the neighborhoods. Just north of Orange Grove on a street called Worcester, a faded Madonna waits and watches in a meditative pose. I've driven by many times, and didn't notice until I finally stopped that she has little plastic stars glued into her thick, chipping paint. Someone must have thought the stars had value; many of them are missing.




Art like this abounds in Los Angeles, where Catholic Latin America makes its second home. Altadena Hiker did a couple of posts a while back featuring photos of murals along a downtown commute. East of West L.A., is always finding urban religious icons with which to haunt us. (Just look under "previous posts" and click on what intrigues you.)

Some of Pasadena's hidden treasures are more hidden than others.

15 comments:

Bellis said...

Gosh, I love this Madonna, with her beauty faded by age. Yet I'd probably have driven by without giving it a second glance, and not seen the thick paint, the delicate flowers, and the little silver stars. Now I'm definitely going to have to seek her out.

Trish said...

that Madonna, or something like it, has been there as long as I can recall. I used to accompany my grandmother who drove for the Red Cross, picking up the developmentally challenged adults from a home to a workplace (back when they still did that sort of thing)---I would see this mural every Monday I was with my grandmother--on the way to picking up the man named Albert who had a replica of his father's police badge. He'd show it to me every week I would ride along. Interesting how the memories are coming back to me. Don't remember the stars, but then, I wasn't allowed to get out of the station wagon, so I never got that close to the mural.

Petrea Burchard said...

I have a soft spot for her, Bellis. I always look for her as I go by.

I can tell she's aged in place, Trish, but I don't know for how long. I wonder if the grocer across the street would know.

By the way, we still have that sort of thing in Pasadena--the homes for developmentally challenged adults, and the workplaces for them to go to. I don't know how many, but I know they exist peacefully in the neighborhoods.

dive said...

That's truly beautiful, Petrea. I wish more was done to preserve the murals around LA. They are a spectacular social history of the place and people.

Petrea Burchard said...

You're right about that, Dive. Not far from this one there used to be another, near an elementary school. I noticed the other day that it's gone. Now it's a plain, white wall. Ugh. Graffiti magnet. Perhaps I missed a step in there and someone had painted graffiti on the mural.

altadenahiker said...

Usually the religious paintings are graffiti free. Unless someone's a real badass.

This one's a charmer, that's for sure.

Ms M said...

That's a wonderful painting of the Madonna. I hope she is preserved.

pasadenapio said...

Hey, did they get a permit for that?

Just kidding. I adore this Madonna. When I was a young girl our maid, ConcepciĆ³n, taught me the Rosary and the Agnus Dei in Spanish.

Petrea Burchard said...

Interesting point, Hiker. The mural that was painted over had an underwater theme, if I remember correctly. It was on Ashtabula at Los Robles. I can only guess why it was painted over, though.

I hope so, too, Ms. M, though I like her the way she is.

Hee hee, PIO. She's been there so long I think she's grandfathered (or grandmothered) in.

Katie said...

I like the mural, but your close-up photo is wonderful on its own too, with the different colors and layers and textures. You've found lots of hidden treasures from Pasadena for us, which is just one of many reasons your blog is such a delight.

Petrea Burchard said...

Why thank you, Katie. It's treasures like this Madonna, and comments like the ones today, that make it fun for me.

Jilly said...

Love this. Love that you show the glorious detail and then the whole. And I love the title of the post.

Petrea Burchard said...

Merci, Jilly.

Irina said...

I like this kind of art very much, so sincere and pure. Google view took all the attention. Sorry, but now I have to go back to Pasadena fish market..

Petrea Burchard said...

I agree, sincere and pure, that's the great appeal of works like this.