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A Brief History of the Pomona Arts Colony

The arts have deep roots in downtown Pomona. In 1962, celebrated muralist Millard Sheets redesigned ten downtown blocks to become a showcase for sculptures, mosaics and Modernist architecture. Unfortunately, this initial effort could not halt the economic decline of downtown in the late 1960's and early 1970's.


Then, in 1977, a group of artists launched a downtown mural project and set down deep roots. They founded what eventually became the dA Center of the Arts, an artist collective and community center that activated the downtown with exhibitions, instruction and performances. The dA helped define the downtown as a place where emerging artists are nurtured and established artists give back.


In 1992 local developer Arteco Partners (a Tessier family business) launched the redevelopment of a dozen downtown landmarks, turning historic buildings into loft complexes, galleries and music venues. In 1997, local promoters Paul and Perry Tollett opened the Glass House, a concert venue that put Pomona on the national map as a center for emerging music.


The city of Pomona officially recognized all these efforts in 1994, declaring that more than a dozen downtown blocks were set aside to become the Pomona Arts Colony. 


In the years since, the creative arts community has turned downtown Pomona into a regional hub for artistic expression. It's an entrepreneurial neighborhood with hundreds of work live artist lofts and studios. It's a gallery and museum cluster where thousands of artists have exhibited. It's a music trendsetter, showcasing everything from garage bands to national tours. It’s also center of artistic learning where hundreds of emerging artists study at the School of Arts and Enterprise, and people of all ages find workshops and mentors.

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