Padua Hills Art Fiesta Returns on November 7

The Claremont Museum of Art will host the 17th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 7 with an outdoor art show, 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.

Sunday, November 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 will be available from Padua Park.

  • Thirty area artists will have original artwork for sale including ceramics, glass, jewelry, paintings, prints, woodwork and photography.
  • Area art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations and art books will be for sale.
  • A Music Stage will feature local performers. Festive foods will be served. For the safety of our visitors, there will be no indoor activities this year.
  •  Thanks to Sponsors Jeffrey K. Stark & Associates, Investment Services and Wheeler Steffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

Ahelene Welsh will show her silver jewelry and woven jackets.

New artwork this year will include mixed media by Doug Pearsall; ceramics by Dana Flores, Quincey Grace, Tandy Robinson and John Sasaki; jewelry by Cj Jilek and Dawn Crandall; Woodwork by Jorge Rafael Moawad and art books by Christina Frausto. And you will find many favorite returning Claremont artists: Paul Brayton, Michael and Su Cheatham, Ellen Dinerman, Gina Lawson Egan, Kirsten Erickson, Paul Faulstich, Sumi Foley, David Holtzberger, Aleta Jacobson, Kathleen McCall, Hal Metlizky, T and Jon Pacini, Damien Ross, Gaby Tepper, Barry Vantiger, David Wade and Ahlene Welsh.

History of the Padua Hills Art Fiesta

Damian Ross will return with his popular ceramics.

In 2011, the Claremont Museum of Art revived the Padua Hills Art Fiesta as it was held 1953-59 with a new generation of artists sharing their talents. This popular event is produced in the spirit of the original “Art in Action” theme. Artists display their work under the olive trees, local art organizations provide demonstrations, musicians perform, and guests enjoy tacos on the terrace overlooking the hills. Many artists and guests have commented on the “great vibe” of the event.

The original Padua Hills Art Fiesta was organized by local artists to bring art into the community. In 1956, Milford Zornes wrote “We feel that to know artists, to watch them work, and to talk with them about their work is to share their creativeness and experience.”

Jacqueline Knell works on a portrait at the 2019 Art Fiesta.

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.

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.

Gina Layson Egan will return with her whimsical ceramic sculptures.

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, Carl and Sue Hertel, James Heuter, Anthony Ivins, Roger Kuntz, Sam Maloof, Douglas McClellan, Walter Mix, Lindley Mixon, David Scott, Paul Soldner, James Strombotne, John Svenson, 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 from 1953 to 1959, the current festival seeks to replicate the educational and entertaining feel of the original events, while continuing to practice and showcase the original “Art in Action” theme. The arts movement in Claremont continues to flourish and the Art Fiesta seeks to showcase a new generation of Claremont artists.