Monday, April 22, 2013

USC Tile Mural / Mosaic

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was last weekend! And a fat lot of good that announcement does if you missed it. But it explains, at least, why I was at USC on Sunday, where I was able to take this picture.

I'd heard there was a mosaic by Jean Goodwin Ames titled "Youth and Science" in Zumberge Hall, right on Trousdale. And so there is, though I think I'm stretching the definition a bit to call it a mosaic.

But what the heck. It is tile, and it is signed "Jean Goodwin 1937" at the bottom.

If you'd like to know more about Jean Goodwin Ames and her husband, Arthur Ames, who worked on commissions for New Deal agencies during the Depression, and later with Millard Sheets, and who left lots of public art both in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and other areas, the Smithsonian interviewed them for their Archives of American Art. The transcription is here.

Jean Goodwin Ames was born in Santa Ana, went to UCLA and USC, and taught at Claremont Graduate School and Scripps College from the 1940s. Total California girl! This tile mosaic at Zumberge Hall was her master's thesis.

In the Smithsonian interview, she says that the couple's first mosaic project--two mosaics--was in Santa Ana at Newport Harbor Union High School, before 1936. The school was just six years old then; here's a history.

The two mosaics--one for girls, by Jean, and one for boys, by Arthur--were installed around the Inner Quad. They were removed and reinstalled in a new building a few years ago.

I just went looking for pictures of the high school mosaics and found them at Adam Arenson's site--a familiar name if you follow this blog, or mosaics in Los Angeles. I'm posting only one small picture--the one done by Jean. To see the larger version or the second mosaic, titled "Three Fishermen," visit Adam Arenson's page.

His post about the Ames is very interesting. A particular picture of an outdoor church mosaic was so familiar--and I realized I used to walk by it almost every day when I lived in Claremont.


Adam Arenson said...

Thanks Vickey! Great photos -- I will have to seek it out when I am next at USC. (Do note my name spelling, FYI.)

Vickey Kall said...

Argh! I am so sorry, Adam!
My book designer's name is Stacey Aaronson, and I write her frequently (I'm working on a baby boomer book). That's why I automatically spelled your name wrong, even while looking at your website. But I've corrected it now--