Author Adam Arenson will discuss Millard Sheets and Home Savings at the Orange County Historical Society’s October 8, 2020 meeting at 7:30 p.m. online via Zoom.
Register here to RSVP for this online presentation: https://tinyurl.com/OCHSsheets
For more than three decades, Millard Sheets (1907-1989) 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. The collaboration between the Millard Sheets Studio and Howard Ahmanson (1906-1968), Home Savings’ executive, resulted in more than 40 branches designed and built between the completion of the first collaboration in 1955 and Ahmanson’s death. It set the course for more than 100 additional branches that bore the Home Savings name until the institution was sold to Washington Mutual in 1998.
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 their story deserves to be known before it is too late to save these remarkable works.
Adam Arenson has created a richly illustrated book, 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 that graced sixty communities throughout Southern California. (To purchase the book at a 30% discount at www.utexaspress.com, OCHS members may use discount code BANK30.)
Arenson is a professor of history and the director of the urban studies program at Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY. Born and raised in San Diego, he holds degrees from Harvard and Yale and is the author of two award-winning books and is co-editor of two others. 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 ‘every man modernism’ that was largely unknown and under-appreciated, and brings attention to main street architecture with real design value.”