Author Archives: admin-cma

Helen Rae and Artists of Tierra del Sol Bring Their Unique Vision Home to 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 has supported hundreds of trailblazing artists as they have forged their individual, professional pathways while advancing the cause of inclusivity in the art world.

Vanguard: Origins of Tierra del Sol Arts in Claremont featuring Helen Rae, an exhibition 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 will open on Saturday, December 7 with a member preview from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. during the Art Walk. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Sandy Baldonado, Alta Rancho Pet & Bird Hospital, and Susan Guntner, will remain on view through April 11, 2020.

Helen Rae works on a fashion-inspired drawing.

Helen Rae works on a fashion-inspired drawing. Photo by Sami Drasin for Galerie Magazine

Helen 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’s drawings will be featured in the Museum’s main gallery, while the atrium will feature works in various media by Anthony Barnes, John Boyer, Jose Del Rio, Mary Lou Dimsdale, Leon Fuller, Michael LeVell, Jackie Marsh, John Maull, Dru McKenzie, John Peterson, Hugo Rocha, Vicente Siso, Isabel Vartanian and Joe Zaldivar, all of whom have worked with the Tierra del Sol studios.

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.

Use Tierra Del Sol logo TDS logo_web at bottom with link to www.tierradelsol.org

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.

James Strombotne Paints All He Can Imagine

James Strombotne, Self-Portrait, 2017

SEPTEMBER 6-DECEMBER 1

The Claremont Museum of Art’s exhibition James Strombotne: Imagine will focus on the work of one of the few remaining active Claremont artists from the 1950 and 60s, an era sometimes referred to as Claremont’s “golden age.” Drawings and paintings from the artist’s personal collection reflect the arc of a distinguished career dedicated to making concrete the creative mind’s imaginings.

The exhibition will open on Saturday, September 7 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. during Art Walk and remain on view through December 1, 2019. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

About the Artist

James Strombotne in his studio

James Strombotne studio in Anaheim, September 2018.

As a sophomore at Pomona College in 1953, James Strombotne enrolled in painting, drawing and design classes at Scripps, studying with a renowned faculty including Phil Dike and Jack Zajac.  In the latter’s studios, in Claremont and in Rome, Strombotne spent, as he writes, “the most important years of his life.”

After earning an MFA from Claremont Graduate School (1959), the young artist settled in Claremont and went on to teach at UC Riverside, retiring in 2005 after 45 years. He continues to draw and paint in his Anaheim studio, as dedicated and passionate about his art as ever. Strombotne’s work has been shown in exhibitions nationwide, including the Whitney Annual and Corcoran Biennial, and can be seen in more than 40 museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Learn more about James Strombotne on his website.

About the Exhibition

James Strombotne, The Actress, 2019

The exhibition takes its title, Imagine, from his recently published book of the same name.  Drawn from the artist’s collection, it will reveal the intense curiosity and creative energy of a long-dedicated artist who continues to question, to push himself, and to produce an extraordinary range of work. Strombotne’s subject matter derives from observation of, and response to, the physical world—figures, objects, landscapes that are both recognizable and abstracted in ways unique to him. Ostensibly “empty” space conveys a sense of quiet that can be surprisingly rich, emotionally evocative. His work is drawing-based, in the classical tradition, and his graphic work both stands on its own and also serves as a springboard to painting. The complex interrelationships between Strombotne’s drawings and paintings will be a focus of the exhibition.

As Strombotne writes, “In all of my work, what I am doing is sharing my vision with the viewer. A photograph captures the moment, as do I. However, I “interpret” the moment. I edit, embellish, exaggerate, manipulate, create, invent, celebrate, and so on. My work is continuous invention and imagination. I am an amalgam . . . a colorist, a draftsman, a surrealist, a fabulist, an inventor, a provocateur, a poet, a dramatist.”  

 

Students StART It Up! at the Claremont Museum of Art

Student art work from grades 4, 5 and 6 at Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools will be on display at the Claremont Museum of Art May 3 through May 5. StART It Up!, an overview exhibition planned, curated and installed by Project ARTstART high school students, will include works on paper, collage, sculptures, and paintings. This is the culmination of the Claremont Museum of Art’s signature art education program celebrating its eighth year.

The museum will be open noon to 4:00 p.m. with free admission for this special weekend. On Saturday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. an open house will celebrate these young artists and their families. Art Walk will follow from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. with refreshments and music. Bring the whole family on Sunday, May 5 for ARTStation with fun art activities led by talented high school ARTstARTers.

Project ARTstART, a Claremont Museum of Art education program under the direction of Rich Deely, trains high school students, working with college mentors, to provide exhibit-based art lessons for elementary school students. The program brings high-quality, art appreciation classes and art marking activities to the Claremont school system to inspire, promote understanding of art and highlight Claremont’s rich artistic history.

During this academic year, six students from The Claremont Colleges and one Citrus Community College student mentored 55 high school ARTstARTers as they planned and presented exhibit-based art lessons to 4th – 6th grade students at all five Title 1 elementary schools. Field trips to the local museums were enhanced by multiple classroom art-making lessons.

In addition, ARTstARTers served BLAST, ACES, and AVID aftercare students at all seven CUSD main elementary campuses each month with art-making workshops. Hundreds more children participated in art activities at community festivals and ARTStation, drop-in workshops on Free Family Day at CMA on the first Sunday of every month, generously sponsored by Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Broadview Mortgage.

Project ARTstART is produced solely by the Claremont Museum of Art in partnership with the Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) and provides programming for students from eight participating schools: Chaparral, Condit, Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore, and Vista del Valle elementary schools, along with Claremont High School.

The program is funded by generous donations and by gifts-in-kind from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Claremont Lincoln University; the City of Claremont Community-Based Organization grant (CBO); the Spearman Charitable Foundation; the Claremont Community Foundation; the Claremont Education Foundation Community Partnership Grants (CEF); Kiwanis Club of Claremont Foundation; Scripps College Fine Arts Foundation; the Rotary Club of Claremont; American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA); Pomona College Museum of Art, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College; The Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, as well as CMA Board members and many dedicated community donors.

More information on Project ARTstART

 

Andrew Wenrick: DISPLACEMENT ZERO

May 10 – August 25, 2019
Claremont Museum of Art, 200 W. 1st St, Claremont  

Andrew M. Wenrick, “I wonder…Los Angeles” 2017-18, diptych, maps, watercolor paper, mat board and acrylic.

The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition Displacement Zero presents work by Claremont born, London based conceptual artist Andrew M. Wenrick. Maps of the Los Angeles area and beyond have been reconstructed into unexpected configurations, challenging our perception of place.

The exhibition, on view May 10 through August 25, 2019 at the Museum located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street, is generously sponsored by Sandy Baldonado, Susan Guntner, Catherine McIntosh, and Elaine Turner.

The public is invited to the Art Walk opening reception on Saturday, June 1 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m.

About the Artist

Born in Claremont in 1971, Andrew Wenrick spent his formative years immersed in Claremont’s Village, attending Oakmont Elementary School, Our Lady of Assumption School and Claremont High School. In 1994, he graduated with a BA in Industrial Design from California State University, Humboldt and in 2002 earned an MA in Architecture from the University of Oregon. After practicing architecture in Boston, he moved to Europe to pursue life as a conceptual artist. Wenrick’s resume includes solo exhibitions in London and Switzerland, and numerous group exhibitions. His works  can be found in private collections in no fewer than fifteen countries.

Artist website: http://www.andrewwenrick.com

About the Exhibition

In his work, Andrew Wenrick deconstructs geography, in this case the United States, and then reconstructs and restructures fragments into new realities. As he points out, the single most important identifying quality of geography is shape. When familiar boundaries are altered, ambiguity results, a blurring of the relationships that allow us to locate and ground ourselves. The result is deliberate ambiguity and, for the viewer, thought-provoking perceptual shifts.

Since the industrial revolution, and particularly in our age of sophisticated communications technology, the world has come to feel not only smaller but also seamless. Photographs of earth from space reinforce this truth, as the imagined hard outlines around cities, states, and countries become less distinct in our minds. We are global citizens, an abstract concept but one that we can now better visualize, and that, one hopes, will lead us to strive toward collective goals.

In practice, Wenrick’s acrylic and paper constructions involve cutting, layering, and reshaping familiar map images, place names, and symbols into unexpected configurations. Accepted geographical “truths,” both physical and experiential, are questioned as the seen and the unseen are laid out before us, challenging our preconceptions about place and opening our minds to untapped potential.

Andrew M. Wenrick, “Everything in the middle” detail, 2012, Acrylic and maps on wood.

Andrew M. Wenrick, “I did…permissive block”, 2019, maps, acrylic and electrics on painted skateboard deck with map filled light bulb + mixed media.

Andrew M, Wenrick, “I did…diverging clear” detail, 2019, maps and acrylic on painted skateboard deck with map filled light bulbs + mixed media.

Press

May 23, 2019 – What the Butler Saw Arts Magazine: The Poetically Intelligent Design of Andrew Wenrick, by James Scarborough

May 02, 2019 – Claremont Courier: London-based artist back home in Claremont for show

April 22 – What the Butler Saw Arts Magazine: A Conversation with Andrew Wenrick on the Occasion of his Exhibition “Displacement of Zero” at the Claremont Museum of Art

Collecting Clay: A Conversation with Julie and David Armstrong

Julie and David ArmstrongThe Claremont Museum of Art in partnership with Scripps Fine Arts Foundation will present Collecting Clay: A Conversation with Julie and David Armstrong with curator Rody N. López on Saturday, March 2 at 4:00 p.m. in Balch Auditorium at Scripps College, 1030 N Columbia Ave., Claremont.

The program is held in conjunction with CMA’s current exhibition Living with Clay: The Julie and David Armstrong Collection. As founders of the American Museum of Ceramic Art, the Armstrongs share a love of clay that is evident in their Claremont home and in their extraordinary collection.

Visit the Claremont Museum of Art in the Depot at 200 W. First Street in Claremont 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. to see the exhibition before the lecture or after during Art Walk, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition, on view through April 20, is generously sponsored by Art Braeger, Janell and Randall Lewis.

Make it a weekend of ceramics! The 75th Scripps College Ceramic Annual, featuring works from the College’s renowned Marer Collection, is on view at nearby Scripps College Williamson Gallery at 251 E. 11th St. The American Museum of Ceramic Art, celebrating their 15th anniversary with the exhibition Building a Collection, is located at 399 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona.

LIVING WITH CLAY: The Julie and David Armstrong Collection

January 18 – April 20, 2019
Claremont Museum of Art
200 W. 1st St, Claremont

Paul Soldner, Sculpture #16, 2000, Salt-fired, stoneware, Julie and David Armstrong Collection. Photo: Eric Stoner

The Claremont Museum of Art is pleased to announce an exhibition that invites us to enter the home of ceramic collectors Julie and David Armstrong. Perhaps best known for having founded the remarkable American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, the Armstrongs’ love of clay is evidenced equally in their extensive private collection.

The exhibition, Living with Clay: The Julie and David Armstrong Collection, curated by Rody N. López, will be on view January 18 through April 20, 2019 at the Claremont Museum of Art, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Art Braeger and Janell and Randall Lewis.

The opening reception will be on Saturday, February 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m., and on Art Walk, the first Saturday of every month, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.claremontmuseum.org.

About the Collectors

Julie and David Armstrong in the living room of their home in Claremont in 2018. Photo: Eric Stoner

Julie and David Armstrong met while attending Pomona College and eventually settled in Claremont; David also holds an MFA (ceramics) from Claremont Graduate University. Julie is now retired from Foothill Country Day School, where she taught for many years and continues to teach a weekly art history class. David has long been an important member of the Claremont and Pomona business communities, and together, they founded AMOCA. The couple are well known for their philanthropy as well as their enthusiasm for collecting.

Over a period of sixty years, they have amassed a large and eclectic collection of contemporary paintings, decorative arts, and most impressively, ceramic art, for which they have an apparently insatiable passion. Included in the exhibition are original ceramics by such renowned artists as Rudy Autio, Ralph Bacerra, Frank Boyden, Tom Coleman, David Furman, Shoji Hamada, Robin Hopper, Harrison McIntosh, Mata Ortiz, Don Reitz Paul Soldner, Robert Sperry, Peter Voulkos, and Patti Warashina, among many others.

About the Exhibition

Curator Rody N. López is a graduate of Pomona College who served as an Associate Curator at AMOCA for several years and recently completed his MFA at California State University, Fullerton. For the Claremont Museum of Art, López has drawn on the Armstrong Collection section of his recently acclaimed exhibition Living with Clay: California Ceramics Collections at the Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery of CSUF. Staged to simulate the manner in which Julie and David Armstrong display their collection in their home, alongside paintings and furnishings, the exhibition reveals the integration of art in their daily lives while also saluting the collectors’ taste, ideas, and the uniqueness of their vision.  Within the walls of a public museum, thus, we are given a taste of the private environment of two dedicated, knowledgeable, and highly influential collectors.

LIVING WITH CLAY Press Release, Nov 20, 2018

Art Fiesta to Exhibit Local Artists at the Art Fiesta to Exhibit Local Artists at the Historic Padua Hills Theatre

 

 

 

View the Art Fiesta photo album on Flickr

The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 15th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 4, 2018  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 will examine the history of the Padua Hills Artist Colony.

Sunday, November 4, 11am to 4pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Claremont Museum of Art members. Children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.

  • Thirty area artists will display and sell their original artwork. New artwork this year will include paintings by David Guerrero and Joe A. Oakes; jewelry by Elizabeth Carr, Michael Cheatham, Ellen Dinerman and Heather Meier; ceramics by Christy Johnson and Damien Ross; photography by Paul Faulstich and woodwork by David Wade. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Sumi Foley, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Mike Hill, Patricia Hinds, Aleta Jacobson, Paul Kittlaus, Annie Marquis, Kathleen McCall, Hal Metlizky, Jerry Owens, T and Jon Pacini, Lynda Pazstor, Jeremy Sullivan, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft and Maureen Wheeler.
  • Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations and art books will be for sale.
  • This year’s exhibition Padua Hills Artist Colony 1945-75, produced by Claremont Heritage, will feature artists who lived and worked in Padua Hills during the heyday of the Claremont Art Scene including Jean and Arthur Ames, Betty Davenport Ford, Sam Maloof, Harrison McIntosh, Millard Sheets and Milford Zornes. The film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community will be shown.
  • ARTstART students will lead families in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch.

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

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.

Jean Goodwin Ames and Arthur Ames in their home studio in Padua Hills from the Scripps College Archives

THE EXHIBITION 

The exhibition Padua Hills Artist Colony: 1945-75, produced by Claremont Heritage, will feature the small planned community nestled in hills above Claremont and the artists who lived and worked there during the heyday of the Claremont Art Scene.

In the mid-1920s, a group of twenty Claremont Citizens banded together to purchase over 2,000 acres in the foothills above Claremont to keep the area safe from undesirable real estate developments that threatened to encroach on the community. A local businessman, Herman Garner, was charged with heading up the development of the land. A corporation was created and the vision for a community that embraced art, culture and education was formed. The plans included residential homes, a cultural arts center, artist’s studios and shops.

The Padua Hills Theatre itself opened in 1930 and was the dream project of Bess and Herman Garner. Longtime home to the famous “Mexican Players” performance group, the Padua Hills Theatre became an immensely popular dinner theater destination for tourists across all of Southern California. In addition to the theater and dining room, Padua Hills also included several art studios, kilns, and the Arts and Crafts Shop that carried artwork by local artists. Ceramicist, William Maker famously operated out of a studio at Padua in the 1940s where he created his renowned “Mankerware” ceramics. Later Betty Davenport Ford taught ceramics classes here for several decades.

Padua Hills attracted a number of artists (some were given land and/or labor to build their homes and studios) and faculty from the Claremont Colleges over the years.  They built their homes and the community began to grow.  A number of significant architects, including Richard Neutra, Theodore Criley Jr. and Fred McDowell, were hired to design the homes.  An “art jury” consisting of Millard Sheets and Foster Rhodes Jackson had to sign off on the plans.  The intersection of art, design and culture created a unique and desirable community.

The lynchpin of the Claremont arts movement was Pomona native and world-renowned artist Millard Sheets. After graduating from the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Sheets came to Scripps College in 1930 to help develop the fledgling art department. Through his influence, Sheets was able to invigorate the art faculty by bringing in notable artists like Albert Stewart, Henry Lee McFee, Jean Ames, and William Manker to serve as art professors. He encouraged all of these artists to build their homes in Padua Hills and others followed.

Artists Betty Davenport Ford, Harrison McIntosh, Hildred Reents and Milford Zornes built their homes in Padua Hills in the 1950s. Sam Maloof lived and worked in the Sheets guest house for several years and Rupert Deese shared the McIntosh studio for six decades. Lindley Mixon built a home and studio on Mt. Baldy Road designed by Foster Rhodes Jackson which passed on to artists Diane Divelbess and Norma Tanega in 1972.Sheets no doubt helped influence a generation of Claremont artists at mid-century, spurring on the city to become an “art mecca” for local artists and craftsmen.

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 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.

View the Art Fiesta photo album on Flickr

Growing with the Program: ARTstART Veterans Take a Bow

ArtStart

Project ARTstART, CMA’s students-teaching-students arts education program, is in its eighth year of operation serving Claremont’s students. Many students have participated for more than one year, building their presentation, teaching and leadership skills. With graduation 2018, we said goodbye to two longtime participants, Madeline Helland, one of the original ARTstARTers from 2011-2012, and Xiucoatl Mejia, one of the original ARToon middle-school students who served with distinction in Project ARTstART for four years. Melissa Lach, a graduate of our program is a member of the Project ARTstART team now that she has completed her teaching degree.

Madeline Helland in 2013

Madeline Helland, who graduated from Scripps College in May, is an ARTstART veteran, holding multiples roles in the program over the years. She started as a sophomore at CHS and finished as a paid intern mentoring students: “During ARTstART’s inaugural year, I participated in it as one of the first high school student members. Eight years later, I am concluding my final year as a Project Assistant Lincoln Scholar, interning for the program. What initially drew me to ARTstART was the emphasis it placed on learning about local artists and the local arts community and its mission to offer arts education to schools where it had been weakened or eliminated by budget cuts. The program has continued to evolve over the years, serving its students in new ways. While I have loved developing creative art-making projects, visiting museums, and working with students each week, the program’s ongoing impact in the community and its ability to adapt to change is what has kept me involved for so long.”

Xiucoatl Mejia in 2018

Xiucoatl Mejia, who graduated from Claremont High School in June 2018, shared that “ARTstART has been an overall beautiful opportunity that I was blessed to experience here in Claremont. It showed me many fundamental and creative ways to actively participate and make change in my community.  I am thankful for the many ways ARTstART allowed us to connect to Claremont youth, as well as our own peers. I had experienced ARTstART lessons first-hand when I participated in the ARToon program at El Roble Middle School and was personally inspired. Being an ARTstARTer at CHS for all 4 years has been a huge part of my decision to continue my art career and teaching in college, and I am forever thankful for that. I hope to be involved with ARTstART in the future as a college student and be able to have a part in the team once again.”

Melissa Lach: “I started working with ARTstART in 2011 during my sophomore year at CHS. I loved having the opportunity to work with friends, peers, mentors, and children. After graduating high school, I attended the University of La Verne to study education and fine arts. Now that I have my B.A., I am so excited to return to work with ARTstART this upcoming school year as a Project Associate, mentoring high school students and leading our AfterARTs and ARTStation workshop series!”

Melissa Lach in 2018

As in the past, ARTstART trained high school students, working with college mentors, provided exhibit-based art lessons and field trip experiences to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Mountain View, Oakmont, Sumner, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools. In addition, ARTstARTers led students enrolled in all seven CUSD elementary BLAST or ACES after-school programs in art-making activities that produced more than 900 student art projects as part of the AfterARTs series. Hundreds more were served with drop-in art-making at Village Venture, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta, and the CicLaVia Earth Day celebrations, in addition to the monthly ARTStation series at CMA’s Depot location.

CMA wishes to thank its dedicated ARTstART volunteers, stakeholders, and supporters for another noteworthy year. Project ARTstART is produced solely by the Claremont Museum of Art in partnership with the Claremont Unified School District (CUSD). The program is funded by generous donations from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Claremont Lincoln University; the Spearman Charitable Foundation; the Claremont Educational Foundation Partnership Grant (CEF); the City of Claremont Community-Based Organization (CBO) grant; Kiwanis Club of Claremont; Scripps College Fine Arts Foundation; as well as Board members and many dedicated community donors.

–Rich Deely, Project ARTstART Director

Primal Nature: Animalia by Women in Post-War Claremont

September 21 – January 6, 2019
Claremont Museum of Art
200 W. 1st St, Claremont

Animals, both real and fantastic, occupied an important place in artistic expression in mid- twentieth-century Claremont, appearing in the work of ceramists, painters, enamelists, and sculptors. Primal Nature: Animalia by Women in Post-War Claremont, curated by Susan M. Anderson, focuses on this phenomenon, particularly in the work of women artists who played a vital role in the development of the arts in Claremont.

The exhibition, sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will be on view September 21, 2018 through January 6, 2019 at the Claremont Museum of Art, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4:00 PM, and during Art Walk, the first Saturday of every month from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC.

Gould Asset Management

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Mid-century modern art, architecture, and design in Claremont were influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement that developed in 19th-century Great Britain and flourished in the United States through the 1920s. Although the movement was multi-centered in America, the fullest expression of its ideals was to be found in Southern California. Here, with a focus on traditional craftsmanship and a lifestyle that promoted immersion in nature, artists drew sustenance from local flora and fauna, and vernacular design.

In Claremont, the ethos of the Arts and Crafts Movement lingered during the Depression era and experienced an extraordinary resurgence in the post-war period. This was due in large part to the influence of Millard Sheets and to the artists, designers, craftspeople, and architects he drew to the growing Claremont art colony beginning in 1932.

In the post-war period, Sheets’s exhibition programs at the Los Angeles County Fair included almost yearly arts and crafts shows, including the regionally important “The Arts of Daily Living” and “The Arts of Western Living.” These helped foster Claremont’s creative community, as did the Millard Sheets Studio on Foothill Boulevard where dozens of artists, craftspeople, and architects worked on landmarks, in Claremont and beyond, such as the Home Savings and Loan buildings with their signature mosaics.

Themes drawn from nature, especially animal forms, were common. Since classical antiquity, artists have assigned meaning to animals real and imagined. At the same time. animals—wild, domesticated and fantastic—often functioned for artists as creative muses or effective design solutions.

Primal Nature explores the significance of this shared theme and the context for its emergence in the work of pivotal figures in Claremont such as Jean Goodwin Ames, Betty Davenport Ford, Barbara Beretich, and Susan Hertel. The exhibition also includes works by Marjorie Burgeson, Dora de Larios, Ingrid Petersen, Hildred Reents, Martha Underwood, Nina de Creeft Ward, and Ellamarie Wooley.

Susan M. Anderson is an independent curator and art historian with a focus on the art of California. She is a former chief curator of Laguna Art Museum. Assisting the guest curator in her research, Scripps College undergraduate Linnea Rosenberg participated in the organization of this exhibition as this year’s Millard Sheets Art Intern.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Jean Ames, Untitled, detail, c.1962, enamel and bronze. Claremont Museum of Art, promised gift from Kathleen Wicker and Lois Langland.

Jean Goodwin Ames’ (1903-1986) preferred medium was enamel, but she was also a painter. Ames, who taught at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School from 1940 to 1962, described her oeuvre as being filled with “enchanted birds and beasts.” Her commitment to enamel contributed to the recognition of the medium as an art form in the years following World War II.

Barbara Beretich’s (1936-2018) ceramic sculptures of cats, which she often finished in bronze, also recall archaic sculpture while being highly polished and stylized. From 1962 to 1965, Beretich attended Claremont Graduate School, receiving an MFA. From 1973 to 1978, she operated Gallery 8 on Harvard Avenue, and, from 1978, Galleria Beretich, located in her home. Both offered important exhibition venues for local and regional artists.

Betty Davenport Ford, Clouded Leopard, c.1976, Stoneware. Collection of the artist.

Archaic animal forms recalling Egyptian, Greek, and Romanesque styles were popular among sculptors. The ceramic anincmal sculpture of Betty Davenport Ford (b.1924) exhibits this historicizing approach. Ford aims to balae the capture of the animal’s essential spirit with sound design. She graduated from Scripps College in 1946 and remained a vital part of the community through her work with the Millard Sheets Studio.

Susan Hertel (1930-1993) mused in a poem that she was “not a person of the people tribe,” suggesting a closer kinship to the animals she often portrayed in her paintings of everyday life. Hertel received her BA from Scripps College in 1952. Working in the Millard Sheets Studio, she subsequently became chief designer and executor of murals throughout Southern California, Texas, and Arkansas, for Home Savings and Loan.