Claremont, Calif. (December 9, 2015) – We are pleased to announce that Claremont Museum of Art (CMA) has entered into a lease agreement with the City of Claremont for the adaptive reuse of the Claremont Depot as a small art museum. The proposal was approved by Claremont City Council with a unanimous vote on Tuesday evening. This iconic building in the center of the Claremont Village was partially restored in 1990 but has remained unoccupied, except for a Transit Center and a bike storage facility. Funded by a state grant, the City will initiate necessary basic tenant improvements to the structure, while CMA will be responsible for all museum enhancements, which will be funded by a major capital campaign.
With plans to start small and grow gradually, the museum will showcase the work of Claremont area artists, past, present and future. It will serve as a centerpiece for the arts community and contribute to Claremont’s increasing status as an art destination. The recently completed Public Art Master Plan “is dedicated to Claremont’s vibrant arts community. It is intended to build on Claremont’s significant artistic legacy and to appreciate, nurture, and celebrate the long-held civic pride for its artists.” The Claremont Museum of Art will serve an essential role in this mission. See the attached CMA proposal with accompanying architectural renderings and initial plans. Go to www.claremontmuseum.org for more information about the museum, its history and current programs.For questions and comments, you may contact Sandy Baldonado, President of the Claremont Museum of Art Board of Directors at (951) 203-5397.
Claremont’s Rich Artistic Legacy
Art is an enduring part of Claremont’s history and heritage. Known throughout the country as an “art mecca” in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Claremont remains an important center of artistic activity. Claremont artists are integral to the cultural fabric of the City, having contributed to its unique identity and personality for more than 70 years. Centered by the Colleges, Claremont emerged as an important art community in the years following World War II. The recently produced film Design for Modern Living: Millard Sheets and the Claremont Art Community 1935-75 reinforced our awareness of the significance of our artistic heritage, a heritage worthy of preservation and presentation to future generations.
Claremont continues to have an active community of artists. Although many artists have homes and studios in neighboring towns, Claremont serves as a hub for area artists in large part because of the presence and reputation of The Claremont Colleges. In the tradition of their predecessors, local artists continue to impact the quality of the social and built environments. Part of the charm of this town is to walk through the Village hearing talk of kiln firings or seeing the latest mural project emerge. Local galleries fill with visitors at the monthly Art Walk and the Colleges bring exhibitions, lectures and art events to our community. Art happens here.
About the Museum
The Claremont Museum of Art was created to celebrate our community’s rich artistic legacy and to promote the cultural vitality of the region. With high hopes, the museum was incorporated in 2004 and was located in the Packing House for two years. Since 2010, the museum has successfully operated as a “museum without walls.” With nearly 300 members, the volunteer organization continues to hold numerous events and programs. CMA has presented ten exhibitions in borrowed spaces, including Millard Sheets: Hills and Horses currently on display at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. The Padua Hills Art Fiesta has become a popular annual event and studio tours have opened dozens of artists’ studios to the public. Funds raised have supported Project ARTstART, an art education program now in its fifth year serving Claremont schools.
The museum currently holds a significant art collection in storage. With a permanent exhibition space, CMA expects to expand the collection to truly represent the artistic legacy of Claremont. CMA’s Claremont Depot Advisory Committee has retained local architect John Bohn, AIA LEED AP, who has experience in museum architecture and is an architectural instructor at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, to work with them in developing a vision for the museum in the Claremont Depot.