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Community Art Activity:

The official seal of the California State University, Fresno was designed by artist and Professor Emeritus Darwin Musselman, who also created the seal used by the California State University system. The Fresno State seal includes the "lamp of learning" and the "book of knowledge." The Latin inscription "Lvcem accipe vt reddas" translates "Receive the light that you may give it forth." The date 1911 refers to the founding year of the school.

Growing Things

Following the razing of the old Fresno County Courthouse, which figured prominently in the old Fresno County Seal, Darwin Musselman was asked by the County Board of Supervisors to design a new seal, reflecting the rich agricultural heritage of the region. According to an article published in the Fresno Bee, Musselman "had offered his services free as a consultant after the board could not agree on any of the more than 60 entries submitted in a public contest." "The supervisors... viewed a number of samples prepared by Musselman. At that time, they informally agreed not to award the $150 prize which had been offered in the public contest since no entry had been selected."

St. Agnes Medical Center:

The large painting, "A Moment in Time," by Darwin Musselman graces the main lobby entrance of the (new) St. Agnes Hospital in Fresno. The "trompe l'oeil" (to fool the eye) style painting is constructed as a picture within a picture. The central feature is the reproduction of a 16th century Dutch masterpiece by Gerard David, "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt" depicts Mary and the baby Jesus resting while Joseph (seen faintly in the background) forages for food. 

The Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra

From 1961 through 1966, a reproduction of a Musselman painting executed specifically for each season, adorned the cover of The Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra program.

Darwin Musselman

and the Birth of the Fresno Art Museum:

Following his return to Fresno in 1953 to teach Art at his alma mater Fresno State College, Darwin Musselman once again became an active member of the Fresno Arts Center and served on its Board of Directors. Since its inception as a regional arts center in 1948, the Fresno Arts Center grew into an important museum of contemporary and modern art. The Fresno Art Museum evolved from a group of local artists who formed the Fresno Art League in the late 1940's for the purpose of critiquing and exhibiting their artwork, to what it is today: the largest museum of modern art between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In an interview for a June 12, 1988 article written by Bobbye Temple in the Fresno Bee commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Fresno Art Museum, Darwin Musselman "remembered how hard it was to find a place to show art in the 1930s and '40s. We had the old Short home for a time, and we used space in an upstairs corridor at the Memorial Auditorium until the city took that over (in 1942 for war-related activities). Then we exhibited in a space in the Musicians' Union Hall, above Rodder's [local department store] downtown, and later in the Fresno County Schools Administration Building."

"The art organizations in town, the Fresno Artists League and the Fresno Art Council, recognized the need for a place to exhibit but needed help to make it happen. The artists (some 10-12 working in town at the time) saw the need and got things moving, gradually getting other people involved" said Musselman.

The article continued: "They found that "someone" - Florence Vanderburgh, acknowledged as the founder of the Fresno Arts Center and its president its first eight years.'The Arts Center would have died aborning had it not been for Mrs. "Van' and John Ed Herbert ([a colleague of Musselman and] late professor of art at Fresno State College),' said Anne Meux Siegfried, board secretary during the early years. In addition to Vanderburgh and Herbert, the Fresno Arts Center founders included Lanson H. Crawford, Virginia Dearing, Doris Powelson, Musselman, Fay Kincade, Marjorie Del Parker, Josephine Burke and A.A. Bodeen."

The original Fresno Arts Center building was constructed in 1960 on one acre of Fresno City property at Radio Park. At the core of the current museum facility, stands the original edifice at Radio Park, designed by architect David Horn, and yet preliminary drawings for permit requirements were executed by Darwin himself. Today's storage rooms which house in part the permanent collection were once the original galleries where Darwin Musselman personally hung several of his one-man exhibitions. The museum holds several of Musselman's works in its collection, and in January 2009 displayed Kings River Rocks in their 60th anniversary exhibition.

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