City of Monrovia
About Monrovia Treasures
The Neighborhood Treasures Program celebrates Monrovia heroes for their contributions to the community through public art. The art pieces are unique to the specific person being honored. The art will enrich the lives of those who view it and improve neighborhoods just by its presence. The art piece will be attached to a Neighborhood Treasure post with plaque (provided by the City) that provides data on the recipient. The post provides a consistent identifying marker for the program.
Artists are asked to submit a detailed design for the art piece. The design needs to provide a good understanding of how the artwork will look attached to the post. Installations will primarily take place in public parkways generally ten feet wide. City Staff asks that the artist work with the post fabricator to ensure the proper placement of the art. A stipend of $12,000 will be awarded to the artist who designs and creates the chosen art. Please note: of the money awarded, the artist will need to pay the post fabricator to attach the art to the pole.
The Neighborhood Treasures public art could be realized through various media such as paintings, statues, mosaics, etc. Other requirements include:
- Able to withstand diverse weather conditions
- Be able to be attached to the post
- Made of durable material
- A maximum of 30 inches tall and wide
- Not present any safety concerns for pedestrians
- Unique to the honoree and compatible with the neighborhood
- Include the words NEIGHBORHOOD TREASURE on the art
Designs will be reviewed by City staff and the Art in Public Places (AIPP) Committee with final decisions by Monrovia City Council.
- Letter of Interest
- Design on a 8 ½ X 11” paper
- Exact dimensions
- Proposed materials
Mail to Kerri Zessau
Community Development Department
Monrovia City Hall, 415 S. Ivy Avenue
Monrovia CA 91016
Please contact Kerri Zessau with questions:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 626.932.5564
First Recipients – Japanese Americans
Asian American pioneers to California often get overlooked. The early 49ers, the railroad workers, the farmworkers, and even the laundry workers built much of the state, but the discrimination of the 19th century followed them to the 20th century. By 1900, Japanese Americans like the Uyedas, Tsuneishis, Asanos, Kuromiyas, and others came to Monrovia to build the strawberry farms, the grocery stores, and the fruit stands. Life in Monrovia was hard for the Japanese Americans who worked endless hours to provide for their families and help make Monrovia a growing community; but these same individuals were not allowed to move north of Walnut Avenue. Many of the businesses and family homes were located on or in close proximity to Huntington Drive.
After Pearl Harbor, many Japanese American Monrovians were picked up by the Monrovia Police, at the behest of the FBI, and sent to Internment Camps. It is said that the Monrovia Police Officers were embarrassed to pick-up the Japanese family members because they not only knew them, but appreciated what they did for the community. After their release from the camps, some of these families came home to Monrovia, graduated their children from Monrovia schools, and are buried at Live Oak Cemetery. Their stories are a part of Monrovia's identity and legacy!
- Artwork Submittal – February 25, 2019
- AIPP approval – March 13, 2019
- Council approval – April 2, 2019
- Artist Notifications – April 3, 2019
- Project Completion – May 12, 2019
- Art Installation – May 13-17, 2019
- Treasure Celebration – June 8, 2019
Second Recipients – Francisco and Felix J. Gutierrez
The Gutierrez Family had deep roots in Monrovia that go back to the turn of the 1900s. Initially, Francisco was born in 1871 in La Mision Vieja, California. His parents had come to California during the Gold Rush, and he worked as a foreman in orange packing houses, while also serving as a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff stationed in Arcadia. In 1905, Francisco came to Monrovia, and after working for another concrete contractor, in 1925, Francisco opened his own cement business and did a considerable amount of work in Monrovia…including the installation of the sidewalks around the former Monrovia Plunge swimming pool (current Monrovia Historical Museum), Immaculate Conception Church, the tennis courts at Recreation Park, as well as at a number of private homes in town. Common to that era, the company that poured concrete would imprint the business name into the sidewalk, and there are still sidewalks in Monrovia today with the Gutierrez imprint.
Francisco’s son Felix was born in 1918, when segregation was common in California life. The impact of those policies in Monrovia meant that Felix and his friends were only allowed to swim one day a week at the Monrovia Plunge pool, where his father had helped to build the sidewalks. Ultimately, Felix not only had a chance to swim in the Monrovia Plunge pool, but he also attended Monrovia Arcadia Duarte (MAD) High School, where he was one of only two Mexicans to graduate in 1937. During his time at the school, Felix lettered in track and was staff artist for the school’s Wildcat newspaper. After transferring to Pasadena Junior College to study art, eventually, Felix started a newspaper called Mexican Voice. Launched from his home, Felix was a writer, artist, editor, and spoke for the Mexican American movement throughout the Southwest. Through his Mexican Voice publication, Felix questioned the segregated policies of both public and private entities. His efforts through Mexican Voice certainly helped lead to the development of a more fundamentally fair society, both in Monrovia and beyond.
2019 Program Deadlines
- Artwork Submittal – May 20, 2019
- AIPP approval – June 26, 2019
- Council approval – July 16, 2019
- Artist Notifications – July 17, 2019
- Project Completion – September 8, 2019
- Art Installation – September 9-13, 2019
- Treasure Celebration – September 14, 2019