MISSION | VISION | HISTORY
The mission of the Boise Art Museum is to create visual arts experiences that engage people and inspire learning through exceptional exhibitions, collections, and educational opportunities.
To be a vital partner in the educational, creative, and cultural life of our communities as an innovative leader in local, regional, and national visual arts.
- in the value of the visual arts as integral to a holistic education;
- art connects to every subject, discipline, and stage of life;
- in the importance of direct engagement with viewing and making original works of art to better understand the role of the artist and the creative process;
- in the power of visual arts to transform the lives of individuals and the community;
- the visual arts can build tolerance, compassion, and understanding among people and a strong, diverse community;
- art is an essential component of human existence and a form of communication to which everyone should have access;
- visual arts can bring people together for a respectful dialogue about topics and issues of importance in our lives;
- visual arts must be valued, preserved, shared, and experienced to ensure their continual existence for future generations; and
- the world is better with visual arts.
Boise Art Museum strives to be a welcoming place for all, where connecting through art can lead to personal exploration and greater understanding of the human condition. We know that no community is free of systemic racism, and we are acutely aware that art museums are part of longstanding systems that have been shaped by structures of racism and inequity. Boise Art Museum supports racial equity in our nation. Our values and beliefs are more important than ever, and they continue to be central to our mission. We stand united with the voices in our communities who are calling for justice, challenging systems of mass oppression, and working to enact change in our country.
We support justice for the black community in America and grieve those who have lost their lives: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and endless others. Black Lives Matter, now and forever. This violence and grief strikes a chord that again calls us to the work we must always do to recognize and actively fight against societal structures that perpetuate ignorance and hate.
There is an urgent need for Americans to confront our society’s systemic racism. To be lasting, change must happen at every level of society, and in every sphere, including the arts. As a non-profit, educational organization, we acknowledge and embrace our responsibility to listen, learn, and reflect on ways we can further foster an inclusive culture for our visitors, volunteers, members, donors, trustees, employees and the many artists, educators, cultural practitioners, partners, and others we work with to create a vibrant and diverse arts community.
Artists have long been leaders in surfacing and responding to injustice. As an art museum, we are committed to giving voice to individual and collective creative expression, past and present, that helps inform our understanding of the world. It is consistent with our mission to be a place where everyone can engage with inclusive values and complex dialogue about ideas and issues of importance to our shared humanity.
We are dedicated to doing our part in overcoming the historical legacy of racism in the U.S. We all have a role in making this a reality. This important work is ongoing – we understand that it does not happen overnight, and it does not end today. We know we can always do better. We will continue to:
- welcome and engage in challenging conversations;
- champion, empower, and amplify diverse artistic voices;
- be intentional in our work to interrogate all of our systems to uncover and address structural biases;
- work in partnership to diversify our visitor base and community advisory groups;
- participate in local, regional and national professional discourse to dismantle systemic racism in the arts;
- listen, self-educate, and find ways to be actively anti-racist, beyond the current news cycle; and
- learn alongside our national art museum colleagues as we do the enduring work in our field of institutionalizing the practice of equity and inclusion.
Our belief in the essential role of art in society remains unwavering. Throughout history, art has been a vehicle for education, revolution, politics, propaganda, emotions, and subversion, as well as for creating transformative experiences and affecting positive change. Art is a powerful way of sharing diverse perspectives and encouraging compassion, empathy, and understanding. BAM’s current and upcoming projects reflect faithful attention to our community and diversity in art. We encourage everyone to participate as we imagine and create a better world together.
|1931||Boise Art Association formed|
|1932||The Boise Art Association, Inc. (now Boise Art Museum, Inc.) became a non-profit corporation.
BAM operated in the Carnegie Public Library building while fundraising to build the new building in Julia Davis Park.
|1937||BAM raised the funds and built the Boise Gallery of Art – 3,900 sq. ft.
(now Boise Art Museum) in Julia Davis Park – labor provided by the Works Progress Administration, land provided by the City of Boise Department of Parks and Recreation.
|1972||BAM raised the funds and expanded the building to 13,600 sq. ft.|
|1987||BAM raised the funds and expanded the building to 21,000 sq. ft.
Boise Art Museum, Inc. changed its name from Boise Gallery of Art to Boise Art Museum and won national museum accreditation.
|1997||BAM raised the funds and expanded the building to 34,800 sq. ft.
BAM’s initial investment of the funds to build the original building, along with the additional multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns to improve the building, have contributed more than $9,190,000 in current value to the building.
Boise Art Museum extends our gratitude and acknowledges that we gather on the homelands of the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Shoshone-Paiute and Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, who have lived in the Treasure Valley region for thousands of years. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Indigenous neighbors and our shared responsibilities to the land and people who live here today.
Selected Exhibitions Timeline
Chiura Obata, Japanese Artist
Asian Textiles furnished by Leo Powell
Puget Sound Artists
The American Show
Seattle Fuller Collection
California Watercolor Society
Interpretive Stencils from American Federation of Art
Disney’s Snow White Celluloid Cuts
One Hundred Years of Photography
Oils in Mexican mural style, Alfredo Ramos Martinez
Diego Rivera Original Paintings
India crafts, carvings, and paintings
Chinese American Art
Latin American Art
Japanese Clothing and Fabrics
New Mexico Native American Art
Contemporary Native American Paintings
Operation Palette: Navy Combat Artists
Artists of the Western Frontier
What is Modern Architecture?
Idaho Native American Arts
Siamese Stone Rubbings
Frederic Remington and Charles Russell
Art of the Navajo Weaver
Ceramic art by John S. Takehara and his students
New Geometric Art Group of Japan
Goya’s Quinta Del Sordo
Indonesian Batik Collection of John M. Maurice and From University of Washington Textile Collection and Contemporary Batik by Invited Northwest Craftsmen
Realism and Surrealism in American Art
Foo Hsing Chinese Culture Association
The Chinese Painting of Lim Tsing Ai
Three from Montana
Rembrandt Van Rijn
Japanese Netsuke from the Gallery Collection
Japanese Netsuke and Chinese Ceramics from the Gallery Collection
Chicano Art: 17 Mexican American Artists
Asian Textiles from Regional Collections
The Ceramic Collection of John Takehara
Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle
David Airhart: Revealing Portraits
Deborah Butterfield’s Horses
John Takehara: The Boise Years
Japanese Prints from the Arthur Wesley Dow Collection
Southwest Native American Art from Sun Valley Collections
Contemporary Glass: A Decade Apart
The Glenn C. Janss Collection
William T. Wiley
Western Reflections: The Art of Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange
Decorative Arts of China
Thomas Hart Benton
Folk Treasures of Mexico
Moral Imperatives: The Art of Social Protest
Paintings on Tin: Retablos and Ex-Votos
Lone Start Art
John Takehara Collection
Imperial Russian Porcelain
Holocaust Diary: Watercolors of Terezin Ghetto Life by Eli Leskly
Orthodox Treasures of Siberia and North America
Greek and Roman Art
Ceremony of Spirit: Nature and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art
Birds, Beasts, Blossoms, and Bugs in East Asian Art
Basque Heartland: Photographs by Anne Rearick
James Castle: A Voice of Silence
Watercolors and Pastels from the National Museum of American Art
The Art of John Fery
Sense of Wonder: African Art from the Faletti Family Collection
Kerry James Marshall: Mementos
NW Perspectives: After Lewis and Clark: Explorer Artists and the American West
Paintings from the Hudson River School
NW Perspectives: An American Diary: Paintings by Roger Shimomura
Women’s Traditional Arts in Idaho
First Nations: Native American Conference C. Maxx Stevens
Strange Fruit: New Work by Hung Liu
Beauty in All Things: Imperial and Folk Art of China and Japan
In the Fullness of Time: Masterworks of Egyptian Art from American Collections
Legacies of Cairo: Her Monuments and Her People
Thin Skin: The Fickle Nature of Bubbles, Spheres and Inflatable Objects
Keys to the Koop: Humor and Satire in Contemporary Printmaking
The Clyde R. and Helen M. Bacon Collection of Asian Art
Native Perspectives on the Trail: A Contemporary American Indian Art Portfolio
Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Permanent Collection
Frank Lloyd Wright
Marie Watt: Blanket Stories: Almanac
Las Artes de Mexico
Faith Ringgold: Mama Can Sing Papa Can Blow
Lead Pencil Studio
An-My Lê: Small Wars
Gee’s Bend Quilts
Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection
John James Audubon
Critical Messages: Contemporary Northwest Artists on the Environment
The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell Stories
Eastern Traditions — Western Expressions
Nick Cave: Meet Me At The Center Of The Earth
Billie Grace Lynn: White Elephants
Wilfred Davis Fletcher Collection
Origins: Objects of Material Culture
Kahn & Selesnick: Mars Revisited
Kehinde Wiley: The World Stage: Israel
Emancipating the Past: Kara Walker’s Tales of Slavery and Power
Arp, Miró, Calder
Liu Bolin: Hiding in the City
Paul Vexler: Ribbons
Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami
Adonna Khare: The Kingdom
Minidoka: Artist as Witness
Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain
A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass
Jae Yong Kim: Donut Ever Forget Me
Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25
Ceramics and Textiles from the Southwest
Sarah Sense: Cowgirls and Indians
Margaret Jacobs: Steel Medicine
BAM embraces its long and rich history as an opportunity to enhance and ensure rewarding experiences for all visitors, through exceptional exhibitions, collections, interpretive strategies, educational programming, a welcoming environment, along with a commitment to being a vital part of the educational, economic and cultural life of the community.