Recent Opportunities


Authors on Architecture: Arenson on Sheets

Join SAH/SCC for a look at the work of artist and designer Millard Sheets (1907-1989). Adam Arenson, Huntington Library 2014-2015 scholar-in-residence, will preview his forthcoming book, Privately Sponsored Public Art: The Millard Sheets Studio, Home Savings and Loan, and the Corporate Creation of a New American Urban History (projected title).

For more than three decades, Sheets and his studio of artists designed Home Savings and Loan branches throughout California, studding their iconic projects with mosaics, murals, stained glass, and sculptures that celebrated both family life and the history of the Golden State. The collaboration between the Millard Sheets Studio and Howard Ahmanson, Home Savings’ executive, resulted in more than 40 branches designed and built between the completion of the first collaboration in 1955 and Ahmanson’s death in 1968. It set the course for more than 100 additional branches that bore the Home Savings name until the institution was sold to Washington Mutual in 1998.

This first book-length study of these Home Savings buildings recovers Sheets’ and Ahmanson’s visions for these institutions as they shaped the corporate and cultural landscape of Southern California. It explores the mystery of why Home Savings and Loan—a financial institution that rose to lead the nation in deposits—commissioned hundreds of murals and paintings. It advances contemporary urban history by connecting this corporate investment in public memory with the long history of commercial patronage dating to the Renaissance, as well as to the recent history of percent-for-art regulations

Arenson, an associate professor of history and the director of Urban Studies at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY, has created a richly illustrated book that is the first published monograph on Sheets.

Combining private investment and public art, championing historical themes in a period of dramatic cultural and political change, the Home Savings and Loan buildings are signature structures of Midcentury Modern architecture, and their story deserves to be known before it is too late to save these remarkable works.

Authors on Architecture: Arenson—Sunday, June 14, 2015; 2-4PM; Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium at the Santa Monica Central Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; free; seating is available on a first-come, first served basis; 310.458.8600.

SAH 2018 St Paul Conference

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
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