Amarillo College is a community college in Amarillo, TX with six campuses including four within the city, one in Hereford, and one in Dumas. The four within the town are the East Campus, West Campus, Amarillo College Downtown Campus, and the Washington Street Campus that houses the Amarillo Museum of Art. Every year the school enrolls over 10,000 students in its various programs including visual arts, performing arts, and music studies.
The college was chartered in 1926 and in 1967, a group of people wanted to build a complex that would feature art native to the region and to house these art programs and music studies that belonged to the college. The 32,000 square foot facility that is home to the museum today was designed by the esteemed architect Edward Durell Stone who is better known for his design of the Radio City Music Hall and various other projects.
Leaders in the community formed a small group in 1967 to discuss the possibility of constructing a community enriching art complex. These people wanted to provide the areas of the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico, and western Oklahoma with quality visual art programs to showcase the research and preservation of pieces they acquired, as well as temporary exhibitions, through educational programs.
The Board of Trustees for what was known as Amarillo Art Center at the time conjoined fundraising efforts with Amarillo College to construct the current facility that houses the Amarillo Museum of Art in 1970. The Amarillo Museum of Art was relocated to this structure in 1972 and was then opened as a division of the Fine Arts Complex for the college. Today it is located on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College.
The museum holds a permanent collection of more than 1,800 pieces of art, but initially was not a collecting entity until 1979 in which a policy change was enacted. This collection features works from the Asian and Western worlds encompassing mostly contemporary and modern art. While the permanent collection is a sight to see, the museum’s main focus is on the education of Amarillo College students as well as the temporary exhibitions that cycle through the facility.
Every year, the museum features around 15 different temporary exhibitions that encompass a broad range of topics and styles of art. With many educational opportunities, the museum is a great place to go to learn about art and the history of different pieces of art. It offers specialized events that are aimed to inspire the local community to participate, lectures, gallery talks, and so much more. The museum aims to encourage local artists through other events and grade-school students through school tours and teacher in-service programming.
Amarillo Museum of Art has been an accredited institution of the American Alliance of Museums since 1979. The museum is committed to excellence through maintaining the highest standards in hopes to contribute to cultural and intellectual resources in the Panhandle. If you are interested in visiting the museum, its hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
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