Reach for the Sky


In 1976, Walter and Leonore Annenberg commissioned a 30-foot-tall red cedar totem pole for Sunnylands, their 200-acre California desert estate. Canadian First Nations artist Henry Hunt, a Kwakiutl chief, carved the masterpiece that stands on the fifth fairway of the Sunnylands grounds. In 2010, his son Stan Hunt and grandson Jason Hunt restored the historic pole and
rededicated it in 2012. The Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration exhibition extends the Hunt legacy of Kwakiutl art at Sunnylands by introducing the work of Stan Hunt, and Jason Hunt.

Unknown to the Hunt family, American musician and artist Herb Alpert visited
Stanley Park in Vancouver in the 1980s and was inspired by the Kwakiutl totems there to make
vertical sculpture. The exhibition of artwork by the Hunt Family and Alpert explore the ways in which artists inspire each other across culture, space, and time.

Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration was on view from September 11, 2019, through June 7, 2020, at Sunnylands Center & Gardens.

The Artists

Henry Eugene Hunt  (1923–1985)

Stanley Clifford Hunt  (b. 1954)

First Nations artist Henry Hunt carved the Sunnylands totem pole in 1976. In 1951, he apprenticed with his father-in-law, Mungo Martin, who was then Chief Carver at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. Henry held the position of Chief Carver from 1962 to 1974. One of the most famous of Henry’s works (carved with Martin) is the 100-foot pole presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1958.

First Nations artist Stanley (Stan) Hunt (b. 1954) apprenticed under his father, Henry. Stan carved his first totem pole in 1982—a commission for Jean M. Auel (author of The Clan of the Cave Bear). Stan carves in his home studio in Fort Rupert on Vancouver Island in Canada. His works are found in private and museum collections around the world.

Jason Henry Hunt (b. 1973)

Herb Alpert (b. 1935)

First Nations artist Jason Hunt (b. 1973) was inspired to carve by his father, Stan. He found that he had a natural connection to the craft that has been passed down through generations. Like his father and grandfather, Jason has maintained the traditional practice of carving by hand. He is a working artist who carves in his studio on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

Renowned American musician Herb Alpert (b. 1935) is also a painter and sculptor who works from his Los Angeles studio. Emphasizing the communication of emotion through art, Alpert’s work appears in private and museum collections throughout the world. In 2012, Alpert was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.


Exhibition Lecture
Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration

The exhibition catalog, Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration, contains an essay by Anne Rowe, Sunnylands director of collections and exhibitions since 2009. A past president of the board of trustees of the Copley Society of Boston, she is the current president of the board of governors of the Western Museums Association and serves on the board of trustees for Modernism Week. Rowe received her master’s degree in organizational development from the University of San Francisco and a master’s degree in museum studies from Harvard University.

Hard copy versions of the catalog are available for purchase online and in store at the Sunnylands gift shop.

A digital copy of the catalog is available for free download below, along with a free downloadable coloring page designed by the Hunts.