• The Centinela Springs - Detail The Centinela Springs - Detail
  • The Centinela Springs The Centinela Springs
  • Historic Photograph from the National Archives Historic Photograph from the National Archives
     
THE CENTINELA SPRINGS (1937)

Artist
Archibald Garner

Collection
US Post Office

Medium
Bas Relief

Material
Mahogany

Archibald Garner’s Centinela Springs are carved mahogany panels installed inside the Inglewood post office at the Postmaster’s door. Garner depicts early California residents, native peoples, missionaries and settlers at water’s edge. With bowls, canteens and buckets they scoop water from Centinela Springs, a valued early source of fresh water in coastal Southern California. He is known for figurative relief panels and dimensional sculpture in wood, stone, and mosaic.

Inglewood historian Anne Cheek La Rose wrote, "Garner’s original design was larger than the ‚Ķcommission was awarding for the work. Rather than compromise his vision, Garner purchased the additional material cost out of his own pocket. Additionally, his studio was not large enough to house the panels as he worked, so the carving was done in his friend, Gordon Newell’s, studio."

Garner’s works were created through the Treasury Section of the Fine Arts (TRAP). Similar to the Works Progress Administration, the Section was part of government’s efforts to provide work for all Americans throughout the Great Depression. The program was an early example of reserving some of the construction budget for acquiring art works for public buildings. When commissioned, artists were given guidelines for their selection of themes. Typically, the artists’ designs were inspired by the locale.