La Verne Magazine
Spring 2003

La Verne's Angel Pride Mixes Old and New Heritage

by Terry Birdsall

Blue skies top the mountains overlooking citrus groves. City landmarks reflect the character of the city of La Verne. The city flower, a red rose, is located front and center to symbolize the "pride of La Verne." A beautiful design of the American flag graces its back, separated down the middle by gold with the La Verne logo in the center, reflecting pride as a community and a nation. The design of the 6-foot, fiberglass angel sculpture mixes the past heritage of the city with the spirit of the young generation today. Art students from the Advanced Draw-ing class at Bonita High School, past and present, were brought together to create the design for the angel sculpture given to the city.

La Verne was one of four cities to receive an angel from the Los Angeles County Fair Association in the spring of 2002, in appreciation for its support throughout the years. The other three angels went to the cities of Claremont, Pomona and San Dimas.

New and professional artists had the opportunity to paint the angels. La Verne chose to involve members of the community in the project so they could share their vision of the city. Team leader Holly Miller, 18, Michael Sullivan, 19, Brad Smith, 19, and Melissa Luton, 19, are the gifted artists who were part of the team. Miller was asked to lead the project based on her organizational skills and her knack for getting people together. According to Miller, students from Bonita's advanced art class submitted ideas and images that would identify the city of La Verne's heritage, tradition and culture.

The week-long project was done with spontaneity. The citrus heritage idea was expanded to include parts of the orange crate labels that once adorned the city's landscape. "What we really looked at was what were the kids inspired by," says Miller. "It was kind of a combination of the old and the new."

Sullivan is a first-year student at the world renowned Art Center School of Design in Pasadena. His accomplishments include first-place awards at the Los Angeles County Fair and the San Dimas Western Art Festival. "I enjoy working with others on projects and watching how they solve problems," Sullivan says. The community's reaction to the finished piece gave him a good feeling.

All four angels were on display at the 2002 Los Angeles County Fair, then returned to the cities for permanent display. The La Verne angel, named the "Pride of La Verne,"now resides in the council chambers at City Hall, 3660 D Street. The public is encouraged to visit, 8-6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.