Julia Morgan believed that architecture was a visual art. Having designed over 700 buildings, most notably Hearst Castle in San Simeon during her 46-year career as one of California’s premier architects, she proved herself to be a true artist.
The first woman to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering and to be admitted into and graduate from the foremost architectural program at the time, the L’Ecole des Beaux-arts school in Paris, France, Morgan became California’s first female architect in 1902.
In the midst of our beautiful City of Riverside, we have a Morgan-designed landmark treasure. Built in 1929 in a unique mixture of Mediterranean and Classical revival styles, the Riverside YWCA on the corner of Lime and Mission Inn incorporated practicality, convenience, and elegant simplicity in an innovative tri-block design, constructed with reinforced, poured-in-place concrete. This design is unique among the 17 YWCA's Morgan designed. The movement and interest created by the tri-block design works not only on the exterior of the building, but also on the two interior floors. Morgan's building successfully functioned as Riverside's YWCA for nearly 40 years.
The building’s distinctive architecture as a work of art in its own right brought it to the attention of the Riverside Art Center in the 1960s. Purchased from the YWCA on July 5, 1967, Morgan’s building became the proud home of the Riverside Art Museum.
Although the original function of Julia Morgan's building has changed, the spirit of its precedent-setting architect will be forever preserved in the timeless quality and beautiful design of the building. Morgan's architecture truly stands as a testimony to her fortitude, her skill, and her brilliantly enduring sensibilities.
The building is now home to artists and art lovers as a place to quietly roam and experience the world of art. With quarterly exhibits featuring artwork by the masters as well as up-and-coming contemporary artists, there’s something to pique everyone’s interests and to challenge their perceptions of what art is. Art classes for the young and young at heart alike teach art history and technique.
...and if you’re looking for the perfect place for an elegant affair for your special day, look no further than the historic and unique building that is now the Riverside Art Museum. Exchange vows in Julia’s garden-like atrium. Let your friends and family toast to your joy and good health in one of our art galleries, and dance the night away in the arms of the one you love under the stars on our rooftop courtyard.
Here's what you should know:
Please schedule a site tour by calling 951.684.7111x305 or emailing FacilityRentals@riversideartmuseum.org to talk to our Facility Rental Coordinator about pricing, etc. Site tours are available by appointment only. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will need to reschedule your appointment.
Thank you for considering the Riverside Art Museum for your wedding, birthday, anniversary, holiday party, and more.
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