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News: Pasadena City College's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium Is New Home for Millard Sheets Mural

Pasadena, Calif., - Pasadena City College’s Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium’s East Entrance is the new home for the much-beloved 1963 Millard Sheets mural, Tournament of Roses, 1890.  The recently installed piece was dedicated today by Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard who thanked PCC for housing the 75 ft. mural.

In 2012, the mural was removed from display inside a local bank building on Colorado Boulevard and conserved by the artist’s son, Tony Sheets, who was integrally involved in finding its new location.  About the artwork’s new home, Mr. Sheets said “It looks wonderful.  It was hard to find a space long enough to hold a piece of this size.  The City and PCC chose the space together.” 

Sheets, who has essentially become the gatekeeper of his father’s art, worked with artist, Nick Brown, to restore the mural.  Sheets said, “It is a real thrill.  We brought the richness back that had faded a great deal. I remember when my father painted this piece in his studio in Claremont with (the late) Susan Hertel, the co-artist who was one of his former students, and a graduate of the art department of Scripps College.  I saw the piece when it was originally installed. Dad would be very pleased that there is so much respect for his work and that it is being reinstalled where people can see it.”

Joe Futtner, Associate Dean, PCC School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts, says “On behalf of the visual arts programs at PCC, I am very pleased that we are able to dedicate this piece immediately adjacent to our new Center for the Arts.”

Rochelle Branch, Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Pasadena describes the process of relocating the art.  “Serendipitously, two city staff persons had accounts at the bank where the piece was only partially visible to the public and interacted with bank staff about the mural when they learned the bank was removing the art. The Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Pasadena was able to identify an interest in retaining the mural in Pasadena and, through the bank, subsequently contacted Tony Sheets, to begin the successful negotiations for a donation.  We were very interested in keeping this piece in Pasadena.”

History of Tournament of Roses, 1890

In 1952, Howard F. Ahmanson Sr. and California artist Millard Sheets formed a partnership.  Ahmanson, owner of several savings and loans, approached Sheets, a nationally recognized artist, and asked him to design buildings and artwork for the banks.  Over 33 years, Sheets designed more than 40 buildings for Ahmanson’s companies, most notably Home Savings and Loan. To adorn the interior and exterior walls, Sheets also created murals, mosaics, and stained-glass windows, always with a local theme.

For Pasadena, Sheets painted a mural of the first Tournament of Roses Parade for the former branch on Colorado Boulevard.  After years of display inside the bank building, the mural was conserved in 2012 for future generations through a partnership with Pasadena City College.  On January 23, 2014, Tournament of Roses, 1890 was installed in honor of the Mayor’s 2014 State of the City Address and the Grand Opening for PCC’s new Center for the Arts.

The impressive mural, which dates from 1963, consists of 20 oil painted panels on walnut veneer that reveal an historical narrative of the first Tournament of Rose Parade in Pasadena.  Containing unique, Pasadena-specific content, the artwork also showcases the style and technique of its artist, Millard Sheets.  The installation depicts the earliest days of the Parade in Pasadena and features images of participants in late 19th century attire in horse-drawn carriages and on horseback as they proceed along a backdrop of iconic Pasadena landmarks including City Hall, parade floats, and marching bands.  

Release Date: 05/22/2014
Contact: Gilbert Rivera , Publications Supervisor
Phone: (626) 585-7250
Email: gmrivera@pasadena.edu