2015 in Review


As we look forward to 2016 and 2015 comes to a close, we would like to thank our friends and partners for helping the Old Monterey Foundation fulfill our mission to promote, support and enhance the artistic and cultural environment of historic downtown Monterey, California.


Some highlights of the year:

 This year we embarked upon our most ambitious project yet: the implementation of the plan for Lower Presidio Historic Park. This project is best described as a public-private partnership with the City of Monterey, with OMF serving as a community-oriented tax-exempt entity to gather financial support to implement this very excellent plan which was adopted by the City in 2002, but has not been implemented as yet due to lack of municipal funding.

father-serra-celtic-cross-at-the-artillery-pacific-streets-gate-presidio-of-monterey-1907-california-views-mr-pat-hathaway-archivesOurIMG_1044s is a five-year commitment to raise the necessary funds and direct the construction of agreed improvements that will make the Lower Presidio Historic Park a centerpiece of historic Old Monterey. What is largely an unknown public facility will be turned into what looks and feels like a park (Phase I) that welcomes the public, local and visitor alike. Pathways, interpretative signs, benches and tables, and an entrance that is easily located for even the most casual visitor. Later Phases will renovate some historic buildings located on site and develop interpretation of El Castillo and Fort Mervine. An amphitheater will be installed for concerts overlooking the Bay. This 25.3 acre site will become the jewel of Monterey, worthy of its description as the Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast.

The spectacular view from Lower Presidio Historic Park

Starting from scratch, we have been successful in raising nearly one-half the funds necessary to build out Phase I in our first year. Against a total projected cost of $680,000, we have obtained commitments for over $320,000 by January 2016. Starting with a generous grant of $215,000 from Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Fund and Committee, we have received $50,000 from the Thomas Doud, Sr. and Anita M. Doud Fund I and the Engracia Irene Murray Field of Interest Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County; a $4,000 Opportunity Grant from Community Foundation for Monterey County$20,000 from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation that sponsors the AT&T Golf Tournament; $2,500 from the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and other donations from numerous contributors.  Our progress and growing community enthusiasm is well reflected in this recent news article appearing in The Herald:


Progress in development of the Park to date include completion of engineering plans and specifications for the Phase I improvements, and development of remarkable signs and monuments by our contractors Sandy Freeman and Kelly McCay.

Proposed entrance Sign at Artillery Gate
The Range of signs designed for the Lower Presidio Historic Park

The package is about to be submitted to the Army and State, with an optimistic start of construction date in June 2016.

With ongoing support from the Marcia F. DeVoe Fund at Community Foundation for Monterey County, we continued our collaboration with the Monterey Museum of Art to present excellent speakers to augment the Museum’s special art exhibits. This year programs were presented by Robert Edwards and Julianne Burton-Carvajal, covering the iconic career of Pedro de Lemos and a third program by Scott Shields highlighting the art of Armin Hansen.

All programs were free to the public and were presented in the Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. These excellent programs were standing-room only and demonstrated a strong local interest in Monterey Art and History.  The Old Monterey Foundation is planning another lecture series in 2016, dates and subjects to be announced soon. Watch this website for announcements.

Continue reading 2015 in Review


Our fundraiser to restore the historic “Monterey Christmas Angels” on December 5, 2015 was a resounding success. Attendance was estimated to be 120 Angel patrons, including a majority of the Monterey City Council (one of whose children submitted a new Angel for auction). Angels_07Twenty newly painted Angels were displayed around the gathering room at the Museum of Monterey on the Custom House Plaza, and lively interest was displayed in the Angels and in the biographies posted next to each one. All had the same shape and dimensions, but each presented the unique artistic vision of the Artist who graciously donated each Angel. The crowd enjoyed hors d’oeurves, wine and beer amid the lively discussion of individual artistic merits during the Reception preceding the auction.Angels_03Angels_04

Promptly at 7:30 pm, our auctioneer Mike Tryon called attention to the podium for the first piece to be bid on, and the auction was on. Mike is a professional auctioneer from Temecula who volunteered his services to enhance our auction experience, and we are most grateful for his contribution. Angels_06Bidding started a bit slowly but the crowd soon warmed to the spirit of evening. Some favorites quickly appeared and precipitated lively bidding for the rest of the evening. The first bid to go over $500 was the Christmas Angel painted by renowned artist Erin Lee Gadfill, Angels_02which topped out at $750. Continue reading CHRISTMAS ANGEL AUCTION IS RESOUNDING SUCCESS


mc-gives_logo_2015-2The Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been selected as one of 144 non-profit organizations to participate in the annual Monterey County Gives! charitable fundraiser conducted by The Monterey County Weekly.  Last year, MCGives! raised more than $1.3 million for charity and the goal this year is $2 million.

The essence of MC Gives! is to give worthy non-profits exposure and a platform to raise money for a “Big Idea.”  Our Big Idea is the implementation of the Lower Presidio Historic Park according to the 2002 Master Plan, which will turn a largely unknown Park into the popular recreational attraction it should be.  When we have completed Phase I of the implementation, the Park will look like and feel like a historic park to used by residents and visitors alike in the heart of downtown Monterey.

Contributions made to MC Gives!, designated for the benefit of OMF will come to us for use only on the Lower Presidio Historic Park.  If the donation is made as a “challenge grant,” MC Gives! will add some amount from the challenge grant fund of $325,000 to our gift, depending on how much we raise in the total fundraiser.  So the more you give, the more we will receive as your contribution will be leveraged.

$925.00 has been donated as a challenge grant to OMF, as of November 24.  To donate, please go to the Monterey County Gives! website:


Hit the “Donate” button and you will receive instructions as to how you can make your donation by credit card, PayPal, or by check.  Be sure to designate the beneficiary as Old Monterey Foundation and the Lower Presidio Historic Park.

Sneak a peek at the angels

Angel RackErinLeeGafill

Here are the 20 angels painted by renowned local artists that will be auctioned at the “Save the Angels” fundraiser. Proceeds will go towards restoration of the original historic “Monterey Christmas Angels” painted in 1956 by Erica Franke.

The “Save the Angels” Auction & Reception will be held Saturday, December 5, 6–9 p.m. at the Museum of Monterey, 5 Custom House Plaza.

Continue reading Sneak a peek at the angels


During the night of October 14 -15, 2015, unknown criminals entered the fenced off Father Serra enclosure at the Lower Presidio Historic Park and removed the sculptured head of the Father Junipero Serra Statue.  Presumably a sledge hammer was employed to remove the head, which is  now missing after a search of the surrounding area.  Given the recent publicity for the canonization of Father Serra, this appears to have been a juvenile political statement from one or more persons against the sainthood.



We are pleased to report that our annual Artist event, Art in the Gardens 2015, was an excellent success in line with our past four years of “ART –in-the-ADOBES” programs. The number of participating artists increased this year, as did attendance at the three-day event.

winning artistWinner

The event kicked off on the evening of Friday, September 11 when twenty-two local painters gathered at Venture Gallery to have blank canvases and papers stamped as untouched. A small reception with wine sent them off to paint.

Saturday they scattered among the ten historic gardens of Old Monterey to capture their charms in oil, acrylic, pastel, and watercolor. Volunteer docents stationed in each garden space explained the history and horticulture of each unique space.

The drought-challenged plantings in many areas provided a challenge to the painters, leading to some “artistic license” to bring the flowers back to vibrant life.

On Sunday September 13 the artists gathered in the Sensory Garden to exhibit their new paintings for judging. Volunteer judges John Greenwald, Susan Klusmire, and Patrick O’Dowd deliberated carefully with difficult selections. Awards were announced by noon.



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