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Wilmington museum $10 million gets challenge

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WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington has received a challenge pledge from the Bruce Barclay Cameron Foundation to match, dollar for dollar up to $10 million, all cash gifts pledged to the museum’s endowment fund over the next 16 months.

The campaign, launched in December, already has secured pledges totaling over $1.27 million, including a total of $730,000 from all 18 members of the museum’s board of directors.

The gift is believed to be the largest ever to a nonprofit in New Hanover County.

The foundation is a long-time supporter of the arts in Wilmington and of the museum, which was named in memory of Bruce B. Cameron’s late wife.

The purpose of the endowment is to support the museum’s annual operating expenses, which total $1.25 million a year.

While the museum receives support from state and local government, nearly all its operations are supported through contributions, underwriting, grants and memberships.

Founded in 1962, the museum initially operated as St. John’s Museum of Art in downtown Wilmington.

In April 2002, following a $12.5 million capital campaign, the renamed Cameron Art Museum opened in a new building located on 9.5 acres in central New Hanover County.

The Cameron Foundation has donated more than $5.1 million to the museum, including $4 million it donated in 1997 as part of the campaign.

At the time, it was the largest gift ever to a cultural organization in Wilmington.

Also as part of the campaign, the children of Bruce B. Cameron and Louise Wells Cameron donated land, valued at more than $2 million, that now is the site of the museum.

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