Arts Calendar

Grand Valley State University

California Dreams

California Dreams

Monday, January 6, 2014

Thornapple Gallery, Kirkhof Center, Allendale Campus


California Dreams is an exhibition of orange crate labels from the collection of David King, assistant professor of Graphic Design at Grand Valley State University. The exhibit is ongoing until Friday, April 25.

In 1870, Los Angeles was a dusty, southern California ranch town of 5,000 inhabitants on the meandering Porcincula River. By 1876, the Southern Pacific Railroad reached the town and made it possible to ship a new, locally cultivated variety of orange to the big, eastern and midwestern markets. The big, sweet and seedless Navel orange variety was a huge success back East. Demand for the newly available fruit was unprecedented.

Orange groves rapidly proliferated and it soon became necessary for individual growers to brand and indemnify their fruit. The orange crate label was born. This unique marketing form lasted only about 70 yearsfrom 1880 to 1950when wooden crates were replaced by cheaper cardboard boxesbut provides a fascinating and colorful history of the region and of this uniquely California industry.

For more information, contact the GVSU Art Gallery at 616-331-2563.