The Envisioning the Future project was lead by artist Judy Chicago, photographer Donald Woodman and Cal Poly Pomona. The mural was painted by lead artist and mural project facilitator Kevin Stewart-Magee, and Envisioning the Future artists/participants Lief Frederick, Sandra Gallegos, Cori Griffin-Ruiz, Rupert Hernandez, Lynne Kumra, Yolanda Londono, Amy Runyen, Chris Toovey, Mary Kay Wilson, Erin Campbell, Athena Hahn, Joy McAllister and Fred Stewart-Magee. Artists Magu (Gilbert Luján) and Judy Baca consulted on the project. Cheryl Bookout was the Envisioning the Future project coordinator.
It depicts the history of the City of Pomona from its pre-European past, through its agricultural and industrial ages into its bright future which restores the land in balance with humans. The mural was restored and finally finished in 2008 with funds from the City of Pomona Board of Parking Place Commissioners. A bronze plaque from the Downtown Pomona Owners Association was added on October 4, 2008 at the re-dedication ceremony. The mural is located at the intersection of Thomas and Second Streets in downtown Pomona, California in the Pomona Arts Colony.
It begins by depicting the pre-European landscape with the indigenous Tongva people in the dark sepia color palette. The image of a by-gone natural open landscape rounds the corner and transitions into the historic past of rolling hills and open land erased and replaced by the familiar citrus groves established by the first European settlers.
The color palette remains a restrained monochromatic blue-green. This is atypical of the traditional portrait of time as depicted in the multitudes of idyllic brightly colored packing house labels. Instead the muted colors signal the coming Industrial Revolution and environmental dark days to come. At the reveal wall recesses to the main wall the decline of the citrus industry is represented by dead citrus trees that stop abruptly with the landscape at the twenty-four foot figure of the Goddess Pomona. Pomona, originally the Roman Goddess of orchards, was selected as the name for the city in the late 1800s.
The Goddess's arms are outstretched as doves leave her hands in flight towards a hopeful future. The background behind the goddess figure is turbulent, murky and orangey-brown. The landscape turns to a congested urban-suburban sprawl of industrial pollution and over crowded housing tracts. As the narrative moves along to the right, mountains and blue sky emerge from the bleak present and the misty outskirts of a glowing city at the portal of a new age. In the foreground is a school of the future.
Students are seated on a luminous ring or "learning circle" which hovers over serene and lush rolling hills in an environment that has been restored to near primordial conditions. In the distance is a vision which is millions of years away from the actual event, the galaxy Andromeda is seen in the morning sky as it approaches our own Milky Way.
Throughout the mural along the bottom is an undulating wave representing subterranean strata. The wave contains artifacts and objects that represent the ages up to a time where the human species has achieved balanced health and harmony, with a vision of the future which encompasses the universe.
Last, let me share another one of the gifts of the Goddess........the astounding Jacaranda tree, which blooms wholly purple in May, dropping it's lavender snow everywhere among the unheeding smog and traffic............ever generous. Pomona, casting her purple blessings.