As part of the City’s ongoing artwork conservation efforts, the Pasadena Robinson Memorial recently underwent extensive cleaning and repair.
Located in front of Pasadena City Hall, the artwork depicts local legends Jackie and Mack Robinson in two monumental bronze-cast sculptures—each weighing 2,700 lbs—encircled by a series of engraved stone floor panels, benches and trees.
The Pasadena Robinson Memorial conservation began in late August 2022 and finished on September 29, according to Corey Dunlap, public arts manager.
The conservation of the bronze heads specifically took place from September 19 to 29.
The sculptures reflect the City’s appreciation for the brothers’ contributions beyond their athletic accomplishments as American heroes not just for African Americans, but all people in their ability to overcome racial barriers and offer hope under the contemporary social climate.
The sculptures function as likenesses of the two athletes and also offer a visual narrative of their accomplishments in politics, community service and sports.
Jackie famously broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Mack helped destroy Hitler’s claims of aryan superiority at the 1936 Olympics when he won a Silver Medal finishing just 0.4 seconds behind Jesse Owens.
According to legend, Owens was given new cleats before the race and Robinson was not. Mack Robinson moved back to Pasadena, but Jackie stayed away.
The sculptures reflect each man’s greatest accomplishment.
Jackie’s bust looks East towards Brooklyn while Mack’s looks directly at City Hall.
The Robinson family lived on Pepper Street. The City placed a small plaque in the sidewalk that commemorates the family’s time in Pasadena.
The artist team designed the sculptures, incorporating bas-relief imagery into the surface of the hair.
Images of the two figures in action recede into the surface between the left and right ears of both sculptures.
Within Mack’s hair, outlines of runners in action appear captured in the bronze surface next to quotes from the life of the 1936 Olympic silver medalist.
To Mack’s right, outlines of an athlete appear above the letters “UCLA,” signifying Jackie’s college years and the four sports in which he competed leading up to his years in major league baseball. These representations of the two brothers symbolize not only their contributions to American sports but their perseverance in breaking racial barriers, offering hope and inspiration to future generations.
“In addition to cleaning and conditioning of the bronze sculptures, the surrounding Donor Ring was repaired and protected, displaying the names of hundreds of donors that contributed to the memorial project,” according to a city social media post
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