"Art in his DNA," by Feather Rose Flores '17, Pomona College Magazine
Before he was cataloguing the nearly 10,000 pieces in the Pomona College Museum of Art (PCMA) collection, museum Associate Director and Registrar Steve Comba was earning a reputation among his fifth-grade classmates for copying Peanuts cartoons and drawing “Wanted” posters of his least favorite teachers—a feat which often got him into trouble. Comba still has a sharp, sly sense of humor, but when it comes to managing the College’s art collection, he’s all business.
Comba never set out to work for a museum. As an undergraduate, he attended the UC Santa Barbara College of Creative Studies, later relocating to Claremont, where he received his MFA in Studio Art from the Claremont Graduate University in 1986. All he wanted was a teaching job that would enable him to pay the rent for his own studio. Until he could find a position, he took a part-time job photographing, mapping and framing prints at the Galleries of The Claremont Colleges, the former museum jointly run by Pomona and Scripps colleges. When two positions at the gallery opened up, Comba inquired about being gallery manager. “I thought it would be more appropriate for a studio artist to be the person who hangs the work, but the curator of collections thought I should look at the position of registrar instead,” he recalls. “My response was, ‘Okay…what is that?’”