McKinley Elementary School Mural – Pasadena CA

Project type: Art Works, Murals
Quality of Information:
Site Survival:
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This 16′ x 40′, oil on canvas mural, “Modern Education/School Activities,” was completed in 1942 by Frank Tolles Chamberlin through the PWAP. It adorns the school library. The artist described its theme as “youth and its activities.” According to Pasadena News Now, “With a typical Southern California landscape as a backdrop, forty-nine students of different backgrounds participate in a number of activities such as chemistry, sculpture, radio transmission, horseback riding and blacksmithing. The mural conveys the artist’s passion and faith in the power of education.” The mural received much-needed restoration work in 2017.

Source notes

New Deal Art Registry /CaliforniaLeads.pdf

Description by the artist at:

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

325 S Oak Knoll Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Location notes:
Formerly the McKinley Junior High School, this is now a K-8 school.

Coordinates: 34.140228, -118.135197

4 comments on “McKinley Elementary School Mural – Pasadena CA

  1. Diane Nunez

    Im probably grasping at straws but i was wondering how i can look at pictures of McKinley Junior High the year i graduated. i would really appreciate the help. The year was 1972. Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Diane — Sorry that we don’t have photos for you. Best of luck on your search!

  2. Rudy Martinez


    I have read that muralist, Myer Shaffer, painted a fresco at “McKinley Middle School” in S. Pasadena, possibly before Chamberlin. Two of Shaffer’s late 1930s WPA murals, one at the L. A. Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Duarte, (now City of Hope), and the other at the Mount Sinai Home for the Chronic Invalids in East Los Angeles (no longer exists), were whitewashed by the end of 1938; most likely, too political.
    Do you have any information about his mural at McKinley?

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