Give It Back. Now.


We received an e-mail the other day from a Friend calling herself “Lady Artist.” It was a good letter and it made some excellent points so we agreed to publish it.

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Didn't they put a moustache on the Mona Lisa?

The City of Fullerton has proven to be a faithless custodian of a modern architectural gem. I have come to the conclusion that the best fate of the building that has come to be known as the Hunt Branch Library is to give it back to the Norton Simon Foundation or, at least to someone who will appreciate it.

William Pereira designed this building in concert with a larger, integrated development; a site plan that included the Hunt Administration Building and coordinated landscape that included a reflecting pool and ”floating”  concrete slabs and steps. Over the years the property has been partitioned by a fence, the reflecting pool filled in by its new owners, with new and comically bad architecture burdening the site. Perhaps most insulting of all, the City has put a “bark park” on the grounds next to the library.

A bark park. Great for dogs, insulting for a work of art. Unless by art you mean a group of dogs playing poker.

In the eyes of the beholder...

Fullertonians may not know art, but they know what they like.

I believe that almost anybody would be  a more reliable guardian of this building than the City has shown itself to be. The homeless people who camp out under the extended roof seem to appreciate it more than the City does.

I also believe the present location for a branch library couldn’t be worse. It is not well known, and frankly, I question the number of users claimed by the Library itself in its annual counts. Why continue to fund a branch library at this near-hidden location when neither north nor east Fullerton have branch libraries at all; not to mention that the existence of the Hunt Branch would probably come as a complete surprise to most west Fullerton denizens? But these are separate issues in themselves, and I digress.

For years I’ve heard all this weeping and wailing about how Fullerton could have had the Norton Simon Museum. Why mourn that? Fullerton doesn’t deserve it. Never did. The inescapable evidence is on display at the Hunt Branch every day of the year. 

Let’s give it back to Norton Simon, with our thanks; and our apologies for not recognizing the architectural legacy that he gave us.

Thank you, Lady Artist, for a thought-provoking piece.

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  1. #1 by Andrea on September 28, 2009

    Lady Artist, I like your idea of giving the Hunt Branch library building back to the Norton Simon Foundation or to someone else who would appreciate it. Something needs to be done before the City leases the building to the County for $1.00 per year and converts the building into an indoor pooch park.

    Thank you for your letter.

  2. #2 by The Fullerton Harpoon on September 28, 2009

    Admin, who was the lame brain that decided the Hunt Branch grounds was the place for a bark parK? Its not even a park in the first place.

    C’mon on now – name names!

  3. #3 by van get it da artiste on September 28, 2009

    does this mean fullerton’s slim slices of culture have gone to the dogs or are our city councilmembers just dogs?

  4. #4 by yikes on September 28, 2009

    Not to debate the merits of a bark park, the park is on City park land, not on the Norton Simon grant to the City. One of the continuing problems with this blog is their total lack of the facts. Admin, fyi, you are being marginalized by the idiots writing in your space. Please do a little research before you post their blogs!

    Yikes.

    • #5 by The Fullerton Shadow on September 29, 2009

      yikes – read the post again and see if you can grasp the gist of it.

      Meantime, if you would like to write a “factual” post about something that moves you, please do so. admin would certainly publish it and you could take your chances with the blog-reading public. It could even be about FFFF.

  5. #6 by admin on September 28, 2009

    Yikes, it seems you missed the entire point of Lady Artist letter.

  6. #7 by Lady Artist on September 29, 2009

    #4 – you have marginalized yourself. That land is NOT a “park.” That’s the whole point of the post – which is NOT about a bark park, but the way the City neglects and abuses this treasure.

    yikes – I submit that you are the idiot!

  7. #8 by Anonymous on September 29, 2009

    I live in East Fullerton. I use the Placentia Library, convenient, new young energectic ExD (from Fullerton Library), great selection of new releases (fiction, nonfiction), friendly staff, bright space..

    Fullerton’s main library is a dreadful place, blues/browns, uninviting, auditorium looks like a medieval castle dungeon… Anyways too far, 10 minutes to Placentia, 20+ to downtown Fullerton…

    As for Hunt Library, gone to several Fullerton Collaborative meetings there, tacky use of space and surrounding green space.. Honestly couldn’t even find the first time, tucked back behind FSD’s maintenance sheds..

    Dog Park w/chain link fence adjacent to the Library is hideous.. Why isn’t Dog Park part of an actual park, say Hillcrest, new Lions Field area?

    Again, no thought/attention to asethetics..

  8. #9 by cook on September 30, 2009

    I wonder if the city government people who make the decisions in Fullerton are as overpaid as those in Santa Ana and other cities in Orange County.?

  9. #10 by Anonymous on October 1, 2009

    Don’t forget that the Norton Simon museum has absolutely no interest in expansion in OC. Were the NS Foundation to take it back, one option might be to sell the property.

  10. #11 by Alice on April 23, 2010

    the under-privileged illegal children and homeless wannabees love this library.

  11. #12 by Matt on April 23, 2012

    The landmark Hunt Foods building and library continue to crumble. I visited the library site today, and the front of the building is a homeless camp site… in broad daylight. The church has poorly maintained and remuddled the headquarters building. So sad to see these landmarks fall into disrepair.

    • #13 by cg on April 23, 2012

      Homeless love the recycle center at Orange Ave and Commonwealth. We in the neighborhood, call it cans for drugs center, it is nicely located across the street from the Lucky Motel. Yes, agree very sad. CAN WE SAY SLUM!!!!!

    • #14 by Jane H on April 23, 2012

      It’s like that at almost every library in every city. Sad but true. I remember 15 years ago the rows of back packs and yes, shopping carts, that had to left in the corridor of the entrance of the downtown Long Beach Library. The harder the times, the more the disenfranchised there are who need places to hang out.

      I had my graduation ceremonies at the Hunt Library.

      Fond memories. I would hate to see it fall apart.

  12. #15 by Mark on May 18, 2012

    As a child I attended Pacific Drive School. I remember how much we loved it when our teachers would take the class to the Hunt library.
    The city counsel loves that the homeless go there rather than scare people away from the downtown area. They crafted the downtown area into a “Food Court” which they call re-development. A single minded vision which they defend even with police brutality to keep the revenue flowing.
    It’s so much better in their view to allow the homeless to camp in an area away from commerce even if it means exposing children at a elementary school to them. These are only the children of low income families so in their view – not worth protecting. I doubt the school takes the children to the library now.

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