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Where are the local art museums?

John Staton

The biggest art museum in Southeastern North Carolina – that’s art museum, not a commercial art gallery – is the Cameron Art Museum, a 40,000-square-foot facility at 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington [Map this]. (The museum is on the site of the Civil War Battle of Forks Road, which has been preserved and hosts occasional Civil War re-enactments.)

The Cameron Museum opened in 2002, and since then has hosted many art exhibitions, some featuring nationally and internationally regarded artists, as well work by prominent local artists. “The Cam” is also a center for arts education and numerous public events, including live music, lectures and dance performances. The Cameron evolved from the former St. John’s Museum of Art, which was in downtown Wilmington from 1964-2001. For more information on the Cameron and its ongoing exhibitions, call (910) 395-5999 or go to http://www.CameronArtMuseum.com.

While Cameron is undoubtedly the biggest area art museum, the oldest public art gallery would be Franklin Square Gallery, 130 E. West St., Southport [Map this]. Located in a former public school building constructed in 1904, Franklin Square mostly shows the work of local artists and is a gathering place for classes and meetings by local art groups. Each summer Franklin Square hosts a juried exhibition of regional artists timed to coincide with Southport’s N.C. Fourth of July Festival. (910) 457-5450 or http://www.FranklinSquareGallery.org.

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