From the outside, the Muckenthaler Cultural Center is a slice of old Fullerton, looking down on Malvern Avenue from the middle of a carefully manicured expanse of green. Inside, though, the 66-year-old mansion is often home to some of the latest in contemporary art.
Inspired by a building in the 1915 Exposition at San Diego's Balboa Park, the Italian Renaissance-style home (designed by architect Frank Benchley) was built in 1924 for Walter and Adella Muckenthaler. Walter's father, Albert, had moved to Anaheim with his family in 1909; Adella was born Adella Kraemer, daughter of one of the area's most powerful agricultural families and great-granddaughter of Bernardo Yorba, holder of one of the original Spanish land grants. The home was donated to the city of Fullerton in 1965 and is now on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
The home was used for art and drama classes and other activities until 1981, when it was closed for a $525,000 renovation that was completed in 1984. An outdoor amphitheater has since been added and other improvements are planned.
Visitors enter the gallery through the home's original double wooden doors, which are now in sight of the colorful sets for the final production in this season's Theatre on the Green, "Musical Comedy Murders of 1940." The art exhibit now on display is "The Traveling Show: Art Influenced by Transportation," which features sculptures and installations by such unconventional artists as Craig Stecyk and Dustin Shuler, in addition to more traditional paintings and drawings. Both the play and the exhibit end Sept. 3. Workshops, lectures and demonstrations for children and adults continue throughout the year.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday (closed major holidays).
Address: 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton.
Telephone: (714) 738-6595.
Miscellaneous information: Free admission ($1 donation suggested). Docent tours available on request.