Category Archives: Event

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Focus on Midcentury Art and Architecture in Claremont

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Updated October 27, 2016 (Claremont, CA) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 13th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 6 with an outdoor art show, art and craft demonstrations and music under the shady olive trees of the beautiful Padua Hills Theatre.  A preview of the recently produced film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury will be shown throughout the day accompanied by an exhibition produced by Claremont Heritage.

  • Sunday, November 6, 11 am to 4 pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Claremont Museum of Art and Claremont Heritage members. Children under 18 are free.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their paintings, prints, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and jewelry. Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • A 20-minute preview of the new documentary film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury will be shown throughout the day accompanied by an informative exhibition produced by Claremont Heritage.
  • ARTstART students will lead children in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

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 – watercolor, pottery, woodworking, sculpture in stone, bronze and ceramic, mosaic, textiles as well as painting. 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.

THE ARTISTS

The outdoor art show will feature twenty-five area artists showing their work under a grove of shady olive trees. New artwork this year will include woodworking by Hal Metlizky; ceramics by Kristen Erickson and T. and Jon Pacini; weaving by Patricia Hinds; and paintings by Jackie Knell, Roz McMillan and Dee Small.

And visitors will find many favorite returning artists: Paul Brayton, Sumi Foley, Sandy Garcia, Rebecca Hamm, Kathryn Herrman, Mike Hill, David Holzberger, Aleta Jacobson, Sherry Marger, Kathleen, Jerry Owens, Kazumi Kobayashi Svenson, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft, Maureen Wheeler and Larry White.

“Art in Action” can be found on the hillside terrace provided by Chaffey Community Museum of Art, Alba Cisneros, The Clay Yard, dA Center for the Arts and Maloof Woodworkers.  Art-making activities will be led by Project ARTstART students.

MUSIC, FOOD & SPONSORS

Music performances will be provided by Gloria Cangahuala and Anne Sherrill of Claremont Symphony Orchestra, Stefan Pajaro-van de Stadt with Aviva Mann, Silver Tree with Jessie Lyn and Kyle Thompson,  and David Hostetler. Tacos will be served by El Merendero along with Bert & Rocky’s ice cream and traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

Special thanks to Art Fiesta sponsors Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Ryan Zimmerman, Broker Associate, Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty. And thanks to Scout Troop 407 for their invaluable helping hands.

THE EXHIBTION + FILM

Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury

Postwar Claremont: A Center of Modern Design and Architecture

With the development of substantial art programs at the Claremont Colleges, spearheaded by the artist and educator Millard Sheets, Claremont attracted a large number of artists in the years following World War II. Painters, sculptors, ceramists, muralists and mosaic artists, architects and designers shared ideas and forged close friendships. With a cultural climate that was conducive to the integration of art, craft, and architecture, Claremont became an important center of Midcentury Modern design.

Persons associated with the Claremont Colleges and art community were highly receptive to modern trends in architecture, and many of them engaged the services of local architects to create houses and other structures suited to the informal, nature-oriented lifestyle of Southern California.

The Exhibition

To record and interpret this important chapter in the cultural history of Claremont and Southern California, Claremont Heritage Executive Director, David Shearer has curated an exhibition entitled Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury.

The exhibition will chronicle the efforts of forward-looking architects, artists and designers to create living environments suited to the physical and cultural landscape of Claremont and Southern California. It will capture the full sweep of the area’s rich architectural heritage, from early expressions of modern thinking, as seen in the 1903 Mary Darling House by Greene & Greene, through the residential housing boom of the postwar period, to institutional and commercial projects that advanced modern ideas in architecture and design, including Millard Sheets’ historic local projects including: Garrison Theater, Pomona First Federal Bank and Sheets Studio.

The exhibition will feature archival imagery including photographs and drawings of architectural projects that integrated art into the design. Architects featured include: Millard Sheets, S. David Underwood, Rufus Turner, Foster Rhodes Jackson, Criley & McDowell, Edward Durell Stone and more. Work by Claremont artists will show the influence of the architecture and their perspectives on modern design. They include Millard Sheets Studio, Harrison McIntosh, Paul Darrow, and Betty Davenport Ford among others.

The Film

The 90-minute documentary film Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury, is a companion piece to Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935 – 1975, a film produced in 2014 by filmmaker Paul Bockhorst in partnership with the Claremont Museum of Art. Claremont Modern expands the scholarship and examines the regional influences that helped to establish a unique chapter in the annals of Modernism. A 20-minute preview of the film will be shown throughout the day of the Art Fiesta.

The documentary is produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, in cooperation with Claremont Heritage. A veteran writer, producer, and director, Bockhorst has produced dozens of programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He recently received an Honorary AIA Award for his many documentaries on art and architecture.

Principal funding for Claremont Modern was generously provided by The Ahmanson Foundation, Andy and Blenda Wright, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and Brent Harris.

Press Release – “Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Focus on Midcentury Art and Architecture in Claremont” [PDF]

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Millard Sheets Film

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The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 12th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 1 with an outdoor art show, art and craft demonstrations, music and more. The recently produced film Design for Modern Living will be shown throughout the day and an exhibition will feature paintings by one of California’s most recognized artists, Millard Sheets. More information is available at www.claremontmuseum.org.

Some local residents still recall the popular Padua Hills Art Fiesta held through the 1950s. Since 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art has continued the tradition with area artists showing their work under the shady olive trees of the beautifully restored Padua Hills Theatre.

  • Sunday, November 1, 11am to 4pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for CMA members. Children under 18 are free.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their paintings, prints, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and jewelry. Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • The new documentary film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975 will be shown at 11:30am, 1:00pm and 2:30pm.
  • A Claremont Museum of Art exhibition, Millard Sheets: Hills and Horses will show how a love of horses inspired the artwork of Padua Hills’ artist Millard Sheets in the 1940–60s.
  • ARTstART students will lead children in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

First held in 1953, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was organized by 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 – watercolor, pottery, woodworking, sculpture in stone, bronze and ceramic, mosaic, textiles as well as painting. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. Today the tradition continues with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

THE ART SALE

The outdoor art show will feature twenty-five area artists showing their work under a grove of shady olive trees. New artwork this year will include paintings by Rebecca Hamm, mixed media by Sumi Foley, ceramics by Gaby Tepper and the AMOCA Ceramic Studio artists, wood turning by David Holzberger, jewelry by Jay Simmons.

And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Gina Lawson Egan, Kathryn Herrman, Mike Hill, Aleta Jacobson, Andrée Mahoney, Marciano Martinez, Sherry Marger, Kathleen McCall, Maureen Wheeler, Jerry Owens, Kazumi Kabayashi Svenson, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft and Susan Zenger.

THE FILM

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975

Two years in the making, the one-hour documentary film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975, produced by Paul Bockhorst in partnership with the Claremont Museum of Art, tells the story of the remarkable artistic community that took root at Scripps College and made Claremont an important center of Mid-20th Century Modern design.

The film provides a vivid and illuminating account of the important art community that emerged in Claremont in the years following World War II under the leadership of Millard Sheets, with profiles of nearly two dozen artists and craftspersons.

In the years following World War II, the community of Claremont in Southern California emerged as an important center for the visual arts, due in large measure to the inspired efforts of the artist and educator Millard Sheets. In Claremont, painters, sculptors, ceramists, enamel and mosaic artists, woodworkers and fiber artists devoted themselves to their creative pursuits with great imagination and energy, creating works that express the spirit of Postwar Modernism in California.

In the film, artists who were active in Claremont in the postwar period share their memories of the time and place. They include Betty Davenport Ford, John Svenson, James Strombotne, Paul Darrow, Harrison McIntosh, Barbara Beretich, and Martha Longenecker. Other artists featured in the documentary include William Manker, Jean and Arthur Ames, Albert Stewart, Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, Milford Zornes, James Hueter, Jack Zajac, Karl Benjamin, Roger Kuntz, Rupert Deese, Susan Hertel, and Sam Maloof.

The documentary was produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, in cooperation with the Claremont Museum of Art. A veteran writer, producer, and director, Bockhorst has produced dozens of programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He recently received an Honorary AIA Award for his documentaries on art and architecture.

Principal funding for Design for Modern Living was provided by The Ahmanson Foundation and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, The Windgate Charitable Foundation, Gerald and Bente Buck, E. Gene Crain, Marguerite and Harrison McIntosh, Tom & Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, and the Family of Helen Bockhorst. Additional support was provided by the Historical Collections Council of California, Peter and Gail Ochs, Robert and Nadine Hall, Jim and Perry Jamieson, Beverly Maloof, the Family of Karl Benjamin, and Betty Davenport Ford and Harold Ford.

THE EXHIBITION

MILLARD SHEETS: Hills and Horses

Millard Sheets, Detail from Horses at Play, lithograph, c.1985Inspired by a lifelong love of horses and the landscape surrounding his Padua Hills home, artist Millard Sheets depicted a familiar way of life. The exhibition Millard Sheets: Hills and Horses, curated by his son Tony Sheets, will include paintings, drawings and lithographs from the years that he lived in Padua Hills in the 1940s-60s and beyond.

Following the Art Fiesta, the exhibition will be on display at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden through February 28, 2016. The exhibition is sponsored by Claremont Eye Associates, Maria (Zornes) and Hal Baker, Tony and Flower Sheets, and by Tom & Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle.

Millard came to Claremont in 1930 to develop the fledgling art department at Scripps College and form the Graduate art program. Under his leadership, Claremont became a significant artistic center. Wanting to raise his children in the country, he purchased ten acres in the Padua Hills where so many of his artist friends lived.

As his daughter Carolyn Owen-Towle recalls in her book Damgorgeous, “Millard promptly built an enormous barn to house his thirteen horses. He built a small corral and a large paddock with an eighth mile track around it. In those days he was racing trotters at the County Fair. In 1941, just before the war began to escalate rapidly, Mary and Millard broke ground for their dream home on the hilltop of their property. Millard designed a rammed-earth dwelling with split levels, a fourteen foot flat-roofed ceiling, and floor to ceiling windows in the living room. The house had an intimate, commanding view of the San Gabriel Mountains.”

Throughout a long and prolific career, Millard Sheets was at once a painter, a muralist, an architectural designer, a teacher and art administrator, an entrepreneur, and an inspired cheerleader who tirelessly preached the importance of art in daily life. Handsome and energetic, daring and resourceful, he was a passionate ambassador for the arts.

Download a PDF of this press release.

Claremont Art Showcase

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Claremont First Annual Art Showcase

The Claremont Art Showcase is now on view through November 16 at the Alexander Hughes Community Center, 1700 Danbury Rd., Claremont. The exhibit features works by local artists Opoku Acheampong, Sandy Garcia, Kenneth Johnson, Jerry Owens, Mervyn Seldon, Tom Skelly, Wendy Smith, Jeanne Steffan and Guan Zhi.

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A variety of two dimensional works will be on display, including a temporary mural painted in the entertainment lounge of the Hughes Center by Sandy Garcia and Arlene Moreno. The exhibition is sponsored by the City of Claremont Human Services Department in conjunction with the Claremont Museum of Art and Claremont Graduate University Art Business/Art Management Public Art program. For more information about the exhibit or the artists’ reception, please call (909) 399-5490.

View the photos of the Showcase opening.

 

Claremont Museum of Art Fall Gala 2015

All Aboard for Art

Saturday, September 26, 5:30 p.m. at the Claremont Depot

Maureen Wheeler, Claremont Depot, c.2011, linocut

Maureen Wheeler, Claremont Depot, c.2011, linocut

To view a photos of the event, click here.

Please join fellow art lovers, artists, patrons and collectors on Saturday, September 26, beginning at 5:30 pm, for our fourth Fall Gala, All Aboard for Art.

Against the stunning backdrop of the historic Claremont Depot, we will dine al fresco on a sumptuous dinner by Chef Henry Gonzalez of Spaggi’s, accompanied by music from the Jazz Doctors. The event, benefiting the Claremont Museum of Art education programs, will include a silent and live auction of unique art objects by Jean Ames, Karl Benjamin, Lucette Bourdin, Tom Herberg, Joella Mahoney, Harrison McIntosh, James Strombotne, Chris Toovey, Maureen Wheeler and Milford Zornes as well as art related activities. And get ready to capture your most creative poses in our photo booth, open all evening.

Gala tickets are $100 for members and $125 for non-members. To request an invitation, please contact Marilyn Ray at marilynray348@gmail.com or call 909-917-6511. Not a current member? Click here to join or renew now to save on Gala tickets.

This will truly be a wonderful event, thanks to the many gala supporters including Sandra Baldonado, Barbara Brown, Peggy A. Carlson of Wealthcare Capital Management, the City of Claremont, Jill Fulton, Gould Asset Management, Marguerite and Harrison McIntosh, Dr. Janet Myhre, Marilyn Ray, Chef Henry of Spaggi’s, Georgette and Joseph Unis, Mary and Fritz Weis, and David and Ahlene Welsh.

Please consider becoming an event sponsor, as well as attending our fun evening. Your sponsorship gift will assist the Museum in funding its art education programs in the Claremont schools, and provide events and activities for art enthusiasts of all ages.

See you at the Depot!

Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Millard Sheets Film

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Claremont, Calif. (June 22, 2015) – The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 12th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 1 with an outdoor art show, art and craft demonstrations, music and more. The recently produced film Design for Modern Living will be shown throughout the day and an exhibition will feature paintings by one of California’s most recognized artists, Millard Sheets.

Some local residents still recall the popular Padua Hills Art Fiesta held through the 1950s. Since 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art has continued the tradition with Claremont area artists showing their work under the shady olive trees of the beautifully restored Padua Hills Theatre.

  • Sunday, November 1, 11 am to 4 pm at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for CMA members. Children under 18 are free.
  • Twenty five area artists will display and sell their paintings, prints, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and jewelry. Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations.
  • A Claremont Museum of Art exhibition, Millard Sheets: Hills and Horses will show how a love of horses inspired the artwork of Padua Hills artist Millard Sheets in the 1940–60s.
  • The new documentary film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975 will be shown throughout the day.
  • ARTstART students will lead children in creative Art Activities. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch and fresh lemonade.

First held in 1953, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was organized by 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 – watercolor, pottery, woodworking, sculpture in stone, bronze and ceramic, mosaic, textiles as well as painting. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. Today the tradition continues with a new generation of artists sharing their talents.

THE ART SALE

The outdoor art show will feature twenty-five area artists showing their work under a grove of shady olive trees. New artwork this year will include paintings by Rebecca Hamm and Guan Zhi, mixed media by Sumi Foley, ceramics by Gaby Tepper and AMOCA Ceramic Studio artists, wood turning by David Holzberger, and jewelry by Jay Simmons.

Favorite returning Claremont artists will include Paul Brayton, Gina Lawson Egan, Kathryn Herrman, Mike Hill, Aleta Jacobson, Carolyn Lee, Andree Mahoney, Sherry Marger, Kathleen McCall, Maureen Wheeler, Jerry Owens, Kazumi Kabayashi Svenson, Barry Vantiger, Ahlene Welsh, Jan Wheatcroft and Susan Zenger.

THE EXHIBITION
MILLARD SHEETS: Hills and Horses

The exhibition Millard Sheets: Hills and Horses will feature paintings, drawings and lithographs from the years that Sheets lived and worked in Padua Hills in the 1940s-60s. Born in 1907 on a ranch in Pomona, Millard Sheets showed early promise as an artist and attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. There he became accomplished in many media – painting, printmaking, mural painting and architectural design. An early trip to Europe introduced him to German Expressionism and Turner’s watercolors. His interest in Regionalism produced paintings of rural California as well as scenes of Los Angeles in the Depression. In 1930 he arrived to develop the fledgling art department at Scripps College and form the Graduate art program. Under his leadership, Claremont became a significant artistic center. He built his house in the Padua Hills where so many of his artist friends lived.

The war years saw him designing flight-training schools and working as an artist-correspondent for Life magazine where he painted many scenes of India and Burma. After the war he returned to Scripps and the Claremont Graduate School to mentor returning GIs in their art careers. Many of these young men and women were drawn to the Abstract Expressionism and while it was not Sheet’s preferred style he encouraged them. Sheets was put in charge of the Fine Arts program at the L.A. County Fair in the early fifties and his students were put to work preparing the galleries and often being shown there. In 1953 Sheet’s became the director of the new Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles but he maintained his studio in Claremont. Here he designed many of the Home Federal Savings Banks with their stunning mosaic murals and worked with many architects on other projects. He retired to northern California where he died in 1989.

THE FILM

Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Two years in the making, the one-hour documentary film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975, produced by Paul Bockhorst in partnership with the Claremont Museum of Art, tells the story of the remarkable artistic community that took root at Scripps College and made Claremont an important center of Mid-20th Century Modern design.
The film provides a vivid and illuminating account of the important art community that emerged in Claremont in the years following World War II under the leadership of Millard Sheets, with profiles of nearly two dozen artists and craftspersons. In the years following World War II, the community of Claremont in Southern California emerged as an important center for the visual arts, due in large measure to the inspired efforts of the artist and educator Millard Sheets. In Claremont, painters, sculptors, ceramists, enamel and mosaic artists, woodworkers and fiber artists devoted themselves to their creative pursuits with great imagination and energy, creating works that express the spirit of Postwar Modernism in California.

In the film, artists who were active in Claremont in the postwar period share their memories of the time and place. They include Betty Davenport Ford, John Svenson, James Strombotne, Paul Darrow, Harrison McIntosh, Barbara Beretich, and Martha Longenecker. Other artists featured in the documentary include William Manker, Jean and Arthur Ames, Albert Stewart, Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, Milford Zornes, James Hueter, Jack Zajac, Karl Benjamin, Roger Kuntz, Rupert Deese, Susan Hertel, and Sam Maloof. Additional insights are provided by Tony Sheets, Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, Christy Johnson, Harold Nelson, James Elliot-Bishop, and Catherine McIntosh.The documentary was produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, in cooperation with the Claremont Museum of Art. A veteran writer, producer, and director, Bockhorst has produced dozens of programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He recently received an Honorary AIA Award for his many documentaries on art and architecture.

Principal funding for Design for Modern Living was provided by The Ahmanson Foundation and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, The Windgate Charitable Foundation, Gerald and Bente Buck, E. Gene Crain, Marguerite and Harrison McIntosh, Tom & Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, and the Family of Helen Bockhorst. Additional support was provided by the Historical Collections Council of California, Peter and Gail Ochs, Robert and Nadine Hall, Jim and Perry Jamieson, Beverly Maloof, the Family of Karl Benjamin, and Betty Davenport Ford and Harold Ford.

CLAREMONT: A CENTER FOR MODERN DESIGN

The three decades following the end of World War II stand out as a golden age in Claremont and the surrounding Pomona Valley. The work created in that time and place gave vibrant physical expression to Southern California’s informal lifestyle, commanding both national and international attention. American confidence was high, and so too was the desire for the good life promised in the American Dream. After fifteen long years of economic crisis and war, there was enormous pent-up demand for modern housing and well designed home furnishings. Another important factor was the GI Bill, which allowed large numbers of returning veterans unprecedented access to higher education, including art instruction. The alignment of these factors in the late 1940s and early 1950s set the stage for an explosion in craft production in Southern California—and for Claremont’s emergence as an important center for modern design.

MILLARD SHEETS: ADVOCATE FOR THE ARTS

If the conditions were favorable for an artistic boom, a spark was still needed to ignite it. Millard Sheets was at once a painter, a muralist, an architectural designer, a teacher and art administrator, an entrepreneur, and an inspired cheerleader who tirelessly preached the importance of art in daily life. Handsome and energetic, daring and resourceful, he was a passionate ambassador for the arts. Sheets began by creating the art department at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School in the 1930-40s. He went on to develop the Art Department at the Los Angeles County Fair, planned and designed dozens of Home Savings & Loan Association branches throughout California, and became a powerful voice for the arts in the Southland.

“Padua Hills Art Fiesta to Feature Millard Sheets Film” PDF

Design for Modern Living Premieres at Garrison Theater

Film postcard frontsm

DVDs of the film Design for Modern Living are available from Paul Bockhorst Productions. BUY DVD.

Sponsored by the Claremont Museum of Art, the Clark Humanities Museum and the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College

An enthusiastic crowd of over 600 filled Garrison Theater for the premiere of Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-1975 on Sunday, March 22. The one-hour documentary film, produced by Paul Bockhorst in partnership with the Claremont Museum of Art, provides a vivid and illuminating account of the important art community that emerged in Claremont in the years following World War II under the leadership of Millard Sheets, with profiles of nearly two dozen artists and craftspersons.

The premiere event, sponsored by the Claremont Museum of Art, the Clark Humanities Museum and Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College, included an introduction by filmmaker Paul Bockhorst, a Q&A session and a wine reception to benefit CMA programs. Thanks to promotion sponsors Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Ryan Zimmerman, Broker Associate, Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

View the event photo gallery

DESIGN FOR MODERN LIVING

In the years following World War II, the community of Claremont in Southern California emerged as an important center for the visual arts, due in large measure to the inspired efforts of the artist and educator Millard Sheets. In Claremont, painters, sculptors, ceramists, enamel and mosaic artists, woodworkers and fiber artists devoted themselves to their creative pursuits with great imagination and energy, creating works that express the spirit of Postwar Modernism in California.

Design for Modern Living tells the story of the remarkable artistic community that took root at Scripps College and made Claremont an important center of Mid-20th Century Modern design.

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

Millard Sheets in his Padua Hills studio in the early 1950s. Photo for Life Magazine from Sheets Family Archive.

“The interviews touch on all the important issues and are beautifully integrated with the historic photographs. Congratulations on a fine job extraordinarily well done!” – Harold Nelson, Curator of American Decorative Arts, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

In the film, artists who were active in Claremont in the postwar period share their memories of the time and place. They include Betty Davenport Ford, John Svenson, James Strombotne, Paul Darrow, Harrison McIntosh, Barbara Beretich, and Martha Longenecker. Other artists featured in the documentary include William Manker, Jean and Arthur Ames, Albert Stewart, Henry Lee McFee, Phil Dike, Milford Zornes, James Hueter, Jack Zajac, Karl Benjamin, Roger Kuntz, Rupert Deese, Susan Hertel, and Sam Maloof. Additional insights are provided by Tony Sheets, Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, Christy Johnson, Harold Nelson, James Elliot-Bishop, and Catherine McIntosh.

Paul Bockhorst

Paul Bockhorst

The documentary was produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Paul Bockhorst, in cooperation with the Claremont Museum of Art. A veteran writer, producer, and director, Bockhorst has produced dozens of documentary, informational, and public affairs programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He is the recipient of numerous professional awards, including five Emmy Awards.

Principal funding for Design for Modern Living was provided by The Ahmanson Foundation and Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, The Windgate Charitable Foundation, Gerald and Bente Buck, E. Gene Crain, Marguerite and Harrison McIntosh, Tom & Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, and the Family of Helen Bockhorst. Additional support was provided by the Historical Collections Council of California, Peter and Gail Ochs, Robert and Nadine Hall, Jim and Perry Jamieson, Beverly Maloof, the Family of Karl Benjamin, and Betty Davenport Ford and Harold Ford.

Artists James Strombotne, Betty Davenport Ford and Paul Darrow are among the artists featured in Design for Modern Living.

Artists James Strombotne, Betty Davenport Ford and Paul Darrow are among the artists featured in “Design for Modern Living.”

CLAREMONT: A CENTER FOR MODERN DESIGN

The three decades following the end of World War II stand out as a golden age in Claremont and the surrounding Pomona Valley. The work created in that time and place gave vibrant physical expression to Southern California’s informal lifestyle, commanding both national and international attention.

American confidence was high, and so too was the desire for the good life promised in the American Dream. After fifteen long years of economic crisis and war, there was enormous pent-up demand for modern housing and well-designed home furnishings. Another important factor was the GI Bill, which allowed large numbers of returning veterans unprecedented access to higher education, including art instruction. The alignment of these factors in the late 1940s and early 1950s set the stage for an explosion in craft production in Southern California—and for Claremont’s emergence as an important center for modern design.

MILLARD SHEETS: ADVOCATE FOR THE ARTS

If the conditions were favorable for an artistic boom, a spark was still needed to ignite it. Millard Sheets was at once a painter, a muralist, an architectural designer, a teacher and art administrator, an entrepreneur, and an inspired cheerleader who tirelessly preached the importance of art in daily life. Handsome and energetic, daring and resourceful, he was a passionate ambassador for the arts. Sheets began by creating the art department at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School in the 1930-40s. He went on to develop the Art Department at the Los Angeles County Fair, planned and designed dozens of Home Savings & Loan Association branches throughout California, and became a powerful voice for the arts in the Southland.

We were pleased to premiere this film on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at Garrison Theater, a structure designed by Millard Sheets in 1962 featuring his distinctive mosaic murals.

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Garrison Theater at Scripps College

PAUL BOCKHORST: PRODUCER‘S STATEMENT

Paul Bockhorst, a veteran writer, producer, and director, has produced dozens of programs that have appeared on PBS, NBC, ABC, Turner Broadcasting, and the Disney Channel. He recently received an Honorary AIA Award for his many documentaries on art and architecture.

I have long been fascinated by the unique art community that developed in Claremont in the years following World War II. I’ve often marveled at the wide range of art and craft produced there and the high caliber of that work. Artists like Millard Sheets, William Manker, Albert Stewart, Betty Davenport Ford, Karl Benjamin, Jack Zajac, Roger Kuntz, Harrison McIntosh, and Sam Maloof set high standards and made Claremont a major center for art, craft, and architecture in the postwar period. Several times over the years I considered making a documentary about that community, with an emphasis on the leadership role played by Millard Sheets. Then, in 2012, I realized the urgency of the project and the need to act while a number of artists from that period were still able to provide firsthand accounts. To that end, I joined forces with the Claremont Museum of Art and embarked upon the production of a major documentary.

The first priority was to locate and interview surviving artists from the 1950s and 60s. Many were elderly, and it was important to move quickly to capture their memories. After securing a research grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, I proceeded to conduct interviews with a number of artists. They provided vivid and illuminating perspectives on what has been called the golden age of art in Claremont. People interviewed in the initial phase of the project included John Svenson, Betty Davenport Ford, Harrison McIntosh, Martha Longenecker, Paul Darrow, James Strombotne, Tony Sheets, Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle, Rufus Turner, and Barbara Beretich, among others.

As I pursued the project, I found an enormous amount of material—so much, in fact, that the scope and complexity of the story seemed to expand with every step I took. I realized that there was too much material for a single one-hour documentary. After consulting with project partners, I decided to divide the material and make not one, but two documentaries. The first, Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community, 1935-1975, focuses on art and craft in Claremont, and is being done in cooperation with the Claremont Museum of Art. The second documentary, Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Midcentury, is being produced in association with Claremont Heritage. It examines modern architecture and design. Together, the two documentaries provide a comprehensive panorama of art, craft, architecture, and design in Claremont in the postwar period.

John Svenson: For the Love of Wood

Svenson Condor1

John Svenson works on a redwood Condor sculpture in his Upland studio in 2007.

Claremont, CA (July 26, 2014) Over a lifetime of creating sculpture in many media, John Svenson’s work in wood stands out and expresses his love for this living material. The exhibition John Svenson: For the Love of Wood begins with a one-day display at the Padua Hills Art Fiesta on November 2, then moves to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

John Edward Svenson’s love of nature and mastery of his materials is evident throughout his large body of work, which ranges from small wood carvings to monumental public commissions. A native of the Pomona Valley, he studied art at Claremont Graduate School and worked for many years with sculptor Albert Stewart and artist/designer Millard Sheets. During his prolific career, Svenson produced over 23 sculptures for Home Savings and Loan banks and numerous public works in California and Alaska.

Sunday, November 2 at the Padua Hills Art Fiesta
Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Art Fiesta tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for CMA members. Children under 18 are free.

JS Madonna smNovember 8 – February 22, 2015 at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. Exhibition is open Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Garden admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children and free for CMA and RSABG members.

About the Artist

JS Owl smOver a lifetime of creating sculpture in many sizes and medium, John Edward Svenson has had a love affair with wood. “There is a direct connection to the material, one can observe the grain and understand the life of the tree. If I am lucky, I can express this life and create something of beauty” says Svenson. Understanding natural form through flora and fauna is at the core of his creations.

John began working in wood as a child and never stopped. Unlike materials such as bronze, which require multiple processes, working in wood is time consuming but immediate. The act of carving wood is therapeutic and personal.

JS Nootka smJohn Svenson was born in Los Angeles in 1923 and grew up on a citrus grove in the Pomona Valley. After WWII, the GI Bill allowed him to attend Claremont Graduate School to study art at Scripps and Pomona College. For many years he worked with sculptor Albert Stewart and artist/designer Millard Sheets. During his prolific career, Svenson produced over 23 sculptures for Home Savings and Loan banks and many public works in California and Alaska. His sculpture and medallic work are held in numerous public and private collections in national and international locations. Teacher Albert Stewart and mentor Paul Manship nominated Svenson to the National Sculpture Society in 1966 and he advanced to “Fellow” in 1971.

ARBORETUM Comes to the Botanic Garden

The Claremont Museum of Art presents Steve Comba ARBORETUM in the gallery at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 through July 13. Garden admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children and free for CMA and RSABG members.

Steve Comba, detail from Arboretum

Steve Comba, detail from Arboretum

The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition features Steve Comba’s drawings, sketches, photographs and paintings that relate to and culminated in the eight-foot painting, Arboretum. In 2011, the artist devoted eight months to create the painting using photos, sketches and studies from 1984 to the present day. It is both an autobiographical journey through his own work in landscape as well as a treatise on the artificial nature of painting and the objective beauty of Nature.

“My journey as a painter ranged from abstracted minimalist explorations of the object as primary structure, with only those essential elements such as color and scale as the key communicator of meaning, to a decidedly Romantic impulse to tell “stories” through recognizable images. Though I’m still a strong advocate of the power and effectiveness of the theoretical and cerebral, I’m strongly drawn to the representational and visual. All along this journey, my guiding influence has been Nature, or more accurately, natural forms. I’m still interested in the “plastic” realm that is the made object (pigment, support, scale), yet I’m compelled toward reflecting the source: the light, shape, and timelessness of landscape and the innate, uniquely human, desire to read meaning and narratives into pictures.”

THE ARTIST

Steve Comba is a Claremont-based artist and museum professional. He received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University and his paintings and drawings have been shown in exhibitions throughout the southland. In addition to being a practicing studio artist, he has also worked in the museum field for the past 28 years on numerous projects in the greater Los Angeles area. As the Associate Director/Registrar at the Pomona College Museum of Art, he recently designed and opened the Native American Collection Study Center. He was founding Vice President of the Claremont Museum of Art and curated five of that museum’s inaugural exhibitions. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Western Museums Association.

Related Link:

Pomona College Museum of Art Assistant Director Steve Comba Showcases Arboretum with Claremont Museum of Art (The Student Life, newspaper of the Claremont Colleges Associated Students)

Fall 2013 Salute to Phil Dike

Saturday, September 21, 5-10 p.m.
PUBLIC EVENT
Fall Gala: A Wondrous Evening: Celebrating the Watercolor World of Phil Dike

Phil Dike, c. 1960

Phil Dike, c.1960. Courtesy of the Scripps College Archive

We are delighted to announce our fall gala, A Wondrous Evening: Celebrating the Watercolor World of Phil Dike, on Saturday, September 21, 2013.  Scripps College has graciously allowed us to hold our event in conjunction with their exhibition, Chasing Daylight: Philip Latimer Dike, 1927-1943, in the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.

We will begin our evening with a reception and tour of the exhibition, followed by dinner in Bixby Court, adjacent to the gallery.  Our special guest speaker will be Phil and Betty’s son Woody Dike.  We will also offer a chance drawing for a Phil Dike serigraph and a silent auction of unique art objects donated by some of Claremont’s most well-known collectors and artists, as well as art-related activities.

This will truly be a wonderful event, thanks to our many supporters including Premier Sponsor Marguerite McIntosh, Claremont Museum of Art Founding President; Patron Sponsors Bradford and Mary Anne Blaine, Barbara Brown and Mathematical Analysis Research Corporation. Table Sponsors include Sandra Baldonado, Attorney at Law; Peggy Carlson of Wealthcare Capital Management, Inc.; Suzanne H. Christian, CFP; City of Claremont; Gould Asset Management LLC; Lewis Operating Corporation and Marilyn Ray. Gala invitations will be mailed in a few weeks.

About Phil Dike

Phil Dike was a key member of the early California Watercolor Society and worked on many classic animated Disney films 1935-45. He came to Claremont in 1950 to join the art faculty of Scripps College and also taught at the Claremont Graduate School for several decades. He was an inspiration to many well-known artists and his work is included in numerous prestigious collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.