The Lummis Home

Last Sunday was the Museums of the Arroyo Seco Day, and I went to check out some of the museums I haven't seen before. My favorite, hands down, was the Lummis Home, aka El Aisal. It was built by the first daily editor of the LA Times, Charles Lummis.

Now I think y'all know me well enough to know that I love desert rats, and that was Charles Lummis. He was a hard drinkin,' womanizing, smoking son-of-a-gun and he did more to save southwestern art than just about anyone in Southern California. And I don't just mean pots and baskets – he was in to the cultural aspects like dance and storytelling, architecture and history and was also instrumental in saving the

missions. His collection started the Southwest Museum and their seminal journal, the Masterkey.

We got a tour from Ariel Van Zandweghe, the curator, who was nice enough to let me play his guitar in the administrative offices. And while we were in the office, Jane spotted a painting that she's sure is an Orpha Mae Klinker. Orpha painted a number of buildings from the Spanish colonial days including the Michael White Adobe. Her work was kind of wacky and colorful – like stone buildings were often represented with purple paint. We also ran into Roberta and John from Latino Heritage, which was a pleasant surprise.

The Historical Society of Southern California is trying to raise money to restore the front doors, so if you've got money or skills to donate, please get in touch with them. Lummis ended up getting cremated and is now interred in the wall along with his son's ashes, which seems pretty fitting – he never left the house where he invested so much of his time, creativity and energy.

 

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~ by ravenjake on May 20, 2010.

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