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To provide the people of Elmhurst and surrounding communities with a center for the visual arts. To be known for our welcoming atmosphere where art can be viewed, studied, created, and appreciated in an architecturally significant facility. To enrich the lives of our visitors by broadening their knowledge, increasing sensitivity to the fine arts, and by sparking the development of their own creative talents.
The Elmhurst Fine Arts and Civic Center Foundation was formed in 1974 with the goal of building a community visual arts center. The Foundation formed the Elmhurst Art Museum in 1980. By 1983, the Museum was granted the use of two rooms in the Elmhurst Community Center and for the next sixteen years exhibited exclusively Illinois artists. The years that followed saw the Elmhurst Art Museum build a reputation as an advocate for the community and its visual creative spark. In 1990, the Museum became aware of an opportunity to purchase the McCormick House, one of only three homes in the United States designed and built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The house was purchased in 1991 and the firm of DeStefano + Partners was retained to design the museum facility around the house that would pay tribute to Mies. The current site, opened in September of 1997, has won the Chicago AIA Regional Architecture Award and was nominated for a National Distinguished Building Award for Architectural Excellence. This nationally recognized building houses important community advocacy in its programs and exhibitions, working closely with residents of DuPage County, the state of Illinois, and throughout the Midwest.
Since dedicating the building in 1997, the Elmhurst Art Museum has presented exhibitions of art, providing wide exposure to Illinois artists. Each exhibition calendar year, the museum presents a balance of deserving regional artists and important national shows, such as the two recent exhibitions from the Smithsonian appearing here in their only Midwest venue.
Named the "Best Suburban Art Museum in Chicago" by Chicago Magazine, the museum continues to grow and expand on a path to success.