Calendar: Experience An All-American Summer In Claremont
May 5, 2022 — For Southern Californians looking for summer events and local staycation opportunities, the college town of Claremont beckons. Located just 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Claremont offers eclectic, international dining choices; local beers and spirits; unique boutiques featuring owner-curated merchandise; and walkable trails through the San Gabriel Mountains.
Summer attractions include the 86-acre California Botanic Garden, the Folk Music Center and Museum, the Claremont Museum of Art at the Claremont Depot, the new Benton Museum at Pomona College, and public art installations on The Claremont Colleges campuses. Find specials at information at DiscoverClaremont.com.
Following are selected upcoming visitor events in Claremont:
May 20–September 25 – Claremont Collects: Art, Creativity, Community at Claremont Museum of Art
Since the 1930s Claremont has been both magnet and haven for artists. Millard Sheets, Jean Ames, Phil Dike and their contemporaries cultivated a tight-knit community of artists, centered around The Claremont Colleges, that promoted collaboration, innovation, and experimentation. The inaugural exhibition in the newly expanded Claremont Lewis Museum of Art in the historic train depot celebrates Claremont’s rich artistic legacy, vibrant creative community, and robust support for the arts, featuring highlights from the Museum’s permanent collection. More details at clmoa.org.
May 21 – Robbie Fulks at Folk Music Center
The Grammy-nominated artist (Best Folk Album, “Upland Stories”) performs as part of the Folk Music Center Concert Series. More details at folkmusiccenter.com.
July 4 – “Red White & Blue in 2022”
A fireworks spectacular and concert at Pomona College’s Strehle Track highlights this full day of hometown-style public activities.
July 14-24 – 9th Annual Midsummer Shakespeare Festival, Presented by Ophelia’s Jump
Presented by Ophelia’s Jump Productions, in co-production with Pomona College, this year’s show features MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Thursdays to Sundays, at Sontag Greek Theatre at Pomona College. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. The beautiful lawns surrounding the Sontag Theatre are perfect for BYOB picnicking; local restaurants will offer picnic specials in town to order and bring to the show. A “Green Show” featuring local musicians and performers begins at 7:00 p.m. each night. More details at opheliasjump.org.
California Botanic Garden Hosts (Re)place, A Site-Specific Sculptural Installation
(Re)place is a collaboration between artist Brandon Lomax and California Botanic Garden’s past, present and future. Sculptural works will be shown at various stages of completion from fully-fired clay works that are as durable as stone to unfired works that are more vulnerable to the weather and elements of the Garden. Lomax is embedding some works with native plant species. Throughout the duration of the exhibit, unfired clay works will disintegrate and rejoin the soil, their once solid forms replaced by a wildflower garden.
Referencing multiple meanings of place, the exhibit becomes the site of restoration, substitution, and belonging as it celebrates diversity in all forms: class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. The show reminds us that we are here because we are vital contributors. The artist’s hope is that we humans can celebrate our own biodiversity and work together to create a more symbiotic relationship with our earth in this place, and every other.
The exhibition opens Saturday, November 13, 2021 and is free with the purchase of daily admission. Visitors may view the exhibition during the Garden’s open hours Tuesdays – Sundays from 8 AM – 5 PM.
During the opening weekend of the (Re)place exhibition, fine artist Brandon Lomax will facilitate public sculpture workshops guiding participants in making simple sculptural clay forms. The creations will be added to Lomax’s large-scale exhibition at California Botanic Garden. Workshop participants will also take home materials to create their own works of art for their garden. The clay provided will be infused with seeds from California native plants.
During the seven-month tenure of the show, the elements will degrade the unfired sculptures back into soil and seeds will sprout and blossom, replacing the sculptures that once stood in their place. Participants are encouraged to return to the Garden to witness the transformation of their sculptural works into native flora.
Adults and children are welcome to these approximately 1-hour workshops occurring at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM on Saturday, November 13. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For everyone’s safety, we ask that participants be prepared to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
$15 Public | $10 Member Adult | $5 Children
Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College Hosts Official Claremont Community Welcome
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College is thrilled to announce its Community Welcome on Saturday, November 13 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. The event is free and open to all, and it celebrates the transitions the museum has undergone in the past two years as well as the museum’s new home, ten years in the making.
Since January 2020, the museum has welcomed a new director, Victoria Sancho Lobis; changed its name to the Benton Museum of Art; and, importantly, completed the construction of and move into a brand-new building, designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler. The new building offers three times the space of the previous facility, allowing for more exhibitions, educational outreach, and events and programs. While the museum has been open for appointment visits since May, it has delayed its Community Welcome celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event will feature an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with elected officials and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, art and activities for all ages, exhibition viewing, live music, and even a few celebratory surprises. Currently installed in the museum’s galleries are four exhibitions—Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe (with the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena); Helen Pashgian: Primavera; Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend (with the Pitzker College Art Galleries); Sahara: Acts of Memory—as well as site-specific installations and commissions such as ﺣﺐ /Love by Alia Ali and Imbue by Alison Saar. COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed.
The Benton looks forward to opening its doors at 120 West Bonita Avenue in Claremont and welcoming its friends and neighbors at its free celebration on Saturday, November 13 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
About the Benton Museum of Art
Now housed in the new Benton Museum of Art designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler, Pomona College’s collection of art numbers 16,000 objects, including Italian Renaissance paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; works on paper, including a first edition print series by Francisco Goya given by Norton Simon; and works in various media produced in
Southern California in the twentieth century. In keeping with Pomona College’s reputation as a leading center of the visual arts, the collection also includes works by such esteemed alumni as Chris Burden ’69, Marcia Hafif ’51, Helen Pashgian ’56, Peter Shelton ’73, and James Turrell ’65. Recognized globally for its commitment to contemporary art, the museum is the home of The Project Series, which has featured more than 50 contemporary Southern California artists since it began in 1999. Through its collaboration with students and faculty, the museum encourages active learning and creative exploration across all disciplines of study within the liberal arts context.
About Pomona College
Located in Claremont, California, Pomona College is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Established in 1887, Pomona is known for its quality academic programs, a challenging curriculum, close relationships between students and faculty, a range of student research and leadership opportunities, and a strong commitment to the arts.
Additional information available at www.pomona.edu. Pomona College is a proud member of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce.
Some Can’t Miss Reasons To Visit Claremont
Claremont Village. A European-styled village spanning 12 city blocks with more than 150 unique restaurants, shops, bakeries, day spas, art galleries, entertainment venues, hotels, lounges and more. Walking these streets will immediately make you feel you’re no longer in Southern California.
Local dining. American, Afghan, Argentinean, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Persian, Thai and more. There are more than 70 eateries to sample in Claremont, most with local operators, and some with regionally renowned chefs and owners. The variety and abundance makes this a weekend trip you want to make several times a year.
Claremont Packing House. Originally built in 1922, the Packing House was renovated in 2007 to include shops, galleries, dining and night clubs. Home to Packing House Wines, Eureka!, The Whisper House, Gus’s BBQ and other eateries, it also features vintage clothing stores, a cooking academy, and a nationally famous bookstore, Thoreau’s Bookshop, that provides donated books to inmates.
A boutiquing paradise. Claremont is the home to dozens of locally owned boutiques featuring hand-selected merchandise, chic fashions, kitschy collectibles and antiques, gifts from unique corners of the world, and Fair Trade-sourced materials. The Packing House and Old School House also feature additional galleries and artisan shops.
California Botanic Garden. The largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants, the Garden displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants spread across 86 acres, including plants native to the California Floristic Province as a whole – from southern Oregon to Baja California. In addition to featuring a world-class botanical library and graduate-level education program, the Garden offers horticulture and community education programs to the public to encourage the use of California native plants in home landscapes.
Local baked goods and sweets. From sweets at the Some Crust Bakery and morning treats at Creme Bakery to bagels made fresh all day long at 42nd Street Bagel Café, Claremont Village is a foodie’s delight. Local chocolatier A. Kline’s candy shop is filled with hand-dipped treats, and creamery Bert and Rocky’s features more than 31 unique, homemade ice cream and sherbet flavors, and handmade caramel apples.
Wine and cheese. Packing House Wines wine bar and shop is located on the western end of the Packing House, offering a world of wines by the glass, varietals from growing regions all over the globe, and small plates and dinners from its executive chef. The Cheese Cave, a busy cheese shop on Yale Ave., offers dozens of cheeses from around the world, their own hand-pressed olive oils, and a selection of unique foods.
Bike-friendly streets. Honored as Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, Claremont’s streets are ideal for bicycling. For families, Claremont’s tree-lined streets offer majestic views of historic homes and the town’s college campuses, and easy rides to the Claremont Village to find an ideal eatery. Experienced cyclists can tackle the same route as the Amgen Tour of California from Claremont to Mount Baldy.
Pubs and grub. Befitting a college town, Claremont features several unique pubs that feature good food, live music and televised sports. The Lounge at Casa 425 features small plates and a signature margarita. And from the Back Abbey’s “Best in L.A.” pub burgers and dark ales to Walter’s “secret bar,” Claremont has a after-dark scene that’s all its own.
Dinner Theater and Historic Route 66. The Foothill Blvd. corridor includes the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont and the Candlelight Pavilion dinner theater that is housed within the gymnasium of the Old School House, Claremont’s original 1911 school building. DoubleTree’s popular dueling piano bar, Piano Piano, comes alive nightly with acts straight from the Las Vegas Strip.
Seven world-class colleges. A consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate schools of higher education all within walking distance. Internationally recognized for producing leaders in business, government and the professions.
Public Plaza Village Square. Also in the Claremont Village, the Village Square is surrounded by shops, restaurants and the boutique hotel and lounge Hotel Casa 425, and is home to the Laemmle 5 Claremont A modern public art fountain meanders through the square, providing both soothing water sounds as well as space for outdoor picnicking and music.
The great outdoors. In Claremont’s backyard are hikes at Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, skiing at Mount Baldy, and other adventures in the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.
Free parking. Indeed, there is one place in Los Angeles County where you can keep your quarters and credit cards in your pocket: Claremont offers free parking throughout the city.
New Benton Museum at Pomona College to Open for Visitors on May 18
The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College will be opening for appointment-based viewing starting Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
One year ago, the Benton was preparing for the fall opening of its new, state-of-the-art building designed by Machado Silvetti and Gensler. When the museum closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Benton staff completed the move of the collection, installed its inaugural slate of exhibitions, debuted its new graphic identity and redesigned website, continued its robust internship and school outreach programs remotely, and hosted online events that drew hundreds of participants.
Visitors to Claremont are now invited to see the exhibitions installed over the course of this last year: Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe; Alia Ali: Project Series 53; Art, Object, Specimen; CrossBorder Photography: Images of the US and Mexico from the Permanent Collection; In Our Care: Institutional History in Material Form; and Helen Pashgian: Primavera.
Reservations will be accepted for groups of up to 6 people for one-hour visits on the hour at 2, 3, 4, and 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Please visit the Benton’s online reservation system to make a viewing appointment. The museum will be following the safety protocols and practices of Los Angeles County and Pomona College, including required masks, social distancing, a limited number of people in the building at one time, and an online health check to be completed the day of your visit.
Claremont Midsummer Shakespeare Festival Returning This July 2021
Ophelia’s Jump Productions, a critically acclaimed nine-year-old non-profit theatre company, announces a three-play season in the second half of 2021.
The first play will comprise its Midsummer Shakespeare Festival, a co-production with Pomona College. The play will be presented at the College’s Sontag Greek Theatre, an outdoor venue with plenty of space to accommodate social distancing. The play presented will be Twelfth Night, directed by Caitlin Lopez (July 15 through 18, 22 through 25). All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.
Prior to the performance, the venue will be open early to accommodate picnickers, with booths featuring artists and artisanal vendors. There will also be a nightly Green Show (a pre- show entertainment). To make sure all participants can enjoy a fun, safe event, safety protocols will be in place. Visitors will be required to wear masks and maintain social distance, tickets will be sold in advance only, and household groups will be assigned picnicking space and seating. Concessions including craft beer, wine and snacks will be available.
For the uninitiated: Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy. The play centers on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola (who is disguised as Cesario) falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her, thinking she is a man.
The Midsummer Shakespeare Festival is sponsored by Discover Claremont. A special “Room and Bard” package from Discover Claremont will include a one-night hotel stay, $50 in gift cards for a picnic dinner from participating Claremont establishments, and two tickets to a “Twelfth Night” performance.
This summer will be especially festive as the city and Festival both reopen. The picturesque City of Claremont with its walkable tree-lined streets, stately college campuses, Botanic Gardens, museums and quaint shops is a popular getaway for Southern Californians.
Claremont Courier: Folk Music Center’s Ellen Harper on Her New Memoir
From Claremont Courier (February 1, 2021)
“Folk music” is tough to pin down.
Most picture a solitary singer/songwriter with a dreadnaught acoustic guitar singing earnest protest songs. The truth is it’s a panoply of styles and instrumentation. Its roots go back much further than the popular American boom of the 1950s and ’60s, to 19th century Europe, and further back still to Africa and the forebears of that big, booming acoustic guitar.
The one commonality is folk music has always been of the people. And most all of the people who helped push the music forward in America in the 1950s and ‘60s owe a debt to the Chase family, and the institution they founded, the iconic Folk Music Center in Claremont.
That rich history, from its 1958 creation to the present day, is chronicled in Ellen Harper’s superb new memoir, Always a Song, out January 26 on Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books.
Ms. Harper is the daughter of the Folk Music Center’s founders, Charles and Dorothy Chase, and the modern-day purveyor of “The Folk.” Her book brings to light the fascinating backstory behind her family’s place in the history of the music, and of course, of the 63-year-old store.
The sweeping story traces the family’s politically and socially active East Coast roots from her parents’ courtship to Ms. Harper’s early childhood, the family’s move to California, and on through her formative years in Claremont, then motherhood, music, and above all, family.
The project began as an exercise in that most fundamental folk tradition: preservation. Ms. Harper had for several years been writing down stories about her parents and grandparents.
“Because, I know as I got older I thought, ‘Why didn’t I ask my parents these questions? Why don’t I know more?’ There are so many stories that are gone and lost,” she said. “And I thought, I’m kind of the last link between a lot of the history and my grandkids and my kids. So I started writing down stories, just little anecdotes and pieces.”
Those bits and more personal stories were transformed into a memoir of Claremont life in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, complete with much idyll, but also overt racism, cross burnings and all.
The 1970s and the decade’s prevailing corrosive drug culture are made personal by her lived experiences, as are her moments with rock and folk royalty (not all of them flattering), and the rise of the singer/songwriter as an artist, and in Bob Dylan’s case, deity.
One of Always a Song’s recurring themes is the intolerance of injustice. It’s there in the stories of Ms. Harper’s paternal grandmother’s work to establish the first birth control clinic in New Hampshire, being jailed for being a communist, and her three (!) failed bids for governor of the Granite State. It continues through the family’s entanglements with the McCarthy-era blacklist and anti-communist hysteria in the 1950s, down the line to Ms. Harper bristling at the veiled racism directed at her mixed-race sons Ben, Peter and Joel, while they were growing up in Claremont in the 1980s.
“When I talk about the good things that were imparted to me, particularly by my father, it would be that you stand up for under-represented people, you don’t buckle, you don’t give names, you stand up for what you believe in,” she said. “That was a very clear message.”
Ms. Harper’s parents were literally part of the “don’t give names” generation. Always politically active, her father joined the American Communist Party in 1933, when it promised dignity and work in the midst of the Depression.
“Some of it is the kind of optimism of the left,” Ms. Harper said. “The socialist and old communist parties were truly optimists. They truly did believe that people could be their best selves, and of course were bitterly disappointed for the most part. But my father, he always believed in people, that people would come through and would do the right thing.”
Though he had been deemed an “inadequate member” by the American Communist Party in 1946, McCarthyism was in its destructive, paranoid zenith in 1954, and anyone with a history of past affiliation became a target.
The Massachusetts version of McCarthy’s House Committee on Unamerican Activities harassed Mr. Chase. He lost his job, and his young children endured taunts from schoolmates. And it wasn’t just “red baiting.” Ms. Harper’s mother Dorothy was Jewish, and the epithets were anti-Semitic as well as anti-communist.
The family persisted for a time, but in 1957 her father became convinced California offered a fresh start, and they headed west.
The Folk Music Center opened its doors at its first location on Harvard Avenue in August 1958.
From the very beginning the store was a countercultural hub. All manner of folk musicians, many of them now revered as giants of the genre, passed through the doors. They also bunked at the rambling Chase family home on Seventh Street in between performances at the store, and later The Golden Ring coffee house at 111 Harvard Place (home since 1969 to Village Dance Arts), which her parents opened in 1964.
“Music for them, I think why they were so attracted to it, my mother in particular, was because of the folk music movement that it represented,” Ms. Harper said. “It represented integration, financial equity for peoples of the world, fairness and all the things that music brought to the union movement, the civil rights movement and anti-war movement. They were there for all of that. And I think the power they got from music was the community and building social bridges. And I absorbed that and believed in it.”
Always a Song also gets into the slow-motion disintegration of Ms. Harper’s 1969 marriage to the father of her three sons, Leonard Harper. (She and second husband Jan Verdries have been married since 1984).
“I think I realized the information doesn’t have to be just family secrets,” she said. “I think being able to talk about these things is really important, addiction and the outcomes. I don’t know that I’m right. Maybe secrets are better, for all I know. I’m not credentialed to make that decision.”
Leonard Harper died at 55 in 1984 from complications of alcoholism.
“Also, I don’t think these things stop with us,” Ms. Harper said. “I think we hand some of these things down to our kids who then hand them down to our grandkids. To me it seems like if we can show it and we can talk about it and deal with it generationally, it’s not going to be something that just keeps running through families like a leitmotif” [a short, recurring musical phrase] because it seems like some of the anti-communism, and the effects it had on my family at large, were devastating in a lot of ways. And I think that doesn’t go away. You raise your children with the feeling of caution, if you will, of ‘This could always happen again.’
“At least if you talk about it you know it. You know why you have that feeling of fear, instead of letting it run your life. And also I guess family, the kids and the grandkids, they ought to know about it.”
Always a Song is a must-read for Claremonters. It gives valuable context to the 63 years of memories contained inside The Folk, a store that on closer inspection is actually a life-sized diorama that tells the story of one family’s contribution to a community, to music and the world.
“When we used to be able to travel, you might be in Paris and see someone wearing a Folk Music Center T-shirt,” Ms. Harper said. “I’ve had people who have come back, all those hundreds and hundreds of people my mother taught, who went out and taught the same way. I hear from them at the store, and it’s a wonderful feeling that know that her influence, her banjo classes, have had practically a worldwide influence on people who have played and learned from her.”
Extended Now through Memorial Day Weekend
Tuesdays – Sundays | 8 AM – 6 PM
Clay and California go together. Clay has been part of California’s history through every sun-dappled chapter and continues to find beautiful expressions in the hands of contemporary artists who call the Golden State home. The AMOCA Ceramics Studio (American Museum of Ceramic Art) in Pomona enshrines this important legacy and continues the tradition through studio programs that support ceramic artists and their artistic practice.
Clayfornia showcases fourteen AMOCA Ceramics Studio artists and their work at our Garden. We invited these artists to explore and express California’s identity in the quintessential California medium of clay, set amidst the native plants that make our home state superlatively special.
The exhibition has been extended now through Memorial Day Weekend!
FREE with daily admission.
Mary Beierle, Cj Jilek, Beverly Helfer-Grand, David Kiddie, Heidi Kreitchet, Gary Lett, Janell Lewis, Kim Lingo, Brandon Lomax, Mark Muscarello, David
Cal Botanic Garden in Claremont CA
Pacheco, Scott Ross, Maureen Wheeler, and Jonas Wendelin.
Clayfornia: Ceramic Sculpture in the California Sunshine
Clay and California go together. Clay has been part of California’s history through every sun-dappled chapter and continues to find beautiful expressions in the hands of contemporary artists who call the Golden State home. The AMOCA Ceramics Studio (American Museum of Ceramic Art) in Pomona continues
Clayfornia will showcase fourteen AMOCA Ceramics Studio artists and their work at our Garden. We have invited these artists to explore and express California’s identity in the quintessential California medium of clay, set amidst native plants of California.
The exhibit will be open from November 8, 2020 through April 18, 2021.
FREE with daily admission.
Mary Beierle, Cj Jilek, Beverly Helfer-Grand, David Kiddie, Heidi Kreitchet, Gary Lett, Janell Lewis, Kim Lingo, Brandon Lomax, Mark Muscarello, David Pacheco, Scott Ross, Maureen Wheeler, and Jonas Wendelin.