Author Archives: admin-cma

Gala at Home – Sunday, October 4

Fall is the season of gratitude, and we continue to appreciate and celebrate the arts and the artists who have helped shape our beloved community. This year’s Claremont Museum of Art Gala on Sunday, October 4 will be a virtual event featuring a video program, boxed dinners from Spaggi’s, and an art auction featuring a wide variety of enticing items for art lovers.

Video Program

Everyone is invited to watch the premiere of CMA’s “Gala at Home” program at 7 p.m. on October 4 on the Claremont Museum of Art YouTube channel.

  • A virtual tour through the new exhibition, Inside Out: Emerging from Isolation, featuring recent work by 28 area artists
  • A showcase of Project ARTstART, the museum’s arts education program for emerging student artists
  • An insider’s look at the newly seismically-retrofitted rooms, with schematics envisioning the finished galleries and new community room. The pandemic has not stopped CMA from moving forward with exciting plans for Phase 2.

Online Auction

Online Auction

Preview begins on September 30. Bidding starts at 7:30 pm on October 4 and continues through October 11.

  • Paintings by Fr. Bill Moore SS.CC, Phil Dike, James Strombotne, James Fuller and Rebecca Hamm
  • Ceramic Torso by Harrison McIntosh, bronze horse by Barbara Beretich, glass by Paul Brayton, mask by Dee Marcellus Cole and jewelry by Ahlene Welsh
  • Alluring destinations and more…

Box Dinner

Make your dinner reservations now.

  • Special box dinners from Spaggi’s with a selection of three tasty entrees, delicious sides and a dessert for $50
  • Available for curbside pickup at the Claremont Museum of Art from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, October 4
  • Take your dinner home to enjoy with your favorite libations

Sponsors

The gala celebrates the important role art plays in all of our lives and CMA’s commitment to promoting the arts in our local community. Many thanks to our Gala Sponsors and to Gould Asset Management LLC for generously sponsoring the Inside Out exhibition.

Gold Gala Sponsors
Barbara Brown
Claremont Lincoln University
The Reisman Family (in memory of David Reisman)
Perdita Sheirich
Ahlene Welsh

Silver Gala Sponsors
Susan Allen
Sandy Baldonado
Barbara Musselman
Marilyn Ray
Mary and Fritz Weis

Inside Out: Emerging from Isolation

Exhibition dates: Through November 29, 2020
See exhibition online soon

As all our lives are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, local artists have continued their creative work in their homes and studios. Working from inside—physically and psychologically—they have expressed and reflected on their experience through their art. While the Museum presented virtual tours of artists’ studios during this time of isolation, we also invited those who participated to select a work to include in this exhibition, which is generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

Participating artists were asked to select and submit one work produced or completed since March 2020, along with a brief statement about it. With no restrictions on medium, size, style or subject, the resulting exhibition offers a richly varied collection of highly individual works of art—paintings, sculpture, quilts, neon; figurative and abstract. At the same time, shared realities of the pandemic emerge. There are strong women, dreams, masks (real, historical, metaphorical); compositions that are hopeful, wistful, provocative, edgy; some depict the solace of nature, others the home. Interestingly, many of the artists work with layers, collage, intersecting and blending parts in a way that seems to echo the simultaneity of varied, even conflicting, feelings and experiences. Their words reflect feelings of frailty and confusion, but also the centering power of making art and the comfort of a virtual community of artists.

Alba Cisneros
Co-Vida, 2020
Ceramic tile, Venetian tile, travertine, Smalti, and custom high fire ceramic pieces

This certainly has been a crazy year so far, being cooped up and unable to visit with friends and family and do so many other things. I have been working in multiple forms – sewing masks, embroidering, creating ceramic logo tiles, fabricating mosaic addresses, building planters for veggie and flower gardens, and building a fence to create space to store “finds” that I can use in future projects, wood, steel frames, French doors, more tile – you get the picture, I love to recycle!

When the idea of the “Inside Out ” show came up, I couldn’t wait to see what other artists had been up to while in quarantine. I headed out to the studio one afternoon and pulled out all the leftover ceramic tiles I’d made for a recent project. How wonderful to create something for the fun of it! No pressure, I haven’t done that in years!

Barry Cisneros
Marcia’s Shore Birds, 2020
Gouache

Born into a family of artists, I have lived most of my life in Claremont. Majoring in European History and Studio Art at Pitzer College, I studied with Carl Hertel, Aldo Casanova, and Karl Benjamin, but did not become a full-time artist until 2010.

I work with acrylic, watercolor, gouache, pencil and charcoal, focusing on landscapes, seascapes, portraits and local history. I prefer to produce my works for others and do so very rarely for myself. My only art philosophy or manifesto is that I dislike manifestos.

Steve Comba
Elegy, 2020
Oil on canvas

I began this painting as an addition to an ongoing series based upon the parable of Icarus. It was developed from a series of photographs I had taken on a visit to Washington D.C. several years ago. The original intent was to challenge myself to create a sky that was both solid and ethereal, and depict an image promoting the idea of separation from the crowd.

Then COVID-19 appeared. The stay-at-home order started for me on Thursday, March 19. On that day I began the final plans for placement of the pigeons, having already begun the process of building the sky in a pointillist manner. After designating the position of each bird, I counted them. Nineteen. Elegy is a mournful poem. What I intended to be a parable of hubris and overreach has instead become one of social distancing and herd mentality. Almost as if it is meant to be.

Gina Lawson Egan
Delightful Diversions, 2020
Ceramic, colored slip, stain and glaze, cone 1

During this quarantine, I began a task to use up all my partial spare bags of clay I have stored here and there in my studio. Delightful Diversions is a sculpture born of this task.  The large figure came first with the additions to the feet, followed by the character behind in a handstand position. There is pandemonium all around her, but she sits thoughtfully, looking downward at her hands, which hold an ambiguous item.

Although these figures are playful and amusing, they also speak about multi-tasking and demands that can plague us with our desire to reach goals. It is not clear if she is truly peaceful as she appears or barely holding it together with the help of her distractions. Another consideration, and a more hopeful interpretation, is that she is able to sit serenely because of the help of her friends and the distractions.

Paul Faulstich
Red-tailed Hawk, 2020
Acrylic and latex on birch panel

Solitude is characteristic of the day-to-day lives of many creatures. During this time of safer-at-home measures, it strikes me that my paintings and photographs often depict solitary animals. Like humans, most animals are social creatures to some degree, so to be found in the solitude they often choose. Most of us are sequestered right now, but with any luck, we’re not entirely alone.

In this time of seclusion, I have come to think of my house as an obscura, a dimmed enclosure from which the world is viewed. At the same time, we are not unlike the thermals on which the red-tailed hawk soars high above, in great sweeps. We have no immutable borders and we exist like the air currents; blending, blending.

Sumi Foley
Venus, 2020
Small pieces of coloured silk as pigment on canvas

The oldest living thing on our planet is the 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine tree. Its stately, tenacious presence reminds us that 5,000 years ago we humans were already making art; and that no matter what, we will continue to do so for the next 5,000 years.

Born in Osaka, Japan, I have been making fabric art for more than 30 years. “I use silk given to me by family, friends and fans of my art. Just like humans, each piece has a story and its own design and color. When light falls on the surface of the fabric, magic happens. Colors vibrate and bounce the light into the air, exciting the imagination and summoning the creativity essential for human life. The human story is more beautiful when, together, we use imagination creatively. I see my art as a small part of the quest for peace in the human family. It will be my footprint after I am gone.”

Cathy Garcia
The Three Amigos, 2020
Ceramic mosaic over miscellaneous objects

Those of us who enjoy creating art are fortunate because we can enter that “slip stream” and forget the chaos and worry around us. A challenge is finding materials to use without risking safety. Repurposing what we have into something new is exciting.

My submission “3 Amigos” is composed of 3 clay pipes, a lamp base, a pitcher, a chiminea, and 3 mannequin heads covered in scraps of tile and pottery. The piece is in remembrance of all those affected by our current immigration policy.

Moving into “slow” mode has given me time to rethink ways of operating. I borrowed an idea from a beautiful fellow artist, Sandy Garcia, and made a mini-gallery outside my home to give walkers something new, cheerful and hopeful to see as they stroll our neighborhood during the pandemic.

Sandy Garcia
Patron Saint of Comfort, 2020
Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

A story reopened my emotions to paint this painting. In early 2020 during a folk painting workshop, a participant, a woman, was in the painting. As I reached down to check on her progress, she said to me, “I took care of you when you were admitted at San Antonio Hospital”. Although I couldn’t remember her, I excused myself from the group to compose myself and a flood of tears and emotions. I share with you, my memory of the hospital from years ago, while recovering from gastric cancer surgery. I had been very sick, did not remember her but was feeling so thankful for her care and that she remembered me after all these years.

She’s still an ICU nurse caring for others. Her name is Jasmine. During the pandemic isolation, I felt impelled to paint “Angel Patron Saint”, a protector watching over Jasmine and all first responders.

Athena Hahn
One of Three Bares, 2020
Mixed Media

During this time in the cave, we have had time to reflect on our ‘bear/bare’ nature. Our relationship to our internal nature and also our relationship to ourselves as part of nature. What is too big, too little, just right? How does that relationship change throughout our lives? This is the first of three paintings musing on that relationship.

I hold a B.A. from Pitzer College, and an M.F.A. from California State University Fullerton. I recently completed a large 32 ft. mural for the children’s section of the Pomona Public Library titled The Sun, The Moon, The Stars . . . and Everything.

Rebecca Hamm
Radical Contemplation, 2020
Acrylic on paper

My work presents where nature overcomes and reclaims– gradually or dramatically—human constructs.

I create energetic, abstracted visions that overflow with color and hidden life. At a distance, the stream emerges and the rock forms within a constant state of flux. The striking beauty of nature is laced with the aching to devastation. is at once mysterious and comforting; fascinating and awe inspiring; terrifying and instructive.

In my paintings, a momentary glimpse into the wild places around us becomes a glimmering composition honoring unsettling beauty and evidence of transformation. Layered hues and shifting images hint at the thin veil of paper and paint while provoking a view into a deeper contemplation. Where my painting process leads is mysterious and unpredictable. These works are not intended to be a representation or a record, yet they shimmer as memorials to the experiential.

Aleta Jacobson
Dreaming of the Forest , 2020
Mixed media on canvas

At the beginning of the year, I reflected on my art, examining my style, themes, and direction. March gave me more time to devote to my artistic journey. I tried things I didn’t think I’d like. I challenged myself to jump into new colors I’d never used before. I also revisited watercolor and explored a watery, transparent, almost-not-there style. I created minimalist collages that really excited me. I made my own materials by staining papers with watercolor and acrylic paints. I needed these experiments and play during these times of isolation.

I’m now teaching via Zoom and I’m working on creating online classes that will be found on my website. I’m holding “open studio” time for a few artists, and am learning many things about teaching online and what students need to keep creating.

Christy Johnson
Scrappy, 2020
Quilt

Forty-five years ago, my life was consumed with the responsibilities of wife, mother, and housekeeper. These activities were mostly fleeting, unremarkable, even routine – not necessarily unimportant or unfulfilling, but not measurable. To balance my life, I became involved in the visual arts, making tangible, concrete objects (ceramics at first, but after retiring, my repertoire includes quilting as well). My creativity generated something that I could point to and say, “This is what I did today.” My art provides an actual accounting of work, effort, and, especially, expression. It is dependent on visual imagination but conveyed through real physical materials—what I can touch, see, and feel.

Paul Kittlaus
Untitled # 231, 2020
Acrylic on cotton canvas

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” Henry Moore was right. Art is a way to push back against the darkness, against the political effort to lock us up in our fear, the COVID-19 fear that hangs death over our heads and locks us in, separate from one another; the racism that separates us by skin color; the economic system that rewards some but not all; the privileges awarded to some but not all.

Georgia O’Keeffe said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.” I seek through my art to spread light against the darkness. This painting, untitled #231, is a landscape of colors seeking harmony.

Jacqueline Knell
Sheltered: Breakfast Room.
The Schmear, 2020
Oil

My offbeat composition depicts a comforting indulgence while sheltering. #morningnews #nolox #ourhouse #lockdown #paintingathome

Jackie Leishman
Yosemite 46, 2020
Printmaking ink, pastel, and collage on paper

The world is collage to me. I’m drawn to what happens at the edges and among the layers, where different materials meet. I want to show the sometimes raw joints, the roughness of their coming together, to be candid about the process of layering, and to leave the hand of the artist apparent. The push-pull between two ideas intrigues me most, the animating tensions between destruction and creation, expansion and contraction, explosion and implosion.

Richard Martinez
Feeding Frenzy, 2020
Watercolor

When I painted this, I was thinking of summertime in Balboa when my kids were young. I used to take them fishing quite a bit in the harbor and when the sun started to set, the birds would dodge around following the fishing boats. As the fish were being cleaned, the birds were looking for a meal. I loved the view and the experience of being there with my children, so I sketched the scene in my mind.

Sylvia Megerdichian
Comfort Zone, 2020
Acrylic and collage

Since 2015 my work has focused on the many-faceted faces of women across cultural and geographic boundaries. My work begins with a question, “Who is that woman?” As women we have our inner faces and outer faces, our private and public personnas.

My painting process begins with layering the paint, adding collage, drawing and making marks on the painting. Color is always with me. The COVID-19 pandemic and requisite face coverings led to my new series, Women and Masks. My studio has always been my safe place. Hence my painting, “Comfort Zone”.

Jerry Owens
Autumn Road Home, 2020
Oil on stretched canvas

Landscapes are challenging. To be considered artistic I believe the process is the element that can set it apart. For me, especially during this pandemic, I’ve concentrated on lifting and layering my oil painting to give it a sense of depth and character. After I thought this painting was finished, I took it a step further by using a thin glaze of rainbow colors from top to bottom to natural light as we see it.

T. Robert Pacini
Stack, 2020
Ceramic

This work represents the concept of stacks. While a Guest Artist in Slovenia, walking along roads in the forest, I came upon stacks of neatly piled sticks and branches. This is done so that those who need wood can stop and pick from the stacks.  Within the social and cultural history of the Slovenian people, the notion that “the whole is greater than the individual parts” is reflected in these stacks.

This experience left me with questions about society and conscious evolution or revolution. To explore this, I have taken the “stack” and turned it on its head, turned it on its side, manipulated it into a new architectural form, seeking to find my own balance of personal conscious evolution and how that might contribute to society.

Damian Ross
Swirling and Whirling Trout, 2020
Ceramics

I wanted to organize my trout into a stream of fish swimming, swirling, and whirling. It refers to COVID-19, as my brain has been swirling, and whirling, as a teacher during this time.  Exhibitions have been postponed, and the future is filled with uncertainty for many artists. I miss interacting with students, colleagues, friends, and family. I’ve been frustrated, confused, and depressed.

Some hatchery trout in the 1990s were infected with something called Whirling Disease, brought here from Europe in the 1930s. Some wild trout and other fish may have been immune, others may have carried it, some were infected and died.  Whirling Disease was a problem for several years, then disappeared. Will it recur? Probably. But, as with COVID-19 let’s hope not.

Steve Rushingwind Ruiz
Burned Out, 2020
Wood

Born in 1959 in Pomona, I am a Native American musician, sculptor and painter. My giant burnt match sculpture represents the loneliness I feel when removed from the places, people and things that have been part of my daily routine. I am now an island unto myself. The stress and uncertainty of life in isolation have left me feeling burned out, used up. All synapses have been exhausted, leaving my mind nothing but a burned and charred membrane. This match represents the current situation, life as we know it.

Anne Seltzer
She Decided, 2020
Acrylic on stretched canvas

I have been painting all my life. My mother was an artist who encouraged me. I have used a variety of mediums and styles, and most recently have returned to an approach that is a favorite indulgence: “storypaintings”. These are always autobiographical and return me to my earliest joy: coloring within the lines. The storylines and drawings are simple, embellished with color.

She Decided was the storypainting that brought me back to work after months of not painting at all. With the pandemic and the isolation, I couldn’t face art: I was tired, discouraged, and afraid. But art is an escape from all for me; even if these feelings appear (and they do), they are not my focus as I carefully color in the lines. I decided to return to the studio to paint in hopes of distracting myself from the reality we are all experiencing.

David Svenson
LIFE, 2020
Glass, neon, and paint

We are so lucky to be artists and to have studios and land to survive on. I feel for many who aren’t so fortunate and who have no outlet. As the COVID-19 months drag on, there has been plenty of time to think about life, as we ponder those friends and dear ones who have sadly walked into the woods.

So, back in the neon studio after a long hiatus, I have taken the opportunity to regain my glass bending skills. LIFE, a favorite cereal and vintage logo growing up, sounded like a good and fitting practice for the here and now. My attitude toward our life and times is challenged by my limited ability to make art. But I keep trying.

Georgette Unis
Horizon Lines #203, 2020
Acrylic on canvas

When the shelter-in-place directive came, I thought it would be for a few weeks, then a month, two, three more and now, no clear reprieve. The isolation is quiet, meditative and reminiscent of my childhood summers in Arizona, when the merciless sun kept us inside, protected by air conditioning, passing time reading and snacking on candy bars.  And then there are the long drives north on Rt. 395, through the Mojave Desert, its horizon lines seemingly endless until we reach our beloved Sierras, rivers, lakes and forests, the inspiration for my paintings and poetry.

Jane Park Wells
Hope/Belief, 2020
Collage and acrylic on wood

This painting is one of a new series entitled Painting for Hope, a continuation of my “Hope” paintings that I first showed at Claremont Graduate University in 2017. That exhibition featured 1,000 folded origami cranes as symbols of hope. During the coronavirus pandemic and the recent Black Lives Matter protests, we all need hope more than ever.

In the “Painting for Hope” series, I started with a collage of frontpage articles from recent newspapers, which I use as “dark” background noise.” I then painted a web of whimsical lines over the paper collage and dotted the web here and there with origami crane images, all to symbolize hope in the midst of a pandemic and protests.

Maureen Wheeler
Warrior Woman, 2020
Stained ceramic

Warrior Woman was an experiment in technique. I was inspired, by workshops and many of the artists around me at AMOCA, to try slab construction on a large piece. This particular technique requires tearing the slabs to create a rough edge and creating a heavily textured surface by stamping. Many of the torn pieces were stiff enough that a “frame” was not required, only wadded newspaper. The primary benefit of slabs is that construction is quicker and there appears to be less cracking. Being a Resident Artist at AMOCA allows me to work in my own space. There, I sprayed the piece with stain and had it fired.

Larry White
Anaszi, 2020
Mixed media, sumi ink on Arches cover with stains

I especially enjoy the spontaneity that comes with creating mixed media sculpture and paintings. I’m primarily an intuitive artist. I rarely plan. Usually, it’s just apprehension and anticipation. This is what I prefer. I pursue the immediacy of eventual content. I like to think of it as a retrospective of movement through time.

Carol Wiese
Masked Pain and Plague, 2020
Multimedia acrylic and collage

My mixed media work was made in an attempt to understand our experience during this time. The historical bird-like mask of the Middle Ages was often called The Crow, meant to protect against the 14th-century plague known as the Black Death. This imagery and terminology call up both the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, drawing together the two crises now dominating our lives. My hope is that we can unmask our fear and pain and be a better world after our experiences of 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Solidarity

Statement of Solidarity

We are joining with many others across the country to stand in support of the Black community during this time of civil protest against injustice and racism.

The Claremont Museum of Art is resolute in our commitment to serve the public in ways that respect the plurality of our communities and reflect our policy to ensure equity, diversity, inclusion and access to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

We pledge to continue to do our part to help build a community that is safe and secure for everyone.

Claremont Museum of Art Closed through April

March 18, 2020 – Out of concern for visitors and staff, the Board of the Claremont Museum of Art has made the decision to close the museum through April 30, 2020. Though we had hoped to keep the museum open so that our visitors could look to art for inspiration and solace in these uncertain times, we believe that closure is the best way for us to support public health officials in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The current exhibition, Vanguard: Origins of Tierra del Sol Arts in Claremont featuring Helen Rae, is closing sooner than scheduled and the upcoming StART It Up student exhibition will not take place this year.

The exhibition Furious Garden, with new works by Karen Kitchel, Deena Capparelli and Cj Jilek, was scheduled to open on May 2. These plans will be reevaluated as public health guidelines unfold and we will notify you when a new schedule is established.

We look forward to the day that the museum reopens. In the meantime, CMA is posting videos and art activity resources on social media.

Furious Garden

Exhibition dates: December 5, 2020 – April 11, 2021
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. First St., Claremont

The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition Furious Garden dynamically juxtaposes new paintings by Karen Kitchel and Deena Capparelli, and ceramic sculptures by Cj Jilek, all of whom focus on the extraordinary power and beauty of natural flora.

In this “furious garden,” three contemporary artists re-envision and re-construct the pastoral metaphors with which we’re familiar. Naughty, disobedient, and extravagant, this view of “garden” is active and provocative, intent on cultivating new pathways and relationships between landscape and occupant.

The schedule for the exhibition, organized by Rebecca Hamm and the artists, may be adjusted according to current events.

About the Exhibition

Karen Kitchel, detail of Three Sisters, 2020, Acrylic, Powdered Pigments and Oil/burlap

Karen Kitchel‘s environmentally resonant works embody a deep and sustained effort to transform and transcend landscape painting as it is commonly understood. Unconventional combinations of image, material, and form conspire to energize and subvert this traditional genre. Her paintings in Furious Garden draw upon her own gardening practice, surviving the 2017 Thomas Fire, and contemplating issues of environmental sustainability.

The physical environment drives the work of Pasadena artist Deena Capparelli. In recent years, her interests in California native plants and garden design have merged with her work as a painter, sculptor and interdisciplinary collaborator. Her recent sabbatical research took her to England, Germany, and the Atlantic Coast of the U.S., studying transatlantic relationships among historical gardens, and 18th century landscape paintings influenced by the “picturesque,” an aesthetic ideal of the time. These activities and influences have fueled what she refers to has her “pseudo-imaginary” landscape paintings.

Cj Jilek, Perspective, 2017, Stoneware, Underglaze, Flocking, Vintage Millinery Elements

Inspired by the sensuality of the natural world, Cj Jilek uses botanical forms, with their openly displayed reproductive elements, as a metaphor for human sexuality. Exaggerated stamens and pistils create a visual language that relates closely to characteristics of the human body.  These biomorphic forms are designed to lead the viewer to a subconscious association between nature and the human instinct of attraction. In the artist’s words, “Through my work I’m questioning ideas of beauty, eroticism, adaptation, acceptance, attraction, and desire.”

About the Artists

Deena Capparelli grew up in Rancho Cucamonga.  While spending childhood summers in Claremont and Padua Hills, she studied sculpture with Betty Davenport Ford.  Determined to pursue art as her life’s calling, she graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a B.F.A. in Sculpture, and, in 1984, she received an M.F.A. in Drawing and Sculpture from Claremont Graduate University.

Now a professor of Drawing and Sculpture at Pasadena City College, Capparelli has exhibited her work widely. Combining her interest in native plants, garden design, and painting and sculpture, she has worked with arts collectives including Moisture, a multi-year project in the Mojave Desert and an interdisciplinary Science and Art Block program at Pasadena City College.

A native of Chicago, Cj Jilek’s education includes a B.F.A. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and an M.F.A. from Utah State University in Logan. She studied abroad in Australia and Korea and had a residency in a traditional ceramic factory in Boleslawiec, Poland. Although her career began as a wood-fire artist, her exploration of new sculptural forms led her to mid-range porcelain.

For nearly 20 years Jilek has taught for community studio programs including Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Carbondale Clay Center, The Clay House, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). Currently residing in Southern California, she serves as an adjunct professor of ceramics at Chaffey, Saddleback, and Mt San Antonio Colleges. During summers she travels, leading ceramic workshops around the world. Learn more about her work at https://cjjilekartist.com

Watch Cj Jilek’s online artist talk presented by the Maloof Foundation.
https://youtu.be/Bp3d_xkc-SA

Karen Kitchel received her B.A. in art from Kalamazoo College, 1979, and an M.F.A. in Painting from Claremont Graduate University, 1982. Her work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the U.S., and are to be found in numerous private and public collections, including the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Tucson Museum of Art, the U.S. State Department, the National Museum of Poland, and many others.

Kitchel lives and works in Ventura, California. Her work is represented by Robischon Gallery, Denver; and Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe and New York. Learn more about her work at www.karenkitchel.com

A Southern California native, Rebecca Hamm received her B.A. from California Polytechnic University, Pomona and her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She shows her artwork throughout the region and has taught a wide variety of fine art and design courses at three local universities. Her writings on creativity and on inclusivity in the arts have been published internationally, and she was a featured presenter for a TedX program. Hamm is Director of Arts for the Tierra del Sol Foundation and was honored by Senator Carol Liu as “Woman of the Year” 2015, in the 25th senatorial district of California.

The Claremont Museum of Art Goes Beyond Beauty in Furious Garden

Exhibition Dates: May 1-July 26, 2020
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. First St., Claremont

February 27, 2020 – The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition Furious Garden dynamically juxtaposes new paintings by Karen Kitchel and Deena Capparelli, and ceramic sculptures by Cj Jilek, all of whom focus on the extraordinary power and beauty of natural flora.

The exhibition, which is organized by Rebecca Hamm and the artists, will open on Saturday, May 2 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. during Art Walk and remain on view through July 26, 2020. The Claremont Museum of Art, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street, is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information visit http://claremontmuseum.org

About the Exhibition

Karen Kitchel, detail of Three Sisters, 2020, Acrylic, Powdered Pigments and Oil/burlap

Karen Kitchel‘s environmentally resonant works embody a deep and sustained effort to transform and transcend landscape painting as it is commonly understood. Unconventional combinations of image, material, and form conspire to energize and subvert this traditional genre. Her paintings in Furious Garden draw upon her own gardening practice, surviving the 2017 Thomas Fire, and contemplating issues of environmental sustainability.

The physical environment drives the work of Pasadena artist Deena Capparelli. In recent years, her interests in California native plants and garden design have merged with her work as a painter, sculptor and interdisciplinary collaborator. Her recent sabbatical research took her to England, Germany, and the Atlantic Coast of the U.S., studying transatlantic relationships among historical gardens, and 18th century landscape paintings influenced by the “picturesque,” an aesthetic ideal of the time. These activities and influences have fueled what she refers to has her “pseudo-imaginary” landscape paintings.

Cj Jilek, Perspective, 2017, Stoneware, Underglaze, Flocking, Vintage Millinery Elements

Inspired by the sensuality of the natural world, Cj Jilek uses botanical forms, with their openly displayed reproductive elements, as a metaphor for human sexuality. Exaggerated stamens and pistils create a visual language that relates closely to characteristics of the human body.  These biomorphic forms are designed to lead the viewer to a subconscious association between nature and the human instinct of attraction. In the artist’s words, “Through my work I’m questioning ideas of beauty, eroticism, adaptation, acceptance, attraction, and desire.”

About the Artists

Deena Capparelli grew up in Rancho Cucamonga.  While spending childhood summers in Claremont and Padua Hills, she studied sculpture with Betty Davenport Ford.  Determined to pursue art as her life’s calling, she graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a B.F.A. in Sculpture, and, in 1984, she received an M.F.A. in Drawing and Sculpture from Claremont Graduate University.

Now a professor of Drawing and Sculpture at Pasadena City College, Capparelli has exhibited her work widely.  Combining her interest in native plants, garden design, and painting and sculpture, she has worked with arts collectives including Moisture, a multi-year project in the Mojave Desert and an interdisciplinary Science and Art Block program at Pasadena City College.

A native of Chicago, Cj Jilek’s education includes a B.F.A. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and an M.F.A. from Utah State University in Logan. She studied abroad in Australia and Korea and had a residency in a traditional ceramic factory in Boleslawiec, Poland. Although her career began as a wood-fire artist, her exploration of new sculptural forms led her to mid-range porcelain.

For nearly 20 years Jilek has taught for community studio programs including Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Carbondale Clay Center, The Clay House, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). Currently residing in Southern California, she serves as an adjunct professor of ceramics at Chaffey, Saddleback, and Mt San Antonio Colleges. During summers she travels, leading ceramic workshops around the world. Learn more about her work at https://cjjilekartist.com

Karen Kitchel received her B.A. in art from Kalamazoo College, 1979, and an M.F.A. in Painting from Claremont Graduate University, 1982. Her work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the U.S., and are to be found in numerous private and public collections, including the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Joslyn Art Museum, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Tucson Museum of Art, the U.S. State Department, the National Museum of Poland, and many others.

Kitchel lives and works in Ventura, California. Her work is represented by Robischon Gallery, Denver; and Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe and New York. Learn more about her work at www.karenkitchel.com

A Southern California native, Rebecca Hamm received her B.A. from California Polytechnic University, Pomona and her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She shows her artwork throughout the region and has taught a wide variety of fine art and design courses at three local universities. Her writings on creativity and on inclusivity in the arts have been published internationally, and she was a featured presenter for a TedX program. Hamm is Director of Arts for the Tierra del Sol Foundation and was honored by Senator Carol Liu as “Woman of the Year” 2015, in the 25th senatorial district of California.

Helen Rae and Artists of Tierra del Sol Bring Their Unique Vision Home to Claremont

Exhibition dates: December 7, 2019 – March 15, 2020
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. First St., Claremont

Thirty years ago, a group of visionary artists from Tierra del Sol Foundation opened the doors of the First Street Gallery Art Center in Claremont. Since then, Tierra and its hundreds of trailblazing artists have been in the vanguard, forging professional pathways while advancing the cause of inclusivity in the art world.

The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition Vanguard: Origins of Tierra del Sol Arts in Claremont featuring Helen Rae, co-curated by Rebecca Hamm and Paige Wery, represents 15 artists from the Claremont years whose remarkable creative expressions have influenced and enriched contemporary art in Southern California and beyond. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Sandy Baldonado, Alta Rancho Pet & Bird Hospital, and Susan Guntner.

Vanguard is co-curated by Rebecca Hamm, artist, educator and Director of Arts for Tierra del Sol, working with Tierra since 1990; and Paige Wery, past owner of The Good Luck Gallery (2014-19), publisher of Artillery Magazine (2007-13), and new Director of Tierra del Sol Gallery. Tierra del Sol Progressive Art Studios are now located in Upland and Sunland.


Video of Panel Discussion: Paige Wery, David Pagel and Rebecca Hamm discuss their diverse relationships with artist Helen Rae on January 26, 2020.


Featured Artist Helen Rae

Featured artist Helen RaeHelen Rae, who is from Claremont, is one of the studio’s founding artists, joining it at the age of 50. Since then, she has become an internationally recognized artist with a prestigious list of accomplishments including national and international exhibitions, numerous publications and reviews, and a place in distinguished private collections.

In a 2015 Gallery Magazine feature on Rae, David Pagel, well-known art critic, educator, and curator, wrote, “Every square inch of her meticulously composed and vigorously colored-in surfaces is unique, distinct, singular. To look at her works is to know that you are in the presence of someone who sees the world anew every split second. That is thrilling. It’s also terrifying. And I, for one, am thankful that Rae has given me a glimpse of the world as she sees it.”

Helen Rae, born in 1938, has been producing art with Tierra del Sol Foundation’s progressive studios for adults with developmental disabilities for the last thirty years. Rae utilizes fashion magazines as a point of departure, elevating the source material to expose a world of momentous, subversive vision.

Composed using colored pencil and graphite, Rae creates dense, profoundly fractured drawings that are instantly recognizable and inescapably alluring. A bold use of color and sophisticated command of design culminates in a torrent of pattern and texture.

Helen Rae has been featured in Vogue and Vulture, among many other publications, and has received solo shows at The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles, First Street Gallery, Claremont, and White Columns, New York.

Artists of Tierra del Sol

Anthony Barnes

Anthony BarnesAnthony Barnes has worked as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol since 1990. Barnes works from imagination and from life, forming strong graphic images in his artwork. His energetic style and use of powerful line is recognizable in both two and three-dimensional media. Barnes compositions range from images that knit together eclectic narratives to presentations of entrancing drawings of the banal. He works with a variety of media such as color markers, pencils, watercolor, ink, acrylic and clay to create works that are simultaneously mysterious and a delightfully light-hearted.

Barnes’ work has been exhibition continuously since 1990 and includes shows in Sacramento, Washington D.C., Scotland and Japan. His paintings have twice been selected by the San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center for its promotional campaigns.

John Boyer

John BoyerJohn Boyer, born in 1931 worked with the progressive studios of Tierra del Sol during his final years from 1993 through 2005. He grew up in Oregon and, after moving to Southern California as a young man, taught himself to draw.  Boyer showed a mastery of composition and narrative in drawing and painting. He used vivid oil pastels, graphite, and acrylic paint to describe complex architectural landscapes. Interiors and exteriors were exposed simultaneously in rich compositions that center on an array of characters.  Boyer’s characters exhibited similar features yet were distinguishable by unique costumes.  Whether heads-of-state, religious icons, or Hollywood horror movie characters, his attention to detail and bold, colorful style revealed a strong storyline he was happy to share with the interested admirer.

Boyer’s work has been exhibited in many shows at the First Street Gallery, the studios of Tierra del Sol, and many art galleries and venues including the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles, Club Nokia Los Angeles, and The Claremont Graduate University.

Mary Lou Dimsdale

Mary Lou DimsdaleMary Lou Dimsdale has worked as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol Foundation since 2009. Mary Lou Dimsdale is a painter who knows no boundaries when it comes to creating. Pulling inspiration out of anything from her own imagination to everyday scenes, Dimsdale carefully composes each painting with unbridled confidence and familiarity. Her application of paint is patient and remarkably intentional, which is evidenced in the small brush strokes and thoughtful application of line. Initially in representational colors, she now approaches her work with an extraordinary level of interpretive, less expected hues. Playing with line, perspective, scale, and the careful modulation of color and brush stroke, she draws the viewer into her whimsical and playful world.

Michael LeVell

Michael LavellIn 1989, Michael LeVell launched his professional art career when he began working with the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol. LeVell immediately presented a natural ability to draw landscape, furniture and architecture in perfect perspective which is also present in the intricate ceramic sculptures he creates. His devotion to the magazine Architectural Digest appears to inspire LeVell’s creative process. He often references the magazine’s photo spreads in his own compositions which also include color palettes and repeated motifs of his own design. A few of his series have diverted from this by including figurative elements, and another group of works show a mysterious and delightful pattern of ovals interwoven throughout the composition.

LeVell is one of the original eight artists who helped found First Street Gallery and the studio arts programs in 1989. He was honored with a retrospective exhibition in 2014 to celebrate First Street Gallery’s 25th Anniversary. His work has been shown and sold around the world in such locations as Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, San Francisco and Japan.  White Columns Gallery, NY, presented a 2018 solo show of LeVell’s with the CONDO Art Fair, presenting LeVell’s elegant paintings and ceramic sculptures which gained critical acclaim including the praise of Jerry Saltz, Pulitzer Prize winning art critic with NYMagazine.  LeVell’s work has also been shown with the NADA Art Fair Miami and Felix Art Fair Los Angeles, courtesy of White Columns Gallery, NY.

Jackie Marsh

Jackie MarshJackie Marsh has worked as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol since 2009. Marsh produces whimsical depictions of animals and flowers in painting, drawing and ceramics. In her two and three dimensional work, gestural mark-making is combined with a vibrant and loosely applied color palette to define her delightfully exuberant style.

In addition to being a studio artist, Marsh also teaches art classes at Upland Art Studios, the Joslyn Senior Center and other venues. Her work has been exhibited at such venues as the Chan Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, California; California Baptist University, Riverside, California; Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California and Zask Gallery, Palos Verdes, California. When she’s not developing her art career, you can find Marsh at work providing compassionate care to the animals of local animal shelters.

John Maull

John MaullBorn in Los Angeles, California, John Maull has worked as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol since 2005. Maull’s work explores motifs which seem iconic on their surface but are based on idiosyncratic personal histories and experiences. His drawings include layers of floral patterns which border on abstraction through their repetition but also have references to Maull’s childhood home embedded in their imagery. In ceramics, he forms dogs and automobiles based on autobiographical references with colorful dripping and swirling glazes.

Maull has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Charles Long and Karen Kimmel and has exhibited his work across the United States.

Dru McKenzie

Dru McKenzieDru McKenzie has worked as an artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol since 1998. McKenzie’s signature style of thick contour lines is used to depict a menagerie of animals, portraits and mundane objects. Her bold stylized imagery and sense of color make strong graphic statements.

McKenzie has been honored with solo exhibitions at First Street Gallery Art Center and at the 24 Hour Gallery in Pasadena, CA. Her work has also been featured in exhibitions at The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Berenberg Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; Gensler, Santa Monica, California; Bridge Gallery at City Hall, Los Angeles, California; Da Vinci Gallery, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California; Art Enables, Washington D.C. and McKenzie was featured in an Artsy article by Doug Harvey, “10 L.A. Artists Whose Work You Probably Don’t Know—but Should”.

John Peterson

John Peterson has worked as a studio artist at the progressive studios of Tierra del Sol since 2013. Peterson is recognized for his unmistakable steeple-like ceramic towers and head sculptures. Peterson engages with the grid as a mode of abstraction in the least rigid of styles. Geometric forms and mark-making are contrasted by oozing glazes and sensuously rounded corners. He has also been expanding on this repertoire of elegantly odd forms through constant and adventuresome experimentation with surprisingly inventive results.

Peterson’s work has been exhibited at such venues as the Outsider Art Fair – New York, First Street Gallery, Claremont, California; Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California and Hellada Gallery, Long Beach, California.

Helen Rae

Helen RaeBorn in 1938, Rae has worked as a studio artist out of the progressive studios of Tierra del Sol since 1989. Her work, in colored pencil and graphite, is immediately striking for its vivid imagery and resonant use of color. Her drawings exude a strange power and sense of menace. Fierce or frightened-looking women, with distorted figures, often seem to be hiding or escaping in furtive dream-like adventures, emerging out of or disappearing into ornate floral patterns, shrouded in luxuriant foliage, or on the verge of vanishing into abstraction. Using fashion advertisements as a point of departure for otherworldly journeys into the unconscious, Helen holds up a shattered mirror to the source material, breaking down the images into something uniquely expressive.

Rae has had solo shows with The Good Luck Gallery in Los Angeles in 2019 and in 2015 and 2016. She has exhibited at The Outsider Art Fair in New York City and Paris and enjoyed her first solo show in New York City at White Columns in September 2017. Rae’s sudden emergence onto the international scene was named by Brut Force as one of the top six stories of self-taught and outsider art of 2016. One of her drawings has been reproduced by Exhibition A as a limited-edition print. Her work has earned her an Award of Recognition from the Artists Beyond Disabilities Exhibition in Pasadena, California and reviews in the Los Angeles Times, a Gallery Magazine feature by David Pagel, Art in America, Vogue.com, Gallerie Magazine, Art Absolument, Artnet, Artillery Magazine, Disparate Minds and The Creator’s Project (Vice) and critical acclaim by Pulitzer Prize winning art critic Jerry Saltz in NY Magazine.

Jose del Rio

Jose del RioJose del Rio was born January 25, 1921 in Puerto Rico. He attended school in Puerto Rico to the 9th grade. In 1947, when Jose’s mother died, he moved to New York City to live with his sister and in 1980 relocated to California. From 1990, Jose worked at the First Street Gallery and Art Center three days a week. The other two days a week he worked as a gardener.

Jose was a self-taught artist whose colorful artwork reflects his culture, religion and humanitarian nature. Birds, flowers, fountains, the sun are drawn with bright color markers. The inclusion of inspirational words, love, peace, harmony, prosperity, appear in both Spanish and English. All of Jose’s work was made as a gift for someone whose name he inscribed on the composition.

Jose’s sister remarks that Jose had always been fascinated with birds and would spend hours outdoors admiring birds and the landscape. Jose’s work has been exhibited nationally. He was recently awarded an honorable mention for his work at the Ontario Museum of History and Art. One of his linoleum block prints appeared on the cover of the international literary journal, the Santa Monica Review. Jose del Rio died of liver cancer in December of 1992 at the age of 72.

Hugo Rocha

Hugo RochaHugo Rocha has worked as a studio artist out of the progressive studios of the Tierra del Sol Foundation since 2007. Rocha’s recent work reinvents specific scenes he carefully selects from popular telenovela soap opera shows. Rocha’s narratively rich images employ his explosive use of color, expressive reinvention of the figure and intricately balanced compositional shapes which play with the viewer’s sense of depth. Rocha’s also creates perfectly balanced hand drawn typography to list names of popular singers, names of cities and map elements.

Rocha has exhibited his work in solo and group shows including Storytellers, Curated by Andreana Donahue and Tim Ortiz of Disparate Minds, at LAND Gallery, Brooklyn, NY and Summery Appeal, Curated by Doug Harvey, at The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles, CA and his recent solo exhibition at Tierra del Sol Gallery, Los Angeles.

Vicente Siso

Vicente SisoVicente Siso has worked as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol since 2012. Siso was born in Spain, grew up in Venezuela and studied in Miami and Trinidad.  He produces work in a variety of media, including painting, drawing and ceramics. In clay, Siso creates whimsical vessels and creatures which are finished with exuberant glaze applications. In painting and drawing, he produces architectural landscapes and portraiture with experimental applications of perspective, patterning and color palette.

Siso has taught ceramics classes at the Joslyn Senior Center in Claremont and volunteered at the Blaisdell Senior Center in Claremont. His work has been exhibited at such venues as The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Lamperouge, Los Angeles, California; Special Olympics World Games, Los Angeles, California; Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery, California; and California Baptist University, Riverside, California.

Isabel Vartanian

Isabel VarnanianIsabel Vartanian works as a studio artist at the progressive art studios of Tierra del Sol Foundation. Vartanian recalls creating artwork from a very young age. The art books she had in her parent’s house there continue to inspire her to produce inventive and stimulating compositions years later. She has grown tremendously as an artist and is expanding the creation of her own, stunning artistic narrative. A gifted observer of the visual realm, Vartanian locates a rich plethora of imagery from her everyday life, stories she loves, her dreams and imagination. She rearranges and intricately weaves the subject matter together using pattern, vivid hues and distorted scale to realize her dynamic, intriguing and full compositions. Working in acrylic, watercolor and colored pencil, Vartanian’s application of medium is consistently bold, heavy and definite, creating wonderfully strong worlds for the viewer to enter and contemplate.

Joe Zaldivar

Joe ZaldivarJoe Zaldivar was born in Rosemead, California and has worked with the progressive art studios of the Tierra del Sol Foundation since 2011. Zaldivar is known for his innovative use of Google Maps. Using his iPad as a reference material, he creates aerial view maps of locations around the world, often autobiographical, as well as street level renditions of the same locations using Google Maps Street View. The resulting works, which combine technology and perspectival architectural drawing in a style reminiscent of cartoon animation, twist time and space both spatially and conceptually.

Zaldivar has completed commissions for collectors and businesses across Southern California and exhibited internationally at such venues as The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; Joshua Tree Art Gallery, Joshua Tree, California and The Storefront for Art & Architecture, New York City and the Biennial of the Image, Chiasso, Switzerland.

Tierra del Sol Foundation

At Tierra del Sol’s Career in the Arts programs, artists demonstrate that creativity and artistic expression are not limited by physical or intellectual challenges. Our Progressive Studios offer individualized opportunities so that all people can develop creatively and be recognized as cultural producers, community leaders and professional artists.

At the Progressive Art Studios of Tierra del Sol, individuals discover career opportunities, advance their skills and craft their own professional career path in the arts. These pathways include a blending of these 3 roles:

  • An exhibiting artist with a strong studio practice of creating artwork, developing a portfolio and resume and exhibiting art locally and internationally
  • An arts educator designing lesson-plans and leading classes and presentations
  • A professional in Arts Management, including curation and exhibition design, and successfully developing and launching art businesses

In the summer of 2018, after almost 30 years in downtown Claremont, Tierra del Sol Foundation’s Career in the Arts programs expanded one of its progressive studios, the First Street Gallery and Claremont Art Center, by relocating nearby to a beautiful building in downtown Upland. Currently 100 artists are working out of Upland Art Studios and Sunland Studio Arts. Both studios present extraordinary shows and art events including open studios, art classes for the public, guest artist collaborations and up to 20 annual art exhibitions both in studio and throughout the region.

Last summer, the new Tierra del Sol Gallery opened in downtown Los Angeles as the First Street Gallery celebrated 30 years with its final exhibition. Already this year, the new Tierra del Sol Gallery, located in China Town, Los Angeles, has presented an exciting program of highly successful shows and is recognized on a global level.

Vanguard is co-curated by Rebecca Hamm, artist, educator and, since 1990, Director of Arts for Tierra del Sol; and Paige Wery, past owner of The Good Luck Gallery (2014-19), publisher of Artillery Magazine (2007-13), and new Director of Tierra del Sol Gallery. Tierra del Sol Progressive Art Studios are now located in Upland and Sunland.

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Ceramist Paul Soldner

(October 7, 2019) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 16th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 3 with an outdoor art show, exhibition and film, craft demonstrations, music and festive foods. Visitors can shop for unique original artwork as they stroll through the beautiful olive groves of the Padua Hills Theatre. The exhibition and film, Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, will feature one of Claremont’s best-known ceramic artists.

Sunday, November 3, 11am to 4pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $5 for adults. Claremont Museum of Art members, students and children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.

  • Thirty area artists will have original artwork for sale. New work this year will include paintings and prints by Laura Barnes, Su Cheatham, Steve Rushingwind and Karen Werner; glass by Marc Gordon; ceramics by Liasbeth Mertins; and mixed media by Patricia Leigh Acuña. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Michael Cheatham, Ellen Dinerman, Gina Lawson Egan, Kirsten Erickson, Paul Faulstich, Sumi Foley, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Joyce Hesslegrave, Patricia Hinds, David Holtzberger, Aleta Jacobson, Annie Marquis, Kathleen McCall, Jerry Owens, T and Jon Pacini, Damien Ross, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, David Wade, Ahlene Welsh and Jan Wheatcroft.
  • Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations and art books will be for sale.
  • This year’s exhibition and film Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, produced by the American Museum of Ceramic Art, will feature one of Claremont’s long-time ceramic artists.
  • Join in Art Activities for kids and families. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch.

THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, produced by the American Museum of Ceramic Art, will feature one of Claremont’s best-known ceramists. An accompanying film will be presented by Claremont Heritage in the theater.

Paul Soldner became the first graduate student to enroll in what is now Otis College of Art and Design in 1954, which was headed by Millard Sheets.  There he worked under the pioneering and highly experimental ceramist Peter Voulkos. In 1956 he came to Claremont to teach at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School and participated in the Padua Hills Art Fiesta in 1958.

Soldner continued to teach and curate the Scripps Ceramic Annual exhibition for 37 years. He remained an extremely active artist with 178 solo exhibitions, over 400 invitational exhibitions, and gave over 400 lectures, seminars, demonstrations, and workshops, as well as curating the annual Scripps Ceramics Invitational exhibition.

His openness to the creative accident led him to the “discovery” of American Raku and his innovation of “low-temperature salt fuming.” In the 1960s, while living in Aspen, he co-founded Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. For many years he split his time between Aspen and Claremont. Soldner passed away at his home in Claremont in 2011.

More information is available on the artist’s website at https://www.paulsoldner.com

HISTORY OF THE PADUA HILLS ART FIESTA

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

EARLY YEARS: As Claremont’s art community grew and many artists either worked at the Padua Hills Theater or resided in the Padua Hills artist colony just south of the theater on Via Padova, the theatre became the obvious location to host an annual Art Fiesta.

The First Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta took place from July 25 to August 2, 1953 and as Padua Hills Theatre founder, Herman Garner proclaimed, “is destined to become one of the outstanding annual events of the art world.” The stature of artists taking part in this initial event immediately propelled the fiesta to a high standard, with participating artists reading like a who’s who of the Claremont art community in the 1950s.

The theater’s arcaded walkways and shady olive groves provided a natural and beautiful backdrop for the art event and was a great success. The art fiestas showcased a variety of artwork including painting, sculpture, prints, pottery, enamels, jewelry, glass, weaving, ironwork, and furniture. Not only were these pieces for sale, but demonstrations were also carried out allowing for an interactive experience for the public and a look into the artist’s creative process.

The initial Art Fiesta in 1953 featured a panel of 32 Claremont artists including Jean and Arthur Ames, Millard Sheets, Albert and Marion Stewart, Phil and Betty Dike, Richard Petterson, Betty Davenport Ford, Hildred Reents, Harrison McIntosh, and William Manker. Other artists featured at the Fiesta throughout the years include Karl Benjamin, Paul Coates, Paul Darrow, Diane Divelbess, Robert Fleck, Carl and Sue Hertel, James Heuter, Anthony Ivins, Sheldon Kaganoff, Roger Kuntz, Sam Maloof, Douglas McClellan, Walter Mix, Lindley Mixon, David Scott, Paul Soldner, James Strombotne, John Svenson, Sylvia Pauloo-Taylor, Ed Traynor, Melvin Wood, Robert E. Wood, Jack Zajac, and Milford Zornes. While these artists all worked in different mediums, the goal of the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was to bring art into the community and showcase art that centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities.

“Art in Action” was the motto of the first Padua Hills Art Fiesta and the event was a groundbreaking gathering that sought to showcase Claremont’s talented artists and their methods and crafts. The Art Fiesta broke down barriers between the Claremont artists and the public, allowing for interaction, education, and championing of Claremont’s burgeoning art community. 65 years later, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta continues to live up to its original theme, allowing local artists to showcase their craft and share their creations with the Claremont community.

While the original Padua Hills Art Fiesta only lasted 7 years, from 1953 to 1959, the current incarnation of the Fiesta seeks to replicate the educational and entertaining feel of the original events, all the while continuing to practice and showcase the “Art in Action” theme of the original fiestas. The arts movement in Claremont continues to flourish in and the Padua Hills Art Fiesta seeks to showcase a new generation of Claremont artists. By following the principles of the original fiestas, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta will continue to advocate its local artists and keep Claremont truly an art mecca.

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Ceramist Paul Soldner

Padua Art Fiesta

The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 16th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 3 with an outdoor art show, exhibition and film, craft demonstrations, music and festive foods. Visitors can shop for unique original artwork as they stroll through the beautiful olive groves of the Padua Hills Theatre. The exhibition and film, Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, will feature one of Claremont’s best-known ceramic artists.

Thirty area artists will have original artwork for sale. New work this year will include paintings and prints by Laura Barnes, Su Cheatham, Steve Rushingwind and Karen Werner; glass by Marc Gordon; and mixed media by Patricia Leigh Acuña. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Michael Cheatham, Ellen Dinerman, Gina Lawson Egan, Kirsten Erickson, Paul Faulstich, Sumi Foley, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Joyce Hesslegrave, Patricia Hinds, David Holtzberger, Aleta Jacobson, Annie Marquis, Kathleen McCall, Jerry Owens, T and Jon Pacini, Damien Ross, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, David Wade, Ahlene Welsh and Jan Wheatcroft.

Sunday, November 3, 11am to 4pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $5 for adults. Claremont Museum of Art members and children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.

  • Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations and art books will be for sale.
  • This year’s exhibition and film Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, produced by the American Museum of Ceramic Art, will feature one of Claremont’s long-time ceramic artists.
  • Join in Art Activities for kids and families. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch.

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

Special appreciation to our sponsors Jeffrey K. Stark & Associates, Investment Services; Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty; and Ryan Zimmerman, Broker Associate, WSSIR.

THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition Paul Soldner: Playing with Fire, produced by the American Museum of Ceramic Art, will feature one of Claremont’s best-known ceramists. An accompanying film will be presented by Claremont Heritage in the theater.

Paul Soldner became the first graduate student to enroll in what is now Otis College of Art and Design in 1954, which was headed by Millard Sheets.  There he worked under the pioneering and highly experimental ceramist Peter Voulkos. In 1956 he came to Claremont to teach at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School and participated in the Padua Hills Art Fiesta in 1958.

Soldner continued to teach and curate the Scripps Ceramic Annual exhibition for 37 years. He remained an extremely active artist with 178 solo exhibitions, over 400 invitational exhibitions, and gave over 400 lectures, seminars, demonstrations, and workshops, as well as curating the annual Scripps Ceramics Invitational exhibition.

His openness to the creative accident led him to the “discovery” of American Raku and his innovation of “low-temperature salt fuming.” In the 1960s, while living in Aspen, he co-founded Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. For many years he split his time between Aspen and Claremont. Soldner passed away at his home in Claremont in 2011.

More information is available on the artist’s website at https://www.paulsoldner.com

HISTORY OF THE PADUA HILLS ART FIESTA

As Claremont’s art community grew and many artists either worked at the Padua Hills Theater or resided in the Padua Hills artist colony just south of the theater on Via Padova, the theatre became the obvious location to host an annual Art Fiesta.

The First Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta took place from July 25 to August 2, 1953 and as Padua Hills Theatre founder, Herman Garner proclaimed, “is destined to become one of the outstanding annual events of the art world.” The stature of artists taking part in this initial event immediately propelled the fiesta to a high standard, with participating artists reading like a who’s who of the Claremont art community in the 1950s.

The theater’s arcaded walkways and shady olive groves provided a natural and beautiful backdrop for the art event and was a great success. The art fiestas showcased a variety of artwork including painting, sculpture, prints, pottery, enamels, jewelry, glass, weaving, ironwork, and furniture. Not only were these pieces for sale, but demonstrations were also carried out allowing for an interactive experience for the public and a look into the artist’s creative process. The initial Art Fiesta in 1953 featured a panel of 32 Claremont artists including Jean and Arthur Ames, Millard Sheets, Albert and Marion Stewart, Phil and Betty Dike, Richard Petterson, Betty Davenport Ford, Hildred Reents, Harrison McIntosh, and William Manker. Other artists featured at the Fiesta throughout the years include Karl Benjamin, Paul Coates, Paul Darrow, Diane Divelbess, Robert Fleck, Carl and Sue Hertel, James Heuter, Anthony Ivins, Sheldon Kaganoff, Roger Kuntz, Sam Maloof, Douglas McClellan, Walter Mix, Lindley Mixon, David Scott, Paul Soldner, James Strombotne, John Svenson, Sylvia Pauloo-Taylor, Ed Traynor, Melvin Wood, Robert E. Wood, Jack Zajac, and Milford Zornes. While these artists all worked in different mediums, the goal of the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was to bring art into the community and showcase art that centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities.

“Art in Action” was the motto of the first Padua Hills Art Fiesta and the event was a groundbreaking Solgathering that sought to showcase Claremont’s talented artists and their methods and crafts. The Art Fiesta broke down barriers between the Claremont artists and the public, allowing for interaction, education, and championing of Claremont’s burgeoning art community. 65 years later, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta continues to live up to its original theme, allowing local artists to showcase their craft and share their creations with the Claremont community.

While the original Padua Hills Art Fiesta only lasted 7 years, from 1953 to 1959, the current incarnation of the Fiesta seeks to replicate the educational and entertaining feel of the original events, all the while continuing to practice and showcase the “Art in Action” theme of the original fiestas. The arts movement in Claremont continues to flourish in and the Padua Hills Art Fiesta seeks to showcase a new generation of Claremont artists. By following the principles of the original fiestas, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta will continue to advocate its local artists and keep Claremont truly an art mecca.