Celebrating Art and Community

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art will host the 19th Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta on Sunday, November 5 with an outdoor art show, craft demonstrations, art activities for kids, book sale, film, music, and festive foods. This year will feature more artists showing their unique original artwork under the shady olive trees of the Padua Hills Theatre. Visitors can sip and savor fine wines and craft beers on the historic balcony overlooking the foothills.

Sunday, November 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Padua Hills Theatre, 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont. Admission is $5 for adults. CLMA members, students, and children under 18 are free. A free shuttle is available from Padua Park.

  • Thirty-five area artists will have original artwork for sale including ceramics, glass, jewelry, paintings, prints, weaving, and woodwork.
  • Local art organizations will provide art and craft demonstrations and art books will be for sale.
  • A film will be presented by Claremont Heritage.  
  • Join in Art Activities for kids and families. A Music Stage will feature local performers. Tacos and other festive foods will be served with traditional Jamaica punch.
  •  Fine wines and craft beers will be served on the historic balcony overlooking the foothills.

The Padua Hills Art Fiesta originated in 1953 for local artists to bring art into the community. The studio art movement that flourished here in the 1950s centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities. Visitors came from miles around to meet the artists and watch “art in action” at the popular festival. In 2011, the Claremont Lewis Museum of Art revived this tradition with a new generation of artists sharing their talents. Last year, the popular event welcomed over 1,000 visitors.


As Claremont’s art community grew and many artists either worked at the Padua Hills Theater or resided in the Padua Hills artist colony just south of the theater on Via Padova, the theatre became the obvious location to host an annual Art Fiesta.

The First Annual Padua Hills Art Fiesta took place from July 25 to August 2, 1953 and as Padua Hills Theatre founder, Herman Garner proclaimed, “is destined to become one of the outstanding annual events of the art world.” The stature of artists taking part in this initial event immediately propelled the fiesta to a high standard, with participating artists reading like a who’s who of the Claremont art community in the 1950s.

The theater’s arcaded walkways and shady olive groves provided a natural and beautiful backdrop for the art event and was a great success. The art fiestas showcased a variety of artwork including painting, sculpture, prints, pottery, enamels, jewelry, glass, weaving, ironwork, and furniture. Not only were these pieces for sale, but demonstrations were also carried out allowing for an interactive experience for the public and a look into the artist’s creative process. While these artists all worked in different mediums, the goal of the Padua Hills Art Fiesta was to bring art into the community and showcase art that centered on the use of natural materials and traditional sensibilities.

“Art in Action” was the motto of the first Padua Hills Art Fiesta and the event was a groundbreaking gathering that sought to showcase Claremont’s talented artists and their methods and crafts. The Art Fiesta broke down barriers between the Claremont artists and the public, allowing for interaction, education, and championing of Claremont’s burgeoning art community. 65 years later, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta continues to live up to its original theme, allowing local artists to showcase their craft and share their creations with the Claremont community.

While the original Padua Hills Art Fiesta only lasted 7 years, from 1953 to 1959, the current incarnation of the Fiesta seeks to replicate the educational and entertaining feel of the original events, all the while continuing to practice and showcase the “Art in Action” theme of the original fiestas. The arts movement in Claremont continues to flourish in and the Padua Hills Art Fiesta seeks to showcase a new generation of Claremont artists. By following the principles of the original fiestas, the Padua Hills Art Fiesta will continue to advocate its local artists and keep Claremont truly an art mecca.