“Creative Collaboration” Honoring Millard Sheets

Photo by Tony Sheets

A daylong symposium held in San Francisco on January 14th 2016 was a great success! “Creative Collaboration, Honoring Millard Sheets: Master of Art & Design” preceded the first day of the Stone Foundation’s XIV Symposium, this year in San Francisco and Gualala, California.

Joe Taylor, president of the Tile Heritage Foundation, welcomed the 100+ attendees with a quote from Millard Sheets at the annual seminar of the Ceramic Tile Institute at The Biltmore in Los Angeles, Spring 1965.

“ It is imperative that design is kept on the same level and pace with research and production. Sales, as well as merchandising and applications, must be part of one strong chain of information and skill. A balance created among researchers, producers, designers, merchandisers and applicators is the key to the creation of great ceramic expression. The industry must break from its material desires into a spirit of collaboration.”

The Tile Heritage Foundation, Gualala Arts Center, Stone Foundation, the Scottish Rite Masonic Center and many other Sheets enthusiasts supported the program. Peter Mullins, a Tile Heritage and Stone Foundation member, sponsored the day’s events; and everyone participated in “Creative Collaboration” with one another.

Joe Taylor & Sheila Menzies of the Tile Heritage Foundation acted as organizers and stage managers for the event.

Some program details:

MILLARD SHEETS, painter, educator, muralist and architectural designer, was an all-inclusive artist who collaborated freely with his fellow artists. This resulted in the construction of buildings and the creation of tile and mosaic murals, artistic masterpieces across the United States, with artwork, inside and out, as an integral part of the design. The work was created by many artists, masters of all mediums, working together.

On Thursday, January 14, 2016, art enthusiasts gathered at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in San Francisco—a building designed by Millard Sheets.

The Tile Heritage Foundation, Gualala Arts Center, Stone Foundation, The Scottish Rite Masonic Center and many other Sheets enthusiasts supported this day of events.

Peter Mullins, Tile Heritage and Stone Foundation member as well as the sponsor of the day’s events, believes “Millard Sheets is the single most influential individual in art in California in the 20th century.” The presentations throughout the day embraced and validated this perspective.

The program welcomed two of Millard’s children, Carolyn Sheets Owen- Towle and artist Tony Sheets, who was accompanied by colleague Jim Cogan – all three shared their personal stories. Other speakers included Adam Arenson, Associate Professor of History at Manhattan College, chronicling Sheets’ accomplishments; Lillian Sizemore, accomplished mosaicist, scholar, and author of “A Guide to Mosaic Sites: San Francisco”; and David “Sus” Susalla, Executive Director at the Gualala Arts Center.

Photo by Lillian Sizemore

The presenters’ mission was to share their stories in a collective atmosphere in which Millard would have eagerly been a participant. These historians and artists impressed all participants with their presentations and images during this day of discovery.

After a sit-down luncheon and before the afternoon lectures, tours to the magnificent stone walls at the nearby Stern Grove Amphitheater, to the West Portal mosaic mural by Sheets, and around the monumental Masonic Center itself were offered to the enthusiastic attendees. The afternoon drew to a close with a speakers/audience forum followed by a reception with wine, beer, delicious hors d’oeuvres and continued conversation.

This “Creative Collaboration” is sure to be remembered.