Proposed Gallery Renovation

September 2011 Report from the Remodeling Task Force

Over a year ago the decision was made to pursue the possibility of remodeling and adding to our present facility. A Remodeling Task Force was formed to work with the architect: John Fisher, Patty Hayden, Evelyn Ifft (chair), Jerry Meeker and Annette Weis. Armantrout Architects were retained for the preliminary and feasibility plans only. The architect’s cost of $3500 was donated by Larry Harvill and Evelyn Ifft.

The task force met many times with Leon Armantrout and his assistant, Avani Pavasia, from Janurary to May 2011. We informed them of our needs, hopes and restrictions as pertained to the project. Avani spent much time researching ideas, materials, furniture, etc. and then planning the space.

Below is her statement of purpose, the new floor plan and the visualized RAA façade. Further information, pictures, and material samples are in the gallery near the library for you to see, scroll down to the bottom of the page for these as well.

Thank you, Evelyn Ifft, chair

Philosophy and Approach to the RAA Design

The inspiration and motivation to update and expand the present gallery space came from the collective enthusiasm of numerous hearts and souls directly and indirectly involved in the project.

The existing RAA State Street Gallery is the result of the history of a place originally built by the Gas Company in the mid-sixties and subsequently purchased in 1973 by Carl Doss for one of the first Century 21 Real Estate offices. Today its’ location at 215 East State Street in Redlands is enhanced by one of the Indian Laurel trees lining the street. These large trees define a beautiful setting in downtown Redlands for an art gallery/association.

There is also the remarkable motivation and inspiration among the members involved in this design project. The goals and visions of these folk are all based on various degrees of involvement. Together, all of us believe in creating a gallery design which can support our environment and health. A well-organized collection of design elements, both interior and exterior, can lead to higher productivity, happiness, and prosperity. The RAA Art Gallery is a perfect example of that happening in Redlands today.

Not so long ago I started working with Armantrout Architects who assigned me the task of creating a new and distinctive place for art education and exhibition purposes. RAA’s goal was to do a major renovation to gain space for their expanding classroom needs and a larger exhibit area. Thanks to Leon Armantrout and the RAA Remodeling Committee, my imagination took flight. Their strict guidelines and requirements became a challenge, but my mission was to translate their necessity into a creative preliminary design…and that is how it all began.

Due to the emerging green movement, artists have begun to incorporate nature into every field of art. My goal was to take advantage of that to create a gallery space that is unique, yet close to the roots of RAA and culture of Redlands. The idea of a floated organic shaped drywall ceiling with a partially exposed roof structure and a skylight will add high volume and light to the space. I have always enjoyed using a combination of different surface materials in interior space. The use of industrial materials, such as glass and bare metal, combined with sustainable materials like bamboo flooring and with natural organic shapes can create a very effective and inviting interior space. A freeform-shaped lacquer finished front desk, abstract metal tree branches for the jewelry display wall and exaggerated stacked metal strips behind the desk balance a perfect tranquility with sophistication. The green movement has already been effectively implemented by the solar panels above the north wall. We will retain and add to them with the new addition. Our goal is to make the building as green as possible in order to earn maximum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification so that Redlands will have another example of a high quality, sustainable building at RAA.

Each project has a story and inspiration. This project’s inspiration came from the Indian Laurel tree that stands just outside of the existing entrance. Time and trends are constantly altering that which shapes our society and living. As I always say, “Design makes a difference”. Materials gathered together harmoniously create a place for meetings and educational purposes, for exhibition of art as well as a contribution to the environment.

The interior design is edgy, yet it has a classic twist. When I envision the art gallery space, I think of simplicity, elegance, art, comfort and belongingness. With high regards for RAA’s specific guidelines and Leon Armantrout’s architectural expertise, this vision came alive. It can be seen when you look at the preliminary plans and sketches which are displayed in the gallery. The RAA art gallery should be a place where people can meet to appreciate, enjoy and create art.

Avani R. Pavasia of Armantrout Architects



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Upcoming Events

Ray Swanson art here in January!


Advance notice for special Ray Swanson Exhibition

This coming January we will be holding a special one-person exhibition in the west gallery for a former RAA member Ray Swanson who was a city engineer from 1964-1974.  Ray became a famous painter of the southwest and especially Native Americans with an emphasis on the children.

His paintings featured the Navajo, Suni, and Hopi.  See example below.  Although passing away in 2004, 27 of his paintings sold at auctions throughout the US in 2012 for nearly $435,000.

There will be a special reception on Sunday, January 4th from 2 to 4:30 and Swanson’s widow, Beverly, will be giving a short talk.  Please mark your calendars, an RSVP will be requested.

Larry Harvill,  Chair, Board of Directors


Cinema: Words & Pictures

Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7pm and Thursday, Nov. 13 at 2:30pm.  $12/person.

The setting is a New England prep school where Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) is a curmudgeonly, middle-aged alcoholic fallen from grace poet who teaches at the school.  Dina Delsanto (Juilette Binoche) joins the faculty as the new art instructor, as she too had to step down from a brilliant painting career because of her rheumatoid arthritis.  They battle each other using words and pictures as their armament.  An added bonus is watching Binoche doing the actual paintings, as she is a very accomplished artist and all the paintings in the film were created by her.  Directed by Fred Schepisi, written by Gerald DiPego in English.  Starring Clive Owen, Juliet Binoche, Amy Brenneman and Bruce Davison.  See film poster on this website, Movies tab.

All proceeds of these films benefit art education programs throughout the City of Redlands... the Margaret Clark Art Education Enrichment Fund has granted monies, over $50,000, to art programs!

Nov. Program is early – Nov. 18

Due to the upcoming holidays, our November Program is early this month, November 18 at 7pm.  "Painting Paradise in Plein Air" is the discussion brought to us by Linda Kay Zoeckler, art historian.

Zoeckler will augment her talk with a Power Point presentation of pictures of the art of the times.  This lecture will explore the unique history of California landscape painting, using numerous images. When possible, artists’ accounts and details of their work will illustrate painting techniques and methods. We will look at the history of development of art communities along the Pacific Coast, including the formation of various societies, clubs, and art schools.

The Program is free to RAA members, $ 3/guest.  Everyone is welcome.  Some of what she'll be covering:

California offered a special and seductive array of subject matter for painters – luring practicing artists from not only the East Coast and other American places, but even from Europe. The work of California painters at first chiefly reflected previous styles from elsewhere. Then, over time, artists developed distinctive local styles and flavors. Painters known for their landscapes also created still lives, portraits, and genre or scene paintings. Artists tended to congregate near the Pacific Ocean communities of San Francisco, the Monterey Peninsula (which included Monterey Carmel, and Pacific Grove), Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and San Diego. Artists formed not only informal friendships among themselves, but formed loose as well as official clubs or groups, all of which stimulated the exchange of opinions and ideas.
The early landscape painter Albert Bierstadt made numerous sketching trips on horseback to the high Sierras, but took those sketches back to his San Francisco area studio to formulate astounding finished paintings. Later artists would do the complete painting on the spot while studying their subject – using a true “plein air” working method. The plein air method still flourishes today in California painting. California landscape painting often draws attention to its light – especially California’s golden sunlight. Landscape subjects often reference California’s Spanish colonial past and occasionally the exoticism of China and Japan.