Come Friday, musicians will once again be performing half-hour to 45-minute sets at formal as well as impromptu venues across town as part of ArtNight, Pasadena’s twice-yearly, multigenerational celebration of creative expression. Coordinated by the city’s Cultural Affairs Division, the free, family-friendly event is a convivial affirmation that art, in all its myriad forms, is a meaningful presence in this community, one that can bring people together even during divisive times such as these

Emphasis is placed on community ties and artists, rather than marquee acts. Musical performances are underwritten by city-funded MiniGrants, and most are self-contained, with bands like JazzZone (at the Jackie Robinson Community Center) setting up in a new location to introduced their feel-good grooves to new audiences. Some, like pianist Vicki Ray and guitarist Scot Ray, plan to perform music “in response to” the artwork around them. (The Rays will be contemplating Carrie Ungerman’s large aluminum-steel-and-thread installations at Boston Court Pasadena.) Interaction between art and music is also promised at Women’s City Club, which will host pop-up chamber performances by Pasadena Symphony members. The Central Library, meanwhile, will be unusually festive, with mariachi players, Crown City Symphony, bossa nova quintet Along for the Ride, Pasadena Rose Poets, Theatre Americana actors, dancers, visual artists and more honoring California’s diverse history.

Elsewhere, Lexie Helgerson and Dean Vivirito, musically known as Who Can Sleep, will perform against “MOONS” at ArtCenter’s Williamson Gallery. The duo’s pop sensibilities have merged with visual artistry to eye-catching effect in photo spreads and their “Jean Seberg” video, so how they react to the celestially inspired exhibit could be intriguing.

The steps of City Hall create a prime location for bands, although Moonie Moonie’s dreamy pop compositions lend themselves to more intimate settings. The mingled tones of clarinet, guitars, harmonium and percussion should soothe visitors queuing up on Garfield to catch shuttles throughout the night.

Veterans of the greater Pasadena/Southland country and bluegrass scene, Wreck N Sow will unpack their acoustic instruments and irreverent humor at the Armory Center for the Arts, which is hosting the “Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait” exhibit, about a respected three-generation family of Inuit artists in the Canadian Arctic. In some ways, theirs may be the evening’s most complementary pairing of music and art.  

ArtNight takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at venues across Pasadena: A Room to Create, Armory Center for the Arts, ArtCenter College of Design, artWorks Teen Center, Boston Court Pasadena, City of Pasadena City Hall, the Gamble House, Jackie Robinson Community Center, KidSpace Children’s Museum, Light Bringer Project @ Day One, Norton Simon Museum, Parson’s Nose Theater, Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Pasadena Museum of History, Red Hen Press, USC Pacific Asia Museum, and Women’s City Club. Free and open to the public. Maps will be available at ArtNight venues. Visit for details about exhibits, specific music performances, and shuttles.