Pomona Envisions the Future


Pomona Envisions the Future

"Pomona Envisions the Future" is a mural created by a community-based project named "Envisioning the Future", which took place in the Pomona Arts Colony from 2002 to 2004 and included over 80 artists. The mural is 140' x 42' acrylic on prepared concrete substrate on the west side of the Union Block building. It consists of four walls at right angles to each other. It was facilitated by artist Judy Chicago, photographer Donald Woodman and Cal Poly Pomona. It was painted by lead artist Kevin Stewart-Magee, and artists Lief Frederick, Sandra Gallegos, Cori Griffin-Ruiz, Rupert Hernandez, Lynne Kumra, Yolanda Londono, Amy Runyen, Chris Toovey, Mary Kay Wilson, Erin Campbell, Athena Hahn, Joy McAllister and Fred Stewart-Magee. Cheryl Bookout was the project coordinator. Artists Magu (Gilbert Luján) and Judy Baca consulted on the project.

It depicts the history of the City of Pomona from its pre-European past, through its agricultural and industrial ages into its bright future which restores the land in balance with humans. The mural was restored and finally finished in 2008 with funds from the City of Pomona Board of Parking Place Commissioners. A bronze plaque from the Downtown Pomona Owners Association was added on October 4, 2008 at the rededication ceremony. The mural is located at the intersection of Thomas and Second Streets in downtown Pomona in the Pomona Arts Colony.

Description

The main wall of the E.T.F. mural is 140 feet wide by 42 feet high. There are four individual contiguous walls. The under painting of this mural coincides with the colors of the stained concrete walkway in the Thomas St. Plaza. It begins by depicting the pre-European landscape with the indigenous Tongva people in the dark sepia color palette. The image of a by-gone natural open landscape rounds the corner (north to south, right to left), and transitions into the historic past of rolling hills and open land erased and replaced by the familiar citrus groves established by the first European settlers. The color palette remains a restrained monochromatic blue-green. This is atypical of the traditional portrait of time as depicted in the multitudes of idyllic brightly colored packing house labels. Instead the muted colors signal the coming Industrial Revolution and environmental dark days to come. As a locomotive approaches the end of the first section of the wall the landscape ends in trees that wrap around the corner of the reveal wall and the narrative picks up with a nod to Mexican muralists shown as a Diego Rivera influenced trompe l'oeil relief of laborers supporting a bowl containing the fruits of labor. The trompe l'oeil figures take on a formalist "x" configuration representing the indomitable strength of labor. The fruit bowl contains varieties of fruit that were traditionally harvested by predominately Latino migrant workers.

At the reveal wall recesses to the main wall the decline of the citrus industry is represented by dead citrus trees that stop abruptly with the landscape at the twenty-four foot figure of the Goddess Pomona, the city's namesake. Pomona, originally the Roman Goddess of orchards, was selected as the contest-winning name for the city in the late 1800s. The Goddess' likeness traditionally has been more western European. The Goddess in the E.T.F. mural has been given a more pan-Latin appearance to coincide with the city's cultural demographics. Specifically, the model for the goddess is Chicano and is an instructor at the local charter high school. The Goddess's arms are outstretched as doves leave her hands in flight towards a hopeful future. The background behind the goddess figure is turbulent, murky and orangey-brown. The landscape turns to a congested urban-suburban sprawl of industrial pollution and over crowded housing tracts. As the narrative moves along to the right, mountains and blue sky emerge from the bleak present and the misty outskirts of a glowing city at the portal of a new age. In the foreground is a school of the future. Students are seated on a luminous ring or "learning circle" which hovers over serene and lush rolling hills in an environment that has been restored to near primordial conditions. In the distance is a vision which is millions of years away from the actual event, the galaxy Andromeda is seen in the morning sky as it approaches our own Milky Way.

Throughout the mural along the bottom is an undulating wave representing subterranean strata. The wave contains artifacts and objects that represent the ages up to a time where the human species has achieved balanced health and harmony, with a vision of the future which encompasses the universe.

References

* Rodriguez, Monica, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, October 4, 2008, "Art now for the future."

* Cal Poly Pomona Library, Special Collection "Envisioning the Future," Collection number UA2004/2/1-9, Bldg 15, room 4434. Historical documentation of project and artists.

* Rivera, October 1, 2008, Indybay Media, "Celebration for 'Pomona Envisions the Future' mural in Pomona, California"

* Rodriguez, Monica, July 25, 2008, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, "Mural gets some care."

* September 15, 2004, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, "Her fate on the LA County seal is sealed, but the Goddess Pomona now looms over the Thomas Street Plaza downtown."

* September 14, 2004, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, "Teacher becomes larger than life as Goddess Pomona."

* Muckenfuss, Mark, September 8, 2004, Press Enterprise, "Mural Celebration."

* Brown, Betty, February 29, 2004, Art Scene California, "Judy Chicago's 'Envisioning the future.'"

* February 1, 2004, Poly Centric, Cal Poly Pomona Campus News, "Envisioning the future challenges local art community."

* November 13, 2003, "Envisioning the Future" Pitzer College to Host Opening of Judy Chicago Project

* February 28, 2003, Absolute Art, "Call for artists, "Envisioning the future."

External links

* [http://www.pomonaenvisionsthefuture.com Official website for mural]
* [http://www.csupomona.edu/~library/specialcollections/envisioningfindingaid.html Documentation of "Envisioning the Future" project at Cal Poly Pomona University Library]
* [http://www.pitzer.edu/news_center/campus_news/03-04-academic_year/2003_11_13-judychicago.asp "Envisioning the Future", Pitzer College to Host Opening of Judy Chicago Project]
* [http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles2004/Articles0204/JChicagoB.html Judy Chicago's "Envisioning the Future."]
* [http://www.throughtheflower.org/store/product.php?productid=46&cat=5&page=1 DVD documentary movie of "Envisioning the Future" project, 2003, 1:51 min.]


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