The Forest Foundation, which has supported the arts and education in California and Illinois since 1963, is donating several sculptures and more than three dozen pedestals and sculptural stands to the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. Museum officials are working with Brander Vineyard to create a long-term sculpture exhibition at the Santa Ynez winery.
“Navigating COVID-19 is stressful, and the arts are critical now more than ever,” says Shana Squire Majmudar on behalf of the Forest Foundation Board of Directors. “The Forest Foundation, which is ending after more than five decades of supporting the arts and education at the community level, is proud to donate to Westmont and confident the donation will continue that mission.”
The gift includes the Lifshitz sculptural collection, works by Graham Keeble, and a pair of chairs by the late artist Morris B. Squire, a Forest Foundation benefactor.
The exhibition at Brander will include sculptures from other artists, private collectors, dealers and institutions. “Because of the restrictions to visitors at our campus location, the project with Brander will offer new opportunities for exhibiting our collections to new audiences in the Santa Ynez Valley,” says Judy L. Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor in art and Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art director. “Fred Brander is a major collector of Mexican folk art and has a well-honed artistic eye for color and form. The sculptural installation will include several works that are fun and whimsical.”
Larson says she was first introduced to the Keeble’s work through museum friends and donors Fima and Jere Lifshitz. “These assemblage-like works have a whimsy and a joy to them,” she says. “Made from diverse pieces of industrial materials, the sculptures come together to form a figure or an animal. People seem very drawn to this artist’s works.”
Keeble, a metal sculptor from Nevada City, California, began welding in 1994 as an 11- year old, salvaging scrap metal to create his early works. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and casted and finished dozens of bronze monuments as foreman and manager at Sierra Sculpture.