OXNARD : House May Open as College Art Gallery

A vacant house donated to Oxnard College nearly two years ago may open as the school's first art gallery if officials can raise enough money to meet state building requirements.

The house, donated by Oxnard developer and community activist Richard McNish and his wife, Juanita, was removed from its River Ridge Homes site in east Oxnard and deposited at the school in 1989. It has remained vacant because of the school's budget problems and the state's strict building codes, said Karrol Maughmer, a member of the Oxnard College Foundation, which raises funds for the college.

Maughmer said the foundation hopes to raise about $50,000 to bring the former sales office up to code required by the state.

"The gallery will be a great addition to the community," Maughmer said. "There are some exceptionally talented students here at the college, and the art gallery will allow them, as well as outside artists, to exhibit their work to the public."

Juanita McNish, who attends art classes at the college, said she and her husband donated the house because they wanted to create an outlet for art in the community.

"We hope this project will get other prominent people in the area to become interested in the college and all that it has to offer," Juanita McNish said.

She said she never anticipated the complications involved in setting up the gallery at the college. "It seemed like a simple gesture when we donated the building," she said.

The foundation will kick off fund-raising efforts with a reception at the Tower Club in Oxnard at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The event includes the official naming of the building as the McNish Gallery, and all the proceeds will benefit the gallery.

For more information or to make reservations, contact the Oxnard College Foundation at 986-5809.

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