An Image of the Millard Sheet mural adorning the side of the Hilbert Museum.

Hilbert Museum presents:
Hilbert Museum Lecture Series:

Adam Arenson: Local Landmarks: Millard Sheets

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | 6:00 p.m.

If you are a fan of acclaimed California artist Millard Sheets (1907-1989) and his studio’s spectacular multicolored glass mosaic “Pleasures Along the Beach” (1969-’70), which now adorns the façade of the newly expanded Hilbert Museum, you won’t want to miss this lecture! 

For more than three decades, Millard 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. Combining private investment and public art, and championing historical themes in a period of dramatic cultural and political change, the Home Savings and Loan buildings are signature structures of Mid-Century Modern architecture, and they deserve to be preserved. 

Adam Arenson wrote the award-winning Banking on Beauty: Millard Sheets and Midcentury Modern Design in California (University of Texas Press, 2018), that shines a light on this distinctive style of architecture and art and its locations in California and beyond. Born and raised in San Diego, Adam Arenson holds degrees from Harvard and Yale and is the author of two award-winning books and is co-editor of two others. He has been a professor of history and department chair in Texas and New York. Professor Arenson has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post , and he has presented his research on Home Savings and Millard Sheets throughout California, including at Palm Springs Modernism Week. He has been awarded a Certificate of Merit for his book and its preservation advocacy by Docomomo US, which declared, “Arenson’s research has uncovered an extensive legacy of ‘everyman modernism’ that was largely unknown and under-appreciated, and brings attention to main street architecture with real design value.”


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