Fresno Art Museum

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Category: Museums

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The Fresno Art Museum offers a dynamic experience for appreciating art. The museum welcomes, inspires, and educates a diverse regional audience through significant exhibitions, thought-provoking programs, and meaningful interactions with artists and the creative process.


In the late 1940s, a group of local artists formed the Fresno Art League to provide a facility to exhibit and critique each other’s work and to share their enthusiasm for art. The League gathered support for their organization from the community, and in 1949, the Fresno Arts Center was incorporated. In 1960, after years of planning, the Fresno Arts Center building in Radio Park at First Street and Clinton Avenue was dedicated.
The Fresno Arts Center became an active venue for art exhibitions and educational programs including artist talks, workshops, and art classes for children and adults. A mission statement, goals, and objectives were developed. In 1973 the Arts Center was granted accreditation by the American Association of Museums (now, American Alliance of Museums) after an extensive study of the organization, finances, staff expertise, programs, care and storage of the permanent collection, and physical facilities.
In 1985 the Board of Trustees changed the Center’s name to the Fresno Arts Center and Museum. The name was changed again to the Fresno Art Museum in 1988, following a suggestion from the American Association of Museums that was made during the re-accreditation process. Over the ensuing years, the Museum has continued to maintain its accreditation, most recently being reaccredited in 2016.
The Fresno Art Museum’s permanent collection preserves and protects over 3,600 works. The main focus of the permanent collection and exhibitions is on modern and contemporary artworks (painting, sculpture, prints, photographs, and other media) from the 20th and 21st centuries, Pre-Columbian works from Mesoamerica and the Andes, and modern and folk art of Mexican origin. The permanent collection includes works by Ansel Adams, Ruth Asawa, Salvador Dali, Maynard Dixon, Patty Handley, August Madrigal, Robin Gay McCline, Robert Ogata, Pablo Picasso, Rolland Pickford, Clement Renzi, Diego Rivera, Norman Rockwell, Varaz Samuelian, Anne Schied, Andy Warhol, and Nancy Youdelman, among others.
The Museum has also hosted exhibitions that have included a wide range of visual arts media from local as well as nationally and internationally known artists that has included painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, fine crafts (fiber arts, ceramics, jewelry, glass), to cultural artifacts, all borrowed from private, corporate, and other museum collections. Since 1988, the Museum has annually honored an internationally recognized women artist with a Distinguished Woman Artist Award and exhibition through its Council of 100.
While the Museum is best known for showing modern and contemporary art, exhibitions that reflect the visual arts traditions of the ethnic groups that contribute to the rich diversity of the San Joaquin Valley have also been part of the exhibition schedule from the early years. Cultural and issue-related exhibitions in a variety of media have been given prominence in recent years, as have solo exhibitions for local artists of merit, curated in-house by Museum staff.
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