Tacoma Art Museum Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Art Museum

he Tacoma Art Museum has a rich history that spans over eight decades. The museum was founded in 1935 by a group of volunteers known as the Tacoma Art Association. Over the years, the museum has undergone five expansions, transforming it into a national exemplar of regional, mid-sized museums.

TAM’s exhibitions have been diverse and remarkable, featuring art and artists from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The museum’s collection spans from medieval illuminated manuscripts to avant-garde Soviet Union art, and prints, paintings, and ceramics by Pablo Picasso. TAM’s mission has always been to bring art to the community and to make art accessible to everyone.

In May 2003, TAM moved to its present location from a former bank building constructed in 1920. The new location was designed by Antoine Predock and allowed the museum to showcase more of its permanent collection. The new building is double the size of its predecessor and draws inspiration from the area’s light, water, and industrial history. The design reflects the changing nature of Tacoma and its people, with a nod to the city’s maritime and industrial heritage.

In November 2014, TAM opened the Haub Family Galleries, with the donation of the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art. The addition doubled the museum’s exhibition space, designed by Olson Kundig Architects, referencing the area’s railroad boxcars and Native American long houses. The wing regularly exhibits works from the Haub Family Collection, including iconic American artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Moran, among others. This new wing has become a major draw for visitors and has contributed significantly to the museum’s reputation.

Another significant gift to the museum was the Rebecca and Jack Benaroya Collection, donated in 2016. The collection features Northwestern and international studio art glass, paintings, and sculptures by regional artists. It includes a 7,390 square-foot gallery addition, designed by award-winning architect Tom Kundig, which opened in January 2019. The new addition houses the Benaroya Collection and provides additional space for the museum’s rotating exhibitions. The gallery’s design is in harmony with the rest of the museum, with a modern yet timeless aesthetic.

With these gifts and expansions, it is an exciting time to be part of the Tacoma Art Museum family. The museum has become a beacon of the region’s art scene, drawing visitors from all over the world. The TAM team continues to expand its collection and exhibits, always looking for new ways to engage with the community and promote art education. The museum is committed to fostering a love of art and creativity in all who visit, and it is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the arts.

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