Through our year-round exhibitions, educational programs, events, and workshops, the Millard Sheets Art Center provides the community with meaningful and fun experiences within the world of visual arts.
As part of The Learning Centers at Fairplex, we engage the community at multiple levels of education. Our programs build on The Learning Centers’ (TLC) dedication to create innovative experiences.
It is our goal to create a vareity of programs centered on tradional visual arts education that provide anyone with an interest in the arts an opportunity to explore and develop a love and passion for being creative.
For more than 90 years, the Los Angeles County Fair Association has demonstrated its commitment to the community. Beginning with the first fair in 1922, the Association has a historic reputation of building stronger communities throughout Southern California using fun, educational, and collaborative efforts.
By serving unmet educational needs, The Learning Centers at Fairplex (TLC) is the Association’s most meaningful example of its impact on the community today.
The Millard Sheets Center for the Arts began as the Fine Arts Program of the Los Angeles County Fair – art exhibitions have been an integral part of the Fair since its founding in 1922. Each year, the art exhibitions produced for the Fair have featured artists from not only Los Angeles, but also California, the nation, and throughout the world and have presented contemporary as well as historical art in a variety of styles and media including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, video, ceramics, drawing, architecture, and design. The Fine Arts building, a 12,000 square foot gallery built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration to house the program, was dedicated the Millard Sheets Gallery in 1994 to honor Pomona, California artist and teacher Millard Sheets (1907-1989), the Program’s director from 1930 to 1956.
Significant exhibitions produced by Sheets during his tenure includeMasters of Art, 1790-1950, a survey of European and American paintings and sculptures which presented works by many of the most important artists from that period, among them Delacroix, Millet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Eakins, Marin, Rodin, Moore, and Brancusi, to name just a few. Arthur Millier, art critic for the Los Angeles Times, wrote in his review, “The country’s greatest museums could be proud of this show.”
Millard Sheets, born in Pomona, was encouraged early to develop his talent. At age seven he began taking lessons from a neighbor, and at age 12 he won his first competition at the Los Angeles County Fair. Theodore Modra, the Director of Fine Arts at that time, became Sheets mentor. When Modra died in 1930, Sheets took over the directorship.
After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, in 1929, Sheets entered and won a competition in San Antonio, Texas. The prize money enabled him to travel to South America, New York and Europe, giving him his first taste of world cultures that later became the passion of his art and life. After his return, Sheets married and settled in Claremont where he taught art at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School from 1931 to 1954. He was also instrumental in developing Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, as well as California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. During World War II, Sheets served as an artist-correspondent for LIFE Magazine.
Millard Sheets is credited with over 200 architectural designs and murals that span the United States. His artworks hangs in 46 museums in 15 states, including the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Chicago Art Institute and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Locally his presence is evidenced in many building designs, mosaics, and wall paintings.
During Sheets’ 25-year tenure as Director of Fine Arts at the Los Angeles County Fair, he organized some of the most impressive exhibitions ever to be brought to Los Angeles. In 1937, he oversaw the WPA construction of a 12,000 sq. ft. building, the first major gallery dedicated solely to art in Los Angeles County. Most memorable are his post WWII exhibition, One World of Art; 6000 Years of Clay; and The Arts of Daily Living, extensively documented in House Beautiful Magazine. Over the years, he brought artwork from the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum and numerous National museums.
The gallery was dedicated to Millard Sheets in 1994. Speaking as the family spokesman, David Stary-Sheets prescribed, "The art exhibits of the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts shall strive to educate, aim to develop taste, and serve to stimulate thought. Works shown shall be of the highest quality, those that can stand the ‘test of time,’ those that have an important message to convey, and those that exhibit excellent fundamental skills. With an eye on the future, the gallery shall seek to interpret the continually evolving world of art as new interests, new materials and new messages arise."
Art Center Manager
Outreach and Community Liaison
Drawing and Painting
Our Art Committee is an advisory committee comprised of volunteers throughout the community who work together to develop the art center in to a regional center for the visual arts.
Led by our Chair Laura Bollinger, the committee seeks resources, strategies, and cooperation during quarterly meetings and advocate on behalf of our mission in between at events here at the art center as well as throughout the community.
We are always grateful for their participation and dedication to the arts and the Millard Sheets Art Center.
Currently, there are no employment opportunities available.
Internships at the art center offer a unique opportunity for students in high school and college to gain valuable experience in art education, curating, and arts administration.
Our 2016 internships have not yet been posted, but please check back soon.
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