The Corona Art Association, which was founded in 1963, is a non-profit organization with a history of community involvement. Our membership includes many recognized artists in the Southern California area whose work spans a variety of styles and media. We promote art in the community and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about the visual arts, enhance creative skills through classes and demonstrations, and by participating in art shows and various community events.
The two people credited with establishing and founding the Corona Art Association are Maxine Piester and Dominick Frascella. There are other individuals who were instrumental in getting the group to this stage including several people who worked with Corona artists as a part of the Riverside Art Association. It began as a small guild and it wasn’t until there were 17 people and the energized pair of Maxine and Dominick that the Corona artists actually formed a separate independent group in 1963.
Dominick was a local restaurant owner, a business man and an outgoing, sociable individual. He was funny, kind, talented, opinionated, faithful and patriotic. Simply put, he was one of a kind! He was born in Brooklyn, NY, on February 1, 1912 and was the eldest of six children whom he said never fought. He worked as a buyer for the National Silver Service Company and served as an Army Master Sergeant on a medical ship during World War II. In 1949 he moved to Corona and along with his best friend, Robert Burrell, opened the Live Oak Inn Restaurant which they ran for 30 years.
Over the years Dominick set up meeting sites (including using his own restaurant) and places for the CAA to exhibit art. He painted and exhibited in the association shows and events and was involved in many facets of the organization. He continued to be active in the group until his health declined and he passed away on February 12, 2004.
His partner in the founding process was Maxine Piester who was an art teacher and accomplished artist. Maxine moved to Corona in 1945. She discovered her artistic talent after painting a nativity scene for her church. Soon after, she developed her artistic skills at the Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut. Maxine was an active participant and supporter of the association for many years. She and her husband, Eugene Piester, became life members. She held every office and committee position possible throughout her years in the association and went out of her way to keep the arts alive and vibrant in the community. Maxine passed away in 2003, followed by Eugene in 2020.
The two artists, together in partnership with the 17 other original members, had a vision about the visual arts in Corona and they always kept that vision alive. They got involved with the local community and they exhibited their art work all over the area. Maxine even went to Sacramento along with several of the other member artists to make sure that our state political leaders were aware that artists were alive and well, working in Corona.
Over time the group has had its share of ups and downs. Luckily, there have always been a few people who come and go in the organization who help to energize and revitalize the original vision. Although Dominick and Maxine are no longer physically with us, the energy and spirit of their example continues to motivate our artists to continue and advance the work started back in the 1960’s.
From the 1960’s to today a lot has changed in the arts and in society. Still it is important to continue the basic mission which is to support the arts and the efforts of artists within the community and to provide a means to educate the association members, the communities of Corona and Norco and the general public about the visual arts. The visual arts are a positive aspect of our community and the continued growth and expansion of the arts helps everyone experience a better quality of life.
Corona Art Association founders
Maxine Piester and Dominick Frascella (2001)