Arts | Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts
By: Jamie Durante
Timeless handcrafted masterpieces created by master craftsman Sam Maloof are just the tip of the artistic iceberg when it comes to the selection of artwork living at the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts. Serving as a tribute to the life and mission of Sam and Alfreda Maloof, this organization is dedicated to inspiring and supporting the local community of craftspeople and artists.
A well-rounded location serves various purposes in supporting and encouraging local artists and craftspeople, the Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts is tucked away at the very top of Carnelian Street in Alta Loma. While the shady property contains the Historic Maloof Residence, every aspect of this charming foundation is a work of art in itself.
Although tours are available by making a reservation, for our first visit we casually dropped in to enjoy the garden and gallery, both of which are free of charge during the foundation’s operating hours—Thursdays and Saturdays from 12p.m. to 4p.m.
Walking onto the property, we noticed the foundation is an Certified Wildlife Habitat. This learning was very exciting, as we recently had a lot of fun visiting other outdoor animal sanctuaries like the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and the Chino Basin Water Conservation District. We followed the signs that pointed toward the tours and found ourselves walking down a path lined with various foliage and outdoor sculptures.
We made our way down into the main courtyard of the foundation, and the Visitor’s Center seemed to be an appropriate first stop. The large pots of succulents and the wilderness backdrop were quite welcoming, while the two women working in the center were extremely friendly. Matter of fact, everyone working at the foundation was beyond friendly, with each person who crossed our path taking the time to stop and inquire about our experience so far.
Beyond a kind staff, the Visitor's Center was filled with souvenirs, information about the foundation and tours, art and historic artifacts. Noticing our interest in the various works inside the center, the woman behind the counter invited us to check out the “California Handmade: State of the Arts” exhibition happening at the Jacobs Education Center Gallery, located right across the way from the Visitor’s Center. Quick to start heading in that direction, we had no idea how impressive and diverse the artwork from over 80 Californian artists was that awaited us.
“California Handmade” is truly a breath of fresh air in the Inland Empire art scene. The diverse works of art range from expertly crafted furniture, hand painted, intricate jewelry, various textiles and more. Photography was not allowed in the exhibit, and we were only permitted to take two specific photos. The first was of the walnut and ebony chair, Scott Chair by Mike Johnson. As the master craftsman at Maloof Woodworkers, this elegant piece of art demonstrates the skill in execution that Sam Maloof valued.
Although we are unable to share the vast collection of breathtaking works within this exhibit, let that be even more reason to go and visit this fantastic gallery. Photographs wouldn’t even do justice to the immense selection that was expertly co-curated by Emily Zaiden, Director of Craft in America, and John Scott of The Maloof.
After slowly making our rounds to take in the many details and perspectives, we made our way out to enjoy some scenic art of and within the Maloof Discovery Garden. Outside the gallery, we enjoyed a piece entitled Lady of the Found Objects by Christine Wiseman. This constructed woman of metal items that were once regarded as trash was now a commanding piece of art, which gave some insight into the types of artistic installments that are around the garden.
Stretched over almost six acres on the foothills of Alta Loma, The Maloof Discovery Garden is home to more than 354 types of plants. Many of the plants in this water-wise garden attract insects, birds and wildlife. On our visit, we saw at least 20 lizards alone, while we heard even more scurrying around in the plants lining the walkways. We found the many sculptures around to be a great distraction from the living garden, and soon we found ourselves back where we started at the Visitor’s Center.
The Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts is a great place to drop in for a relaxing afternoon in the gallery and garden. If you’re looking to learn even more about Sam and Alfreda Maloof and to get a tour of their home, be sure to book a tour! You’ll be impressed by the craftsmanship that has elevated the Maloof name in the Inland Empire and beyond for decades.
The Sam and Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts is located at 5131 Carnelian Street in Alta Loma (Rancho Cucamonga for GPS). Please visit their website or call (909) 980-0412 for more information.