Carnegie Art Museum & Carnegie Art Museum Cornerstones
Sharing the Southern California Art Experience
The Carnegie Art Museum, a non-profit museum of the City of Oxnard traces its beginnings back to early American business philanthropy. Originally Oxnard’s Carnegie Library, it was built in 1906 as one of the free public libraries funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It was readapted as a Cultural Arts Center in 1980, and designated as art museum by the City Council in 1987. In January 1998 to augment the Museum's municipal budget, the CAM Cornerstones auxiliary incorporated and received its 501(c) 3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service.
Headed by volunteers and business leaders from Oxnard and around the County, the CAM Cornerstones have since been major contributors to the strategic planning, growth and financial support of Museum programs. Beginning July 2010, the CAM Cornerstones entered into a ten year contract agreement with the City of Oxnard to manage and operate the Carnegie Art Museum with the continuance of municipal funding. The goals of this management transition are to enable achievement of accreditation from the American Association of Museums, improve fund-raising capacity, and encourage the Museum's entrepreneurial role in the artistic development of Downtown Oxnard.
The CAM Cornerstones' mission is "to make the Museum's Vision a Reality through Leadership, Involvement and Revenue Enhancement.” The purpose of the CAM Cornerstones is, therefore, "to enhance and promote the Museum's educational and cultural services to residents and tourists of the of Oxnard and Ventura County through: fund-raising, grant writing, special events, exhibits, performances, classes, lectures, workshops, a museum store, the maintenance of a museum membership program and oversight of museum management”. Museum's multiple education and event programs for all ages are primarily sustained through the fund-raising efforts of the CAM Cornerstones.
Dedicated to serving the community through education, the Carnegie Art Museum's vision is to share the Southern California Art Experience with the mission of being a quality-driven, fine arts museum and a major center for arts education resources for Ventura County." The Museum serves as a gateway to discovering a lifetime of self education through the visual arts. Excellent exhibits are at the core of the Museum's educational value and mission, as the art displayed is the jumping off point for examining and researching art and California history.
The Museum offers exhibits intended to give the public access to a broad spectrum of national quality art and culture pertinent to California and educationally rich. Likewise, art acquisition collects works that are inclusive of all California art movements and of educational value to a highly diverse population. Artworks range from California Impressionism, which initiated the collection, to Contemporary trends including Latino Art. The Museum's multiple education and event programs for all ages are primarily sustained through the fund-raising efforts of the CAM Cornerstones.
Major exhibits have included: American Woodblock Prints from the Syracuse Art Collection, Picasso’s Posters from the El Paso Museum of Art , Elements of Nature: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Homegrown: Vince Engel, Robert Engel and Andy Engel, Going Global: Einar and Jamex de la Torre and Documenting China from the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibits Service. Major acquistions have included art by: Frank Romero, Gronk, John Valadez, Alexey Steele, Peter Adams, Susan Stinsmuehlen Amend, Diane Best, TrujilloPaumier and Linda Vallejo. Carnegie exhibits often advance the careers of the artists featured. Many subsequently are invited to exhibit at larger galleries, as in Los Angeles, Paris, Brazil and New York.
Based on its major exhibits, the Museum has provided outstanding education programs including: tours, classroom presentations, adult gallery talks, lectures, art workshops for children through adults, and a past artist residency by Gronk. Launched in 2013 is the CAM Studio Gallery at 329 N. Fifth Street directly adjacent to the Museum. In this extra space made possible by CAM Cornerstones support, additional spotlight exhibits from the permanent collection, specialty exhibits and a guest studio artist program have blossomed.
Pending funding, Carnegie serves 5,000-10,000 students annually from throughout Ventura County. College partnerships have included Oxnard College, Ventura College, and California State Universities Channel Islands and Northridge. Various past Programming has been made possible by major and multiple grants from: Bank of America, The Procter and Gamble Fund, Mervyn's, Mid-State Bank & Trust, Rabobank N.A., Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Ventura County Community Foundation "Partnering in the Arts Initiative”, The Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation, VCCF's Woman Legacy and Destino Funds, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.