Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art & Architecture

On Sunday we ventured out to Pomona and Claremont for the Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art & Architecture Tour, hosted by the Los Angeles Conservancy. It had been raining and windy the night before, but luckily, the skies cleared as we drove down the freeway. There was intermittent rain later in the day, but not too bad.
Our first stop was the American Museum of Ceramic Art (formerly Pomona First Federal Bank). In addition to seeing the excellent first exhibit of this new museum, we viewed the 78 foot long "Panorama of the Pomona Valley" mural depicting one hundred years of history in the area, conceived and partially painted by Millard Sheets. WOW! It's magnificent!
We made the short drive to the Pomona Mall, parked and enjoyed a docent-led walking tour of the area. This pedestrian mall is the center of Downtown Pomona. It was opened in 1962, after closing the existing streets to cars, designing decorative fountains and seating areas along the walkways and landscaping. Millard Sheets' design for the Mall is elegant. He commissioned many artists, including Arthur and Jean Ames, Betty Davenport Ford and John Svenson to enhance the area with mosaics and sculpture. The Pomona branch of Home Savings and Loan (now Chase Bank) is one of the largest of Sheets' buildings. It is currently under repair, but it is an impressive and imposing centerpiece to the Mall.

The Goddess, Pomona - Detail of Fountain Mosaic,
Downtown Pomona Mall

After a quick lunch on the Mall, we drove to Scripps College in Claremont to view the Garrison Theater. The rain was coming down a bit, so we scurried underneath the building's overhang to view the mosaic depicting scenes from Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," "Romeo and Juliet," and "King Lear." The lobby of the theater has large tapestries by Arthur and Jean Ames, also depicting the theatrical arts. Inside, we met up with a few of our Modern Committee friends, including Greg Iriart, Kieran Sala, Kathy Hummer Rudnyk, Laurene Harding, Luis Rivas, Regina O'Brien and John English.

Garrison Theater

Our final tour stop was the former Millard Sheets art studio. The building is now owned by an optometrist. It has retained most of the original design and architectural elements. This is where all of the mosaics and murals were done. One portion of the front building has a very high roof to accommodate this work.
By 4:30pm, the rain was coming down. We zoomed over the the Claremont United Church of Christ for a panel discussion with many of Sheets' former collaborators. After the panel talk we roamed about the Church, designed by Sheets, to view the various stained glass panels, mosaics, sculpture, etc. It was an exhausting but exhilarating day!
To view photos of our tour, click here.

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At 6:12 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great tour it was! Thanks for recapping the high points. Loved seeing you there./Paddy

At 9:33 AM PDT, Anonymous Hester from Atlanta said...

In San Diego, here and there, are alaso several great mosica murals by Millard Sheets - especially on older savings and loan buildings.


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