Jasper introduced as
Museum's new mascot
Jasper, the iconic ant that has run around Ontario for 67 years, has finally gotten some formal recognition.
insect was adopted
as the mascot for
the Ontario Museum
of History & Art.
At a Museum
on Sept. 26,
Jasper was formally
welcomed as the museum’s symbol.
He’s no newcomer, having been created as
the official emblem for the All-States
Picnic in Ontario in 1956. He originally
appeared as “Mr. Ant” at the annual picnic,
having been designed by Tom Hicks, Chaffey High grad and Chaffey College art student.
The name Jasper was created by Mrs. John O.
Hill, who submitted it and was named winner in
a naming contest that drew 350 entrants.
“Jasper” is from J-July 4th, A-All, S-States,
P-Picnic, E-Euclid Avenue, R-Regular event.
Through the years, as attendance at the picnic declined, Jasper’s role also declined.
But he returned in 2016 when local artist (and Museum trustee) Chris Kueng created a more whimsical look for Jasper. He has since been a regular in city events in a new mascot costume
that debuted for the 2018 July 4th parade.
The original Jasper drawing is on display in the
Gem of the Foothills exhibit at the Museum.
Spirited dancers were a highlight during the Museum's popular Dia de Los Muertos observance in October
Meet our Museum
Director Marissa Kucheck
Marissa Kucheck is the director of the Ontario Museum of History & Art, bringing an extensive background in the arts and in museum management to Ontario.
Marissa joined the museum staff coming to Ontario from her previous position in the Cultural Arts Division of the city of South Gate.
And while she is a native Southern Californian – she attended high school in Irvine – her college education came many miles away. She received a bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in urban studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a master’s degree in art history and museum studies from the University of Michigan.
“I was pleased to find that the city, like me, has its own Canadian connection, with George Chaffey," said Marissa, whose mother is Canadian.
Marissa brings a wealth of experience having worked at the Huntington Library, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. She is an alumnus of Arts for LA’s ACTIVATE program, holds a certificate in community teaching artistry from Cal State Los Angeles, and has completed the 2021 Rautenberg New Leaders Project.
She says she is up to the challenge of using the museum’s strategic plan to build greater interest and growth while overcoming the hardships produced by the Covid epidemic.
Melissa said among the challenges facing the museum are construction improvements underway to upgrade facilities in the 1930s former City Hall, as well as developing programs to reach out to new communities in Ontario and adjacent cities.
“It’s a very exacting time for the museum and the city,” she said. “But it is just a matter of taking each challenge one piece at a time. I think we are very much ready for the future.”