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Celebrate Springfield Art Museum’s 90th Birthday

This year, Springfield’s oldest cultural institution, the Springfield Art Museum, celebrates a big anniversary.

By Courtney Caldwell

Mar 2018

Springfield Art Museum Visitors
Photo by Aaron J ScottExhibitions change frequently and admission is free, so it’s always a good time to spend an afternoon with the art in the galleries.

The Springfield Art Museum celebrates 90 years with special exhibits, including “Decades,” featuring 10 works from each decade that showcase what the museum was collecting over the past 90 years. The exhibition gives the community a look into how the trends of artwork have evolved for almost 100 years. The opening reception for the “Decades” exhibition also serves as the museum’s 90th birthday bash, so you don’t want to miss out! 

Throughout this yearlong festival, many new exhibitions are making an appearance—in addition to the 10,000 works of art that are already in the museum’s permanent collection.

All-School Exhibition at the Springfield Art Museum
Photos by Aaron J Scott, collection of the Springfield Art Museum. Dale Chihuly, Autumn Persian and Feather Chandelier, 2007, Glass. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum © Chihuly StudioThe All-School Exhibition supports art education in community schools by displaying work by students in all grades.
Springfield Art Museum 99x
Photos by Aaron J Scott, collection of the Springfield Art Museum. Dale Chihuly, Autumn Persian and Feather Chandelier, 2007, Glass. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum © Chihuly StudioThe Museum's signature fundraising event, 99x, showcased a Gilded Coast Glamour theme in 2017.
Springfield Art Museum founder
Photos by Aaron J Scott, collection of the Springfield Art Museum. Dale Chihuly, Autumn Persian and Feather Chandelier, 2007, Glass. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum © Chihuly StudioFounder, Deborah Weisel (front row, middle), with her Art Study Club. The Art Study Club was incorporated as the Springfield Art Museum in 1928. They deeded the museum to the City of Springfield in 1946.
Springfield Art Museum Chihuly chandelier
Photos by Aaron J Scott, collection of the Springfield Art Museum. Dale Chihuly, Autumn Persian and Feather Chandelier, 2007, Glass. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum © Chihuly StudioThe museum received a Chihuly chandelier last October.

Starting this March, they have the All-School Exhibition, in which students from all over the community in grades kindergarten through 12th grade get to show their artistic talents to the Springfield community. All Youth Month is a celebration that has been a fundamental part of the museum’s exhibition schedule for more than 40 years.

In April, be sure to catch “Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O’Neill.” Rose O’Neill rose to fame with her creations of the Kewpies characters in the early 1900s. This exhibition displays O’Neill’s illustrations, rarely seen paintings, drawings and much more.

From June through August, the 57th annual Watercolor USA appears in the museum, allowing artists from all 50 states to compete for cash prizes and for the chance for the museum to purchase some of the original works. This exhibition was created by the Springfield Art Museum in 1962 to attract the best contemporary American watercolor artists, and more than 50 years later, it’s still drawing talent from across the nation.


Through the Years

1928

Springfield Art Museum is formed

1980

Sun Target II by John Henry is installed on the museum’s east grounds

1994

Additions are made to the original building

2012

Nick Nelson becomes the museum’s Art Director

2016

Andy Warhol prints are stolen

2018

Master plan goes into final concepts



Art in Bloom is also coming to the art museum this year. This signature event celebrates fine arts and floral displays in the form of a three-day festival. Art in Bloom lets creativity blossom as floral designers from throughout the region use flowers to artistically interpret works of art on view in the museum’s galleries.

This year the Museum is also hosting its fourth annual 99 X Party that helps the museum fund its programs and mission in a fun and casual environment. Each year, the event celebrates works of different local artists, helping attendees remember the importance of art.

To commemorate the 90 years that the museum has serviced our community, the art museum is implementing a master planning process to envision what the building and grounds will look like for the next 90 years. But worry not. The plan will keep the institution’s artistic background in mind—the Kansas City, Missouri firm carrying out the plan also worked on the block addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in downtown Kansas City.

Springfield Art Museum Exterior

Hot Art

When you visit the Springfield Art museum, make sure you take time to see some of the museum’s most popular pieces.


1. Sun Target II by John Henry

2. tilted sky by Anne Lindberg

3. Untitled by Jackson Pollock

4. Portrait of Fanny Smith Crenshaw by George Caleb Bingham

5. T’ang Burial Horse by anonymous artist

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