The mission of the Boise Art Museum is
to create visual arts experiences, engage people,
and inspire learning through exceptional exhibitions, collections, and educational opportunities.
The Boise Art Museum is nationally recognized for leadership, innovation and excellence in the visual arts.
Boise Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational and charitable organization. The mission of the Museum is to create visual arts experiences, engage people, and inspire learning through exceptional exhibitions, collections, and educational opportunities.
In 1931, a group of thirty citizens interested in promoting art in the city of Boise and throughout Idaho met in the Crystal Lounge of the Hotel Boise and became known as the Boise Art Association. The purpose of the association was to organize, acquire, and maintain a suitable gallery in which works of art could be displayed.
Boise Art Museum (BAM) began in 1937, when the Association’s goals were realized through a partnership among the Boise Art Association, the City of Boise and the federal Works Progress Administration. What was then known as The Boise Gallery of Art was constructed in Julia Davis Park in the heart of downtown Boise. Although the gallery did not actively collect, it presented local and regional artwork and played an important role in Boise’s growing community.
In 1961, the Boise Art Association incorporated as a non-profit organization under the name Boise Gallery of Art. In the mid-sixties, the first professional staff members were hired and exhibition programming became more ambitious. The need for additional space quickly became a priority, and in 1972, construction began on a year-long expansion program. The building, which encompassed more than 10,000 square feet, re-opened to the public in 1973.
In 1986, the institution successfully completed a fundraising campaign to support a second
renovation for expansion of its galleries as well as the establishment of an Endowment Fund. Upon completion of the expansion in 1988, the organization was renamed Boise Art Museum to reflect its focus on developing its Permanent Collection and education programs as well as the display of significant traveling exhibitions. At that time, the Boise Art Museum was awarded initial national accreditation by the American Association of Museums, with subsequent re-accreditation awarded in 1996 and 2007.
In 1997, BAM embarked upon a multi-million dollar campaign, supported by the City of Boise and the community, to increase its facilities by 13,800 square feet to a total of 34,800 square feet. The Museum added a Sculpture Court, a new Education Wing with expanded studios, an ARTexperienceGallery, more space in the Museum Store, new galleries to feature the Permanent Collection, larger office space, and additional areas for art storage and conservation.
BAM is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), certifying that the Museum meets or exceeds national standards in all areas of its operations. BAM is the only collecting art museum in Idaho to hold AAM accreditation and is among 4% of museums nationwide that have earned this distinction.
BAM is embracing its 75th anniversary as an opportunity to enhance and ensure a rewarding experience for all visitors through exhibitions, collections, interpretive strategies, educational programming, a welcoming environment, and a commitment to being a vital part of the educational and cultural life of the community.