Day99 Riverside Art Museum

Riverside Art Museum

Riverside Art Museum

The historic structure which houses the Riverside Art Museum (RAM) was built by the renowned architect Julia Morgan as Riverside’s original YWCA.

The Riverside YWCA was organized in 1906, but it was not until 1929, after years of developing membership, financial security, and considering three different sites that a location for Riverside’s first YWCA building was chosen. Selecting the corner of 7th (now Mission Inn Avenue) and Lime Streets, the directors of YWCA hired Morgan to draw formal plans for their new building. Pressure mounted from local business leaders, including Mission Inn owner Frank Miller. Miller’s preference was to hire an architect who would design in a similar style to that of the Mission Inn and Riverside’s Municipal Auditorium, both buildings in close proximity to the new YWCA site. However, the YWCA Directors held firm in their determination to have a place for women designed by a woman, and Morgan was ultimately hired. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on January 27, 1929. The building, based on Mediterranean and Classical architectural design elements, mingles beautifully, even now, with the Mission Revival and Spanish Revival styles of the Mission Inn and Municipal Auditorium.

The Riverside Art Museum

In the early 1950s, a loosely knit group of artists formed the Riverside Art Association to encourage the study and appreciation of the arts. Their first home, the Riverside Art Center, was a recently abandoned Municipal Dog Pound which City of Riverside officials leased to the Art Association for $1 a year.

By 1960, the growing Association clearly needed more space for its studio classes and numerous exhibitions. When Morgan’s YWCA building became available for sale, the Riverside Art Center purchased the building for $250,000. A successful fund drive followed and on July 5, 1967, YWCA officials formally turned over Morgan’s building to the Riverside Art Center. The transition from a YWCA building to the existing art museum was soon underway.

In 1982, Morgan’s building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a Historic Landmark by the City of Riverside.

The Riverside YWCA was organized in 1906, but it was not until 1929, after years of developing membership, financial security, and considering three different sites that a location for Riverside’s first YWCA building was chosen. Selecting the corner of 7th (now Mission Inn Avenue) and Lime Streets, the directors of YWCA hired Morgan to draw formal plans for their new building. Pressure mounted from local business leaders, including Mission Inn owner Frank Miller. Miller’s preference was to hire an architect who would design in a similar style to that of the Mission Inn and Riverside’s Municipal Auditorium, both buildings in close proximity to the new YWCA site. However, the YWCA Directors held firm in their determination to have a place for women designed by a woman, and Morgan was ultimately hired. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on January 27, 1929. The building, based on Mediterranean and Classical architectural design elements, mingles beautifully, even now, with the Mission Revival and Spanish Revival styles of the Mission Inn and Municipal Auditorium.

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