Millard Sheets Art Center

History of the Millard Sheets Arts Center

Old shot

The Millard Sheets Art Center began as the Fine Arts Program of the Los Angeles County Fair where art exhibitions have been an integral part since its founding in 1922.  Each year, the art exhibitions produced for the Fair have featured artists from not only Los Angeles, but throughout California, the US, and 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 and more than 20,000 sq. ft. in total was built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration. The facility was dedicated as the Millard Sheets Gallery in 1994 to honor the Pomona, California artist and teacher Millard Sheets (1907-1989).

Significant exhibitions produced by Sheets during his tenure include Masters 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.”

Today, the Millard Sheets Art Center produces year round exhibitions showcasing artwork at varied levels of skill and experience in order to create a deeper engagement with art and culture in our surrounding communities. We are working to bring more culturally relevant and significant artists to the Millard Sheets Art Center during the LA County Fair and as a part of our year round exhibitions. For the Pomona Valley and our surrounding communities experiencing artwork of this magnitude is virtually impossible due to the highest concentration of cultural institutions located an hour’s drive away in Los Angeles, but we have an opportunity to fill this void.

Beginning in September 2017, we will be participating in the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA with an exhibition featuring two of LA’s iconic Chicana artists and founding female members of ASCO and Los Four, Judithe Hernandez and Patssi Valdez.

As we look to the future, we hope to continue providing meaningful introductions and experiences for our communities and Southern California to the wonderful world of art and culture.