The Mission of the Santa Paula Art Museum is to preserve and share Santa Paula’s artistic heritage; and to educate and engage the community through Collection, exhibition, interpretation, programming and outreach.
In 1937, local artists convinced the City to sponsor an art competition which became the annual Santa Paula Art Show. Offering “purchase prizes”, the founding painters used their connections to encourage fellow artists from near and far to enter. Through the ensuing years the above-mentioned institutions annually purchased the winning artworks in various categories or they were acquired by local families and presented as memorials to the various institutions. Thus was accumulated the current Collection of 300-plus pieces.
The Collection includes works by such plein air artists as Al Dempster, Ralph Holmes, Milford Zornes, Robert Clunie, Jessie Arms and Cornelis Botke, Paul Lauritz, and notable local banker/artist, Douglas Shively. In addition to the quality of the artworks, the local history of the Show represents a wealth of information regarding popular local culture and art-historical perspectives, making it a significant Collection with a wide-rage of potential interpretation and critical study.