Tacoma Art Museum
Ella E. McBride
About Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma Art Museum was founded by a group of volunteers in 1935 and has since grown to become a national model for regional, mid-sized museums. The museum is dedicated to exhibiting and collecting Northwest art, with the mission of connecting people through art. The museum's permanent collection includes the premier collection of Dale Chihuly's glass artwork on permanent public display.
Tacoma Art Museum opened its current facility on May 3, 2003, when it moved from a former bank building that was built in 1920. Nearly twice the size of its previous building, Tacoma Art Museum's new $22-million Antoine Predock-designed structure provides the space to exhibit more of the permanent collection. In designing the building, Predock drew inspiration from the region's light, its relationship to the water, the neighborhood's industrial history and character, Mount Rainier, the Thea Foss Waterway, and the surrounding structures in what is now known as the Museum District.
Mission and Vision
Tacoma Art Museum serves the diverse communities of the Northwest through its collection, exhibitions, and learning programs, emphasizing art and artists from the Northwest. Our vision is to be a national model for regional museums by creating a dynamic museum that engages, inspires, and builds community through art.
Exhibitions and Collections
Since Tacoma Art Museum began collecting in 1963, it has built a permanent collection of artwork by international, national, and regional artists. The museum's rich collection contains more than 3,400 works, with an emphasis on art by Northwest artists, one of the finest collections of Japanese woodblock prints on the West Coast, and the largest, most comprehensive public collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly. The collection also includes key holdings in nineteenth-century European and twentieth-century American art. Learn more about the permanent collection.
Tacoma Art Museum presents works of art to achieve a dynamic balance of exhibitions from historic to contemporary periods. Annually, Tacoma Art Museum presents ten to fifteen imaginatively paired exhibitions, always placing Northwest artists alongside a continuum of historically important artists.
Over the past several years, Tacoma Art Museum has seen a notable surge in catalogue publications, nationally traveling exhibitions, and national and international loans of art. The museum has published ten catalogues in conjunction with museum-curated exhibitions since 2003, including the Northwest Biennial-a rare open submission opportunity offering a strong critical analysis of the region's contemporary art production.