Ceramics museum to open in Pomona


Photo: Will Lester

The American Museum of Ceramic Art, opened in downtown Pomona in 2004, has relocated a few blocks north to the former Pomona First Federal bank headquarters at 399 N. Garey Ave.

After a private reception Friday night, the museum opens Saturday to the public from noon to 9 p.m., part of the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk centered a couple of blocks south along Second Street. Visitor information is here.

My Friday column (read it here) is about the museum and its founder, David Armstrong. The first exhibit, “Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California 1945-1975,” is part of the Pacific Standard Time arts initiative exploring L.A.’s postwar arts legacy.

Seen above is a portion of the 77-foot-long Millard Sheets mural, “Panorama of Pomona.” Here’s an older view of the mural when the bank was in operation and one from last year, before the bank’s renovation.

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  • shirley wofford

    Since it takes so much money to fund, arts of any kind, this man is to be commended, for opening up this museum, in these financial times. If he had not put the money and elbow grease he has, into it, that mural probably would have been destroyed. I’m glad he got some arts funding. I look forward to visiting this museum. It should be an attraction, for Pomona.

    Regarding the ceramic-ware in your photo–I am in awe, of people, who create such beautiful pottery, by pedaling a wheel, while turning a huge glob of clay, and using their hands to mold, such works of art.

    Seeing this picture, makes me think of a scene, that Ellen DeGeneres did, when she had a weekly comedy series–she was pedaling the wheel, while trying to turn a pot, accompanied by the song from, “Ghost”, in that movie’s pottery-scene, with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore (I think the song was, “Unchained Melody”). Ellen’s attempt, at bringing on the nostalgia, of that movie, was hilarious. I wonder if anyone else remembers it.

    [A similar parody was in one of the “Naked Gun” movies. — DA]

  • JohnTee

    I think a digital camera incorporating the “stitch” function could be used to photograph the Sheets mural. To use this function one takes a series of overlapping photos which together cover the complete subject. The camera then “stitches” the photos together, and the resulting composite photo can be downloaded like any other photo.

    My relatively inexpensive Canon camera has this function, so I think it must be fairly common.

    [Feel free to try it at the museum yourself, John. The mural is best seen in person anyway. — DA]

  • Robin Towne

    I’m absolutely thrilled the Millard Sheets mural is in good hands. We worried about moving the mural to a museum. It is so much better to move a museum to the mural! A world class museum at that. So wonderful.

    The old bank looked stunning Saturday night, I’m so happy. I was a member of Pomona First Federal my entire life, before they were in the new building, until it closed. The mural is an old friend to me. Now it is in the best of company, surrounded by ceramic treasures and curiosities.

    I was very interested to see how the studio potters’ work space was progressing. Kilns are installed, wheels aligned, work being produced in the common area. I found my way all the way to a room, formerly an auto dealership showroom, built approx 1918.

    This room held a hidden ceramic treasure, unknown to David Armstrong when he purchased the building. Under layers of old flooring was discovered a beautiful art deco tile floor, rich multi colored matte tiles in many shapes and arrangements, honeycomb, squares, rectangles. There was beautiful pottery displayed in that room, art and pots made by working potters who rent space in the AMOCA studios. I never knew such a room existed in the old bank building, what a surprise. I think the AMOCA studio potters’ gallery is a must-see location during future art walks.

    Congratulations to David Armstrong and the rest of the AMOCA staff for this wonderful boost to art and ceramics and Pomona.

    [Robin’s the one who alerted me to the mural a year or two ago, when its future was in doubt, so her gratitude for its preservation has extra resonance. — DA]