Santa Paula Art Museum quiet sustainability campaign goes public, goal 70 percent met

December 27, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

The Santa Paula Art Museum is hoping you’ll make beauty a priority by donating to their until now quiet $1 million Sustainability Campaign, now going public.

That’s good news said David Luna, President of the SPAM Board of Directors, the campaign has already attracted donors who have given $700,000. 

The campaign was launched without fanfare in October 2012 to provide the museum, the umbrella to the famed Santa Paula Collection of artworks, operating capital for the next five years. 

The Santa Paula Collection is comprised of almost 400 paintings, most purchased for or by various public entities from the annual Santa Paula Art & Photography Show’s list of impressive winners since the show debuted in 1937. 

The museum not only offers permanent and rotating exhibits but is also a venue for musical entertainment, lectures, “Gallery Talks” and education, among other offerings. 

“What we do is preserve art,” a collection that Luna noted includes prominent California plein air works and art by artists such as Jessie Arms and Cornelis Botke, Robert Clunie and Douglas Shively, Al Dempster, Ralph Holmes, Milford Zornes and Paul Lauritz, among others. 

Board Vice President David Schwabauer said the campaign like the museum and ongoing efforts on its behalf has relied on “An incredible amount of work behind the scenes,” including those who have spotted notable art throughout Santa Paula and acquired same as a loaner or donation to the museum.

More and more schools throughout Ventura County are having museum field trips because of the museum’s unique collection and exhibits as well as its proximity to the California Oil Museum located just south of the art museum.

There are many that see the importance and value of the museum to present and future generations and Schwabauer said they responded generously.

With its dedicated founders and initial contributors, board, supporters and staff including Executive Director Jennifer Heighton, Schwabauer said all have “Worked in tandem to not only make this museum a reality but to ensure it remains a reality.”

“We are so thrilled at how successful the campaign has been,” said Luna, “even though at first some people’s eyebrows shot up when they heard $1 million!”

The fame of the nonprofit museum, opened in the historic Limoneira building (117 N. 10th St.) in February 2010, has grown throughout Southern California and beyond. 

The museum said Moorpark resident and rancher Schwabauer, “Is a recognized resource, a venue for not only Santa Paula but also for Ventura County.”

Board Director John Nichols said the initial Sustainability fundraising campaign was “Just friend to friend...the museum’s success is growing from a position of strength. It’s only three years old,” but already firmly established as an entity offering recognized cultural arts amid community pride.

All donations to the museum are tax deductible.

The Santa Paula Art Museum-Jeanette Cole Art Center was established as a not-for-profit organization with a mission to preserve and share Santa Paula’s artistic heritage including the famous Santa Paula Art Collection and to educate and engage the community through collection, exhibition, interpretation, programming and outreach.

Planning for the museum, spearheaded by Mary Alice Orcutt Henderson, started more than a decade before it finally opened in the renovated Limoneira building.

For more information call Heighton, 805-525-5554 or visit the website, 


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