The Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum is an art exhibition and education space located in Wilmington, North Carolina. The museum is often abbreviated to ‘CAM’ and is a not for profit organisation. The museum holds a rotating permanent collection, ongoing exhibits in three exhibition areas, a host of educational programs for adults and children in the arts education center, a clay studio, outdoor exhibit space, reception hall and lecture hall. The history of CAM began in 1964 when St.John’s Museum of Art as it was known then was situated in the Masonic Lodge. Outgrowing its space, in 2001 it relocated to Independence Street and became known under as its current title. The name comes from a lady named Louise Wells Cameron who volunteered at the museum for 35 years. In 1999 Bruce. B Cameron the husband of Louise began a campaign to fund a museum and after a significant monetary donation and the donation of the land from the Cameron’s children the museum was renamed and reborn.
The grounds also include a nature trail, picnic area, art park with outdoor sculptures , CAM Cafe with snacks, drinks and lunch meals and Museum shop. The museum is open Tuesday to SundaYy Visitors pay an admission fee and there is a membership scheme available to join.
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The permanent collection housed at the Cameron Art Museum includes work by national, international and regional artists and consists of artisan crafts, design, paintings and fine arts. Whilst the museum has a wide array of art for its permanent collection, the whole collection is never on display at one time. Exhibits from the permanent collection are displayed on rotation. The collection embodies the focus of the museum which is to heighten the knowledge of cultural and visual literacy. The exhibits in the collection celebrate the differing cultural diversity of America and its inhabitants.
The paintings within the permanent collection range from local landscape artwork, military artwork and African American artwork. Notable paintings from the permanent collection are the oil on canvas work of Falls in Cherokee County, North Carolina by William Frerichs, a Dutch born painter who was fascinated by the terrain of North Carolina.The lithograph on paper art of Conversation by the local artist Romare Bearden in 1979 is a popular piece of work from the African American Art selection. Renowned local arts featured in the collection are Maud Gatewood, Donald Sultan and Claude Howell amongst others.
From the fine art selection which features pottery and prints is Jugtown Pottery, a North Carolinian pottery company founded in 1917. The company specialises in glazed pottery and has such pieces as a Lidded Dish Tobacco Spit Glaze and an intricate pair of Candlesticks with White Glaze both dating from 1921- 1961 in the collection.
The museum features outdoor sculptures by Vollis Simpson such as the whirligig “Caroline” and a bronze sculpture The Structure of Things Given and Held by Mel Chin. Seating in the form of the concrete and ceramic tile sculpture by Tom Spleth provides additional interest and browsing for visitors outside. The final sculpture on the grounds is the usual Glove Palapa by Dixon Stetler
Ongoing programs and Education
The museum actively encourages children to get involved with art and creativity through a range of programs under the Kids@CAM initiative. Summer camps are arranged for children aged between 5-8 and 9-12 respectively and concentrate on learning through art. Another is Story Explorers where younger children can attend the museum for a small tour, story and art project with an educator. After school programs are offered in limited numbers to youths in the local community who can study art through the Museum School’s After School Program too.
The museum is closed to the general public on Mondays but the museum hosts a free Connections Program which is open to children and adults with psychological and physical needs to come and view the museum with an educator. Additionally, adult classes in the studio are held in morning and evening slots throughout the week and have been on such subjects as creative writing and life drawing in the past. Workshops with creative topics are also hosted at the museum and vary over year. Previous subjects have been photography, sculpture and Japanese Temari. Further programs are the healthy living classes where adults can attend yoga and T’ai Chi. Ongoing events are book readings, music performances, weekly exhibition tours and an annual fundraiser for the museum known as Art Moves Midtown where participants run 5k through Wilmington.
Back to: Wilmington, North Carolina
3201 I St, Wilmington, NC 28412, Phone: 910-395-5999