Hall of Gratitude
Submitted by Beth Ann Gerstein
David showed me the power of ceramics
AMOCA’s Founder, David Armstrong, is a Pomona entrepreneur. He fell in love with ceramics in the 1960s while he was a student at Pomona College and studied with the legendary Scripps College ceramics professor Paul Soldner. This experience inspired Armstrong to collect the work of other ceramic artists. Armstrong thought the country would benefit from a museum focused exclusively on clay and that it should be located in Southern California which has a rich ceramic and arts tradition. A core group of community members agreed, and they joined with Armstrong in 2003 to incorporate the American Museum of Ceramic Art as a California nonprofit organization.
For its first nine years, AMOCA was located in a 3,000 square foot storefront in downtown Pomona, an economically struggling district where art is an important element of the continuing community revitalization program. Despite the extremely small space, AMOCA’s talented and dedicated staff organized dozens of thought-provoking exhibitions that drew a local and regional audience.
Space constraints and the need to store AMOCA’s growing ceramics collection led the museum to purchase a former bank building in 2011. The 51,000 square foot building includes ample space for exhibition galleries, collection storage, a library, staff offices, meeting spaces, museum store, parking, and a fully equipped 12,000 square foot ceramics studio. None of this would have been possible without David Armstrong and his vision.