Carnegie Art Museum Cornerstones
Carnegie Art Museum Cornerstones (CAM Cornerstones) was originally founded to help augment the budget of the Carnegie Art Museum, and received its 501(c)3 designation in 2002. Headed voluntarily by professionals and business leaders from Oxnard and Ventura County, the CAM Cornerstones had been a major contributor to the planning and financial support of Museum programs, helping to actualize the Museum’s educational mission and vision of sharing the SoCal Art Experience.
In 2019, faced with the Museum’s abrupt closure as a casualty of municipal cutbacks, the CAM Cornerstones have remolded and restructured to surpass this crisis--jumping into the breach to keep the visual arts alive and relevant in Oxnard. CAM Cornerstones has updated its name and is now Carnegie Art Cornerstones (CAC) and remains devoted to its mission to promote creativity, learning, and growth in the careers of artists, and to inspire passion and appreciation for arts and culture in Oxnard and Southern California. Cornerstones will continue to support artists and the arts in Oxnard and Southern California by investing in emerging artists through college scholarships. With this support, students can create and share their work to inspire an appreciation for the arts throughout Oxnard and Southern California without any financial burden. With financial resources, the board believes that artists can execute their vision and will be able to share their art with others.
In March 2020, Carnegie Arts Cornerstones was faced with another challenge as COVID-19 spread, leading to the closure of the small gallery that CAC still operated. However, the pandemic has not suppressed the passion of the board members and their love of the arts in Oxnard. The board has worked to adapt the mission to the times by pivoting to offer “in home” art discussions led by local artists. We believe this pivot continues to reflect the manner in which Cornerstones wanted to support artists – by connecting them to a captive audience.
Stay tuned details, but we look forward to seeing you in our Home is Where the heART is series, where we as a community can still support artists, connect, and share until we can do so again in person!
History of the Carnegie Art Museum
The history of the Carnegie Art Museum dates back to 1906. Through the generous donation of $12,000 from steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the building was built as Oxnard’s first library. Over the years, the building quartered many different functions such as Oxnard’s City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Art Club of Oxnard. In 1978, due to the threats of earthquake demolition, citizens successfully worked to designate the building as a county landmark to gain federal funding and refurbish the structure. In 1980, it reopened as the Carnegie Cultural Arts Center. The Center transformed again in 1987 as Oxnard's first art museum because of the former Cultural Arts Center Chairperson, Mary Bevan's passion to house the city’s art collection in a professionally operated art museum.
Steven L. Kinney