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Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art and Architecture

March 18, 2012 @ 11:30 am - 4:00 pm

Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art and Architecture

Garrison Theatre courtesy Scripps College
Garrison Theatre at Scripps College; courtesy Scripps College.

Sunday, March 18, 2012
11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$30 general public
$25 L.A. Conservancy members

$15 students, $10 kids 12 and under

As part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980, the Conservancy and its Modern Commitee are proud to present a special,
one-time-only tour exploring the art and architecture of Millard Sheets in the Claremont and Pomona area.

A highly influential artist, designer, and educator, Sheets made an indelible mark on the postwar Southern California landscape.

You’ll enjoy a curated look at important examples of his work, including his own former studio, as well as the contributions of his many peers and protégés.

In recent years, Sheets’ work has grown increasingly vulnerable to demolition and excessive alteration. The Conservancy and our Modern Committee are working to raise awareness of, and preserve, Sheets’ rich legacy of Southern California art and architecture.

Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art and Architecture is part of Pacific Standard Time. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. For more information, visit


Former Millard Sheets Studio (1958)
Sheets designed this complex in Claremont for use as his own design and mosaic studio. Now used as a medical office, it remains remarkably intact, inside and out.The exterior of the building features fanciful mosaics of birds and people, and the landscaping is classic mid-century modern.
 Sheets Studio by Regina O'Brien
Regina O’Brien
Garrison Theatre, Scripps College (1963)
Sheets designed the magnificent theatre at Scripps College, whose art department he led for nineteen years. The grand entrance to the 700-seat auditorium features monumental mosaics depicting scenes from Shakespeare. The two-story lobby has original tapestries by Jean and Arthur Ames.Bonus: Just steps away from the Garrison Theatre is the Ruth Chandler
Williamson Gallery where you’ll have access to their current show,
Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price and Peter Voulkos, 1956-1968, which explores the role of ceramics in mid-century art in Los Angeles. 
 Garrison Theatre courtesy Scripps College
Courtesy Scripps College
Pomona First Federal, now American Museum of Ceramic Art (circa 1957)
This mid-century bank complex now houses the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA). Now gallery space, the former banking lobby features a nearly 80-foot-long painted mural by Sheets depicting the history of the Pomona Valley.Bonus: You’ll also have access to AMOCA’s current show, Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California 1945 – 1975, with hundreds of pieces by artists who all had a direct connection to Sheets.
 AMOCA by Annie Laskey
Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy
Pomona First Federal, now US Bank (1968)
Nearly unchanged since it opened, this former branch of Pomona First Federal combines the modernism, neo-classicism, mosaics, and mural art associated with the best of Sheets’ famous Home Savings Bank designs.
 Pomona First Federal by Regina O'Brien
Regina O’Brien
Pomona Mall (1962)
Pomona’s downtown mall was the first pedestrian mall in America west of the Mississippi.To create the mall, Millard Sheets closed nine blocks of Second
Street to traffic and unified the whole by adding planter boxes with
shade trees, fountains with mosaics and sculpture, and simplified
facades to many of the buildings.Five blocks of the mall have since been reopened to vehicular traffic, yet many historic features remain intact.
Mural Detail, Pomona Mall
Annie Laskey/L.A. Conservancy 
(from the Mall) Home Savings Tower, now Chase Bank (1963)
From the Pomona Mall, we’ll discuss this elegant tower designed by
Sheets to anchor the mall. The six-story building was designed for Home Savings, and the lacy design on the exterior was created by weaving the initials “H” and “S” together.The building is currently threatened with demolition, and its upper floors are covered by scaffolding. Yet the tower remains a strong presence in the area, and one of Sheets’ trademark mosaics is visible on the façade.

 Pomona Home Savings by Larry Underhill
Larry Underhill


  • This is a collection of docent-led tours, not a bus tour.
  • You’ll check in at an assigned location, then drive yourself to each site, where you will receive a docent-led tour.
  • Seeing all six sites will take about 3 hours.
  • You may start at any time, and visit the sites in any order like, though all tours will end promptly at 4:00.
  • Photography may be limited in some interiors.
  • Restrooms will not be available at all locations.


A native of the Pomona Valley, Millard Sheets was a nationally renowned and highly influential artist with the California School of painting. He helped found the Otis Art Institute, and he served as director of the Scripps College Art Department for nineteen years.

Although never licensed as an architect, Sheets completed a number of simple yet monumental designs that have beautifully stood the test of time. His best-known designs are the now-iconic branch locations of Home Savings and Loan (later Washington Mutual, now Chase) throughout California.

Sheets worked with many artists and artisans to create unique artwork for many of the buildings he designed. His collaborators included muralists Susan Hertel, Denis O’Connor, and Jean and Arthur Ames, as well as sculptors Renzo Fenci, Betty Davenport Ford, Albert Stewart, and John Svenson.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Pacific Standard Time full logo

LAC logo modcom color logo

Tickets are $30 for the general public, $25 for Los Angeles Conservancy members (join or renew now to get your member discount!), $15 for students, and $10 for kids 12 and under.


 Click here to order tickets 


March 18, 2012 11:30 am
March 18, 2012 4:00 pm