Julia Shaw Carnell
7/10/1863 - 2/12/1944
Julia Shaw Carnell promised to construct a new art museum for the city of Dayton if the community would pay for its operations. The challenge was met, and Mrs. Carnell donated nearly $2 million, a very significant gift on the eve of the Great Depression. The Dayton Art Institute’s new building was completed in 1930 reflecting the Italian Renaissance style. The structure of nearly 60,000 square feet was designed by architect Edward B. Green of Buffalo. Once it was finished the Dayton Art Institute on its prominent hilltop location became known as “Dayton’s living room,” and people of all kinds visited to admire the extensive collection, take art classes in the Art Institute school, or enjoy the gardens. Mrs. Carnell’s architectural gift to the city as well as the many art works she donated to the museum continue to be enjoyed by present generations.