Camarillo, Calif., April 22, 2014 – Students in an innovative CSU Channel Islands (CI) class will stage the first College Night at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard on Thursday, May 1, from 6 to 9 p.m., in an extravaganza featuring art, live sculptures, music, gourmet food trucks, workshops, tours, and prizes.  Orchestrated by students in CI’s The Museum class – a signature interdisciplinary course combining in-depth study and real-life practice in museum operations – the event is a defining moment for both the students and the museum.

For the 38 students, College Night is a final project that accounts for most of their semester grade, as well as a test of their professional skills as museum “consultants.”  For the Carnegie Art Museum, the event is an experiment in attracting younger patrons who have not traditionally been active museum visitors.

“Who better than college students to engage other students in the enjoyment and appreciation of art?” said Suzanne Bellah, the Carnegie Art Museum’s Director.  “Through our partnership with CSU Channel Islands, we hope to expose students not only to the diverse opportunities for careers in cultural institutions, but also to inspire them to become lifelong patrons of the arts.”

Since the course started in January, the students, led by Art History Professor Irina D. Costache and Assistant Professor of Business Dax Jacobson, have met weekly to develop strategies and tactics to lure college students to visit the museum and enhance their awareness and enjoyment of art.  Throughout the semester, they’ve visited and met with museum professionals about the art, business and educational functions of the museum, as well as its mission, challenges and goals. 

College Night is the culmination of the semester and a living test of how well the students apply what they’ve learned in the course.  Students, who were divided into teams, created and implemented various aspects of the event from start to finish – everything from event scheduling and exhibition ideas to entertainment, marketing and promotion.

The students, whose majors include business, art, communication, and education, describe the project as a challenging and rewarding service-learning experience – one they hope will show that CI students care for their community and want to help out in future community collaborations.

Planned College Night events include:

Live Music – Enjoy performances by local CI student and alumni bands Sangoya and Good Deeds and a DJ.

Live Sculptures – Watch as students depict famous sculptures as living pieces of art, and join other guests in drawing what you see. 

Featured Artist – Experience the powerful and vivid work of featured artist Hiroko Yoshimoto in her Biodiversity exhibit, as well as a student video interview with the artist.

Student-led Workshops – Try your hand at Sumi painting, woodblock carving with potatoes, jewelry making, origami, and silent circle painting, in which students use non-verbal communication to create art with each other.

Student Art Show – View a collection of CI student art, selected by Museum Director and Curator Suzanne Bellah, on display in the museum’s Studio Gallery.

Gourmet Food Trucks – Dine at one of more than 12 gourmet food trucks in Plaza Park next to the museum, in conjunction with Oxnard Downtown Management District's First Thursdays.

Raffle – Enter a raffle to win prizes including faculty and student art, College Night T-shirts, Getty Center parking passes, and Carnegie student memberships.

Tours – Take a student-led tour of the Carnegie museum, offered every half hour. 

College Night Remarks – Learn more about the event, class and partnership from CI President Richard Rush, Carnegie Art Museum Director Suzanne Bellah, and several students speakers from the Museum class, beginning at 6:45 p.m.

The CI Museum Class is a unique CI interdisciplinary course that exposes students to a wide range of disciplines and professional experiences by allowing them to work with a cultural institution community partner on a common goal.  CI also offers signature courses, such as The Zoo, The Symphony, The Library and The University, which provide similarly rewarding insights, experience and community/University partnerships.

“The Museum is an exceedingly popular course because it offers students the opportunity to get valuable professional experience while performing a vital and meaningful function for a community institution,” said Dax Jacobson, Assistant Professor of Business and co-leader of the class.  “With partners like the Carnegie Art Museum and projects like College Night, students feel uniquely accountable for ensuring the project’s success.  This makes them active partners in their own education in a way that lectures, papers, exams and presentations can’t duplicate.”

Admission to College Night at the Carnegie is free for enrolled college students, their guests and museum members.  For others, a $2-3 donation is suggested.  The Carnegie Art Museum is located in Oxnard at 424 South C Street.  Contact Irina D. Costache at 805-437-8993 or, or Dax Jacobson at 805-437-1641 or for more information.

# # #

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.