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Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Art Museum 01.jpg
Established 1935
Location 1701 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Type Art museum

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.


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. 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 from this location into a new, 50,000 square foot (4,650 m²) building located at 1701 Pacific Avenue, which was designed by Antoine Predock. Nearly twice the size of its previous location, the new $22 million steel and glass structure provided 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.

Completed in November 2014, an additional $15.5 million building project has added approximately 16,000 square feet (1500 m²) to the museum; it houses the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art. This established Tacoma Art Museum as the only major museum of Western American art of its caliber in the Northwest, and also enabled the museum to fully explore the art history of the West while integrating its Western and Northwest collections.

Curatorial information

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.

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. 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.

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

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