‘Destination Paradise’ exhibition opens Saturday, Dec. 30, at Catalina Island Museum

Exhibition looks at 100 years of promoting Catalina Island

For the Islander

A new exhibition opening at the Catalina Island Museum this Saturday is sure to pique the interest of island residents and longtime visitors. “Destination Paradise: 100 Years of Catalina Advertising Design” traces the island’s advertising history from the 1880s to the 1980s.

Exhibition looks at 100 years of promoting Catalina Island

For the Islander

A new exhibition opening at the Catalina Island Museum this Saturday is sure to pique the interest of island residents and longtime visitors. “Destination Paradise: 100 Years of Catalina Advertising Design” traces the island’s advertising history from the 1880s to the 1980s.

From hand drawn and painted signs to modern posters, the evolution of advertising Catalina Island as a tourist destination is fully explored through a multitude of slogans, jingles and captivating designs.

Compiled almost exclusively from the Catalina Island Museum’s permanent collection, “Destination Paradise” documents how Catalina Island’s owners, businesses and the passenger service companies have endlessly experimented in branding the island as paradise within reach.

Nearly all of the island’s advertising has centered around Avalon, its attractions and its protective harbor famous for its clear and sparkling waters.

Early hand drawn brochures show the newly invented glass bottom boats allowing visibility to the underwater gardens of the bay as well as the modern and “sanitary” grand hotels available for comfortable overnight stays. Under ownership of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., who understood the power of advertising, visitors to the exhibition will find ingenious newspaper ads geared toward a national audience that pair quick slogans with bold imagery – a barrel of fun with a giggling boy, an exhausted housewife who needs a complete change, a wise owl that knows the benefits of rest and play.

Decadent color brochures from the 1920s and 1930s are designed for the leisure seeking set. Full of attractive people enjoying Catalina’s various activities including golf, horseback riding, water sports and its attractions, ads feature the famous Casino, the Bird Park aviary, Country Club and more.

The strength of the exhibition focuses on the 1930s billboard and poster designs, especially those created by Otis and Dorothy Shepard.

No other artists branded the island as a unique destination like they did.

Through their Early California Plan, based on the state’s early Mexican and Native American influences, the two designers brought a cohesive look to the entire island.

The designers used little text and instead relied on simple yet highly designed airbrushed graphics of birds from the Bird Park, happy people on Summit Trip bus tours and sea lions reachable by boat.

The Shepard’s also were responsible for creating character ambassadors including the Saludos Girl, a Mexican flower girl, and a Polynesian beauty who embodied the South Pacific feel of the island.

The exhibition is void of advertisements from the 1940s when the island was turned over for military use during World War II.

Material from the 1950s and 1960s is sparse, with few treasured brochures and advertisements mainly focused on travel and accommodation: the great white steamer ships, luxury St. Catherine Hotel, and the Big Bands who entertained throngs of young people in the Casino Ballroom.

This era brought more focus on air travel. Naturally images of sea planes and the excitement of air travel options were vividly illustrated.

The final segment of the exhibition looks to the 1970s and 1980s when photographic images become more widely used than artist renderings.

Visitors to the exhibition will surely get a kick from pictures of the people and the places selected to portray an idealistic island experience.

Nostalgic and fun, when taken as a whole “Destination Paradise” provides a fascinating overview of advertising trends as well as 100 years of documentation that will appeal to maritime and air vessel enthusiasts, lovers of fashion, architecture and historians of all kinds.

“Destination Paradise: 100 Years of Catalina Advertising Design” will be on view from Dec. 30, 2017 through April 22, 2018.

The Catalina Island Museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film.

The museum is ipen seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Ave. For more information, call the museum at 310-510-2414 or visit CatalinaMuseum.org.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here