Category Archives: News

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.

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.”  

 

Claremont Museum of Art Gets Lively with Jazz, Books and Brews for Art Walk

(June 24, 2019) – Summer evenings on the Depot Plaza will come alive with jazz music, books and brews for Art Walk on Saturday, July 6 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Claremont Museum of Art exhibition Displacement Zero will be on view at 200 W. First Street.

Enjoy “Vintage Music” with Mark Herring and Patrick Langford with its eye-popping virtuosity and its brand of tight, tasteful, sometimes edgy jazz on the first Saturday of every month. Shop for gently used art books while you sip beers courtesy of Claremont Craft Ales.

The 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 perceptions of place. The exhibition, on view through August 25, has drawn an inquisitive crowd. Who knew that so many people have a secret love of maps!

Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.

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 Deconstructs Our Sense of Place

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.

Claremont Museum of Art to Open at the Depot

depot-back_smThanks to generous and enthusiastic community support, the Claremont Museum of Art has raised over $150,000 to renovate and repurpose the Claremont Depot into a jewel of a small museum. Phase I of the renovation is nearing completion and the first exhibition will soon be installed.

The Board of Directors of the Claremont Museum of Art is exceptionally grateful to the Depot Challenge Grant funders and Challenge Match donors for their commitment and generosity to the Phase I renovation of the Claremont Depot. See our complete list of Depot Renovation Fund Donors.

The community is invited to join in celebrating this first big milestone in the transformation of the Claremont Depot on Sunday, November 20, from noon to 4:00 pm at the Depot, 200 W. First Street in Claremont. The opening exhibition, (re)Generation: Six Decades of Claremont Artists will be on view and visitors will enjoy light refreshments and art-making activities led by Project ARTstART students. There will be an official ribbon cutting with the City Council and Chamber of Commerce on Monday, November 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Under the direction of local architect John Bohn and Bob Soderberg of Alchemy Construction the former Foothill Transit Ticket Office has been transformed with a second “skin,” so art can be installed on the new walls without harming the original structure.  The elegant Atrium has been polished up with new gallery lights in the chandelier, new paint, and some much needed repair work. The bathrooms have also been renewed with all new fixtures, paint and new lighting.  The changes are so subtle and ingenious that they mask the incredible amount of time, effort and creativity that went into the renovation.

Phase II will focus on the two most eastern rooms in the building that will require more extensive renovation and will require additional time and resources. The City of Claremont will be partnering with CMA on underwriting Phase II with special grants earmarked specifically for this project.

The opening exhibition, (re)Generation: Six Decades of Claremont Artists, will feature selections from the museum’s permanent collection that reflect our region’s rich artistic legacy from the influence of Millard Sheets and the artists who arrived in the 1940s to the GIs who came to study after WWII, to the many contemporary artists who continue to call Claremont home. The exhibition, generously sponsored by Gould Asset Management LLC, will be on view through March 12, 2017.

The Claremont Museum of Art will be open Friday through Sunday, noon to 4:00pm with free admission through December. The museum will also be open 6-9:00pm the First Saturday of each month for the Art Walk.

Press Release – “Claremont Museum of Art to Open at the Depot” [PDF]