Tacoma Art Museum

Coordinates: 47°14′51″N 122°26′12″W / 47.2475°N 122.4368°W / 47.2475; -122.4368
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Tacoma Art Museum
Location1701 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington
Coordinates47°14′51″N 122°26′12″W / 47.2475°N 122.4368°W / 47.2475; -122.4368
TypeArt museum[1]
DirectorAndy Maus[2]
CuratorJessica Wilks
ArchitectAntoine Predock
Public transit accessUnion Station/South 19th Street station

The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is an art museum in Tacoma, Washington, United States. It focuses primarily on the art and artists from the Pacific Northwest and broader western region of the U.S. Founded in 1935, the museum has strong roots in the community and anchors the university and museum district in downtown Tacoma.[3][4]


The Tacoma Art Museum developed out of the Tacoma Art League, an informal gathering that began around 1891. In the 1930s, it was renamed the Tacoma Art Society, before finally becoming the Tacoma Art Museum in 1964.[4] The museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the visual arts of the American Northwest, with the mission of bringing people together through art. The museum's permanent collection includes the premier collection of Tacoma native Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork, on permanent public display.

In 1971, the L. T. Murray family (owners of the Murray Pacific Northwest timber company) gave the Tacoma Art Museum a three-story building at 12th Street and Pacific Avenue. Built in 1922, the building at 1123 Pacific Avenue previously housed the National Bank of Tacoma.

In May 2003, the Tacoma Art Museum moved into a 50,000 square foot (4,650 m2) building located at 1701 Pacific Avenue, which was designed by Antoine Predock.[4] The $22 million steel and glass structure nearly doubled the available space, allowing the museum to exhibit more of its permanent collection. In designing the building, Predock drew inspiration from the region's light and its relationship to the water, Mount Rainier, the Thea Foss Waterway, and the neighborhood's industrial history and character in what is now known as the Tacoma Museum District.

A $15.5 million building project expansion designed by Olson Kundig Architects was completed in November 2014.[5] The expansion, which houses the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art, added approximately 16,000 square feet (1500 m2) to the museum.[6][7]

From 2005 to 2017, Stephanie Stebich served as Executive Director. She was preceded by Janeanne Upp and succeeded by David F. Setford.[citation needed]

Curatorial information[edit]

The museum's exterior in 2023

The museum exhibits more than 3,000 pieces in its collection, two-thirds of which are classified as Northwest art. Since 1934, Tacoma Art Museum has built a permanent collection that includes work from artists such as Mary Cassatt, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Edgar Degas, Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, Robert Rauschenberg, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jacob Lawrence, John Singer Sargent, and Andrew Wyeth.[4]

Front entrance in 2023

Nearly seventy percent of the collection consists of works from Northwest artists such as Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, Jacob Lawrence, Jared Pappas-Kelley, Akio Takamori, Mark Tobey, and Patti Warashina.[8][9][10] Untitled - Stone Wave, a major work by Seattle-based sculptor Richard Rhodes, occupies the central court of the museum.

The museum is known as being more open to overtly gay or queer art than most American museums. In 2012, it presented the Hide/Seek show that was censored at the National Portrait Gallery; TAM intended to present the show uncensored. The museum also planned to follow with another show curated by Jonathan Katz: Art, AIDS, America.[11]


Permanent Collections[edit]

  • The Christopher and Alida Latham Display [12]
  • Dale Chihuly at Tacoma Art Museum [13]
  • Metaphor into Form: Art in the Era of the Pilchuck Glass School [14]
  • Martin Blank's Current [15]
  • Richard Rhodes' Untitled [16]
  • Outdoor Sculptures at TAM [17]

Current exhibitions[edit]

  • Animals: Wild and Captured in Bronze [18]
  • On Native Land: Landscapes from the Haub Family Collection [19]
  • Native Portraiture: Power and Perception [20]
  • Places to Call Home: Settlements in the West [21]
  • Winter in the West [22]
  • Painting Deconstructed: Selections from the Northwest Collection [23]
  • Benaroya Project Space: Glass as Canvas [24]


  1. ^ a b Tacoma Art Museum: About, Tacoma Art Museum, retrieved 2017-06-23
  2. ^ New Executive Director Named at Tacoma Art Museum
  3. ^ Suzanne Loebl (January 2002). America's Art Museums: A Traveler's Guide to Great Collections Large and Small. Norton. pp. 411–. ISBN 978-0-393-32006-0.
  4. ^ McKnight, Jenna (2015-07-15). "Olson Kundig adds new wing to Tacoma Art Museum". Dezeen. Retrieved 2023-02-17.
  5. ^ Clemans, Gayle (2014-11-20). "Haub donation at Tacoma Art Museum ranges widely, like the West". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  6. ^ Fisher, Rich (2016-11-30). "'Syncretic,' a New Exhibit at 108 Contemporary, Will Display Work by the First Class of TAF Fellows". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  7. ^ Tacoma Art Museum: About, ARTINFO, 2008, archived from the original on 2008-09-07, retrieved 2008-07-30
  8. ^ "Art Museum's New Acquisitions Feature Works by Northwest Artists". Tacoma Weekly. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  9. ^ Clemans, Gayle. "Tacoma Art Museum's 'Northwest' exhibit asks the viewer to take some time". Seattle Times. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  10. ^ Jen Graves, "This Gay Art Show: A Revolution at Tacoma Art Museum", The Stranger, 3 August 2011, p. 26.
  11. ^ "The Christopher and Alida Latham Display". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  12. ^ "Dale Chihuly Collection at TAM". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  13. ^ "Metaphor into Form: Art in the Era of the Pilchuck Glass School". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  14. ^ "Martin Blank's "Current"". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  15. ^ "Richard Rhodes' Untitled". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  16. ^ "Outdoor Sculptures at TAM". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  17. ^ "Animals: Wild and Captured in Bronze". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  18. ^ "On Native Land: Landscapes from the Haub Family Collection". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  19. ^ "Native Portraiture: Power and Perception". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  20. ^ "Places to Call Home: Settlements in the West". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  21. ^ "Winter in the West". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  22. ^ "Painting Deconstructed". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  23. ^ "Project Space". Tacoma Art Museum. Retrieved 2021-12-09.

External links[edit]

47°14′51″N 122°26′12″W / 47.2475°N 122.4368°W / 47.2475; -122.4368