Unseen Portrait: The Art of Tom Hom

May 20 – August 20, 2017

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum proudly presents the homegrown exhibition, Unseen Portrait: The Art of Tom Hom. Many in San Diego have heard of longtime Chinese American leader and political legend, Tom Hom, but only his family and close friends are aware of his artistic talents. For the first time ever, Tom Hom is going public with his art! This exhibition will highlight Hom’s dedication to documenting the Chinese American experience in artistic form.

Fifty works on display capture over seventy years of artistic creation, including sketches, cartoons, watercolors, and oil paintings. SDCHM is proud to celebrate the achievements of this inspirational community figure for his 90th birthday.


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Extension Building | 328 J Street, San Diego, Ca 92101

About Tom Hom

Tom Hom has had a colorful career as a businessman, politician, and real estate developer in San Diego. His parents emigrated from China and embraced their new country, naming their sons after American heroes. Upon the death of his father, Tom, at the age of 15, joined his brothers to run the David Produce Company, one of the largest produce companies in the region. His father chose the name “David” because of its biblical origins, says Mr. Hom. A graduate of San Diego High School, he attended night classes in business administration at the University of California, San Diego Extension School while working days.

His business success, work ethic, reputation for integrity and civic involvement won him election to the San Diego City Council in 1963. He was re-elected for a second term by a remarkable 87 percent of the votes cast. His fellow council members unanimously elected him Deputy Mayor in 1965. In 1968, at the urging of then-Governor Ronald Reagan, he successfully ran for the California State Assembly, representing the 79th District which includes most of the city of San Diego.

Tom Hom was instrumental in developing San Diego’s downtown and Gaslamp Quarter and was founding president of the Gaslamp Quarter Association. He also played a leading role in the establishment of SDCHM.