Chapter 2 Arroyo Culture

The efforts of Arroyo artisans such as Charles Lummis and William Lee Judson came together to pioneer one of the first artistic and cultural movements to come out of Los Angeles.

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El Alisal
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Southwest Museum of the American Indian
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Sycamore Park
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Garvanza
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Arts & Crafts Movement
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Plein Air
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Judson Studios

Arroyo Culture Mural
The Arts and Crafts movement evolved in Highland Park and Pasadena due to the proliferation of artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs in the areas around the Arroyo Seco. The efforts of community leaders and eccentrics such as Lummis, Judson and Browne combined with those of thinkers inspired by life “on the Arroyo,” such as plein air painter Franz Bischoff and block print maker Frances Gearhart, came together to pioneer one of the first artistic and cultural movements to come out of Los Angeles along with the initial success of motion pictures.

In the Arroyo Culture chapter, we will explore the philosophy, practice and ethos of Arts and Crafts in Highland Park from beginning to ultimate demise. The rise and fall of Arroyo Culture is really the story of Highland Park as a independent municipality. As a prescient article written in the Garvanza paper circa 1930 put it while denouncing the proposed annexation of Highland Park to Los Angeles, big government bureaucracies and priorities could only trump the original community’s goals, a larger urban vision for Los Angeles trampling Highland Park’s grass-roots. As with Venice, annexation would turn out to be the beginning of a cycle of decline from which the area is only just recovering.