In 1967, a small group of community leaders formulated the idea of creating a regional art facility. They had a great vision for the Amarillo Art Center, as it was then named, to “provide quality visual arts programming to the residents of the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico, and western Oklahoma through collections, temporary exhibitions representing a variety of media and periods, educational programming, preservation, and research.” By 1970, the Amarillo Art Center Board of Trustees joined with Amarillo College, a two-year community college chartered in 1926, to raise funds to construct a complex for the visual arts, performing arts, and music studies. In 1972, the Center moved into its new home, which was designed by renowned architect Edward Durrell Stone as part of the Fine Arts Complex on the Washington Street campus. In 1994, the Center was renamed the Amarillo Museum of Art (AMoA).
Initially the Museum was a non-collecting arts institution. In 1979, a policy change led to establishing a permanent collection, which now totals more than 1800 works. The collection includes both Asian and Western art, primarily modern and contemporary American art.
The Museum’s primary focuses are temporary exhibitions and education. Each year the Museum presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions representing original works in all media, periods, and styles, ranging from cutting edge to traditional. Educational programming includes lectures, gallery talks, art classes through our Museum School, events such as artafterdark, 5 in 5, and 22HUNDRED which encourage community engagement, outreach to schools throughout the Texas Panhandle, school tours at the museum, teacher in-service programming, outreach to senior facilities, digital programming, collaborations with local cultural organizations and colleges, and Family Days to name a few. The Museum also makes a conscious effort to recognize and encourage local and regional artists through a variety of events.
Having been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1979, the Museum makes a significant contribution to intellectual and cultural resources in the Panhandle by committing to excellence in maintaining museum standards and best practices. Public attendance for 2018 was approximately 35,000 and AMoA outreach touched the lives of over 7000 students with the assistance of our strong core of volunteers and supporters.