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Phoenix Art Museum

1625 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ

Phone: (602) 257-1222 (24h info)
(602) 257-1880

Statement of Purpose

Phoenix Art Museum opened in 1959.  This private not-for-profit organization evolved from its predecessors, the Phoenix Art Center and the Phoenix Fine Arts Association. In 1965, the Museum building expanded to 75,000 square feet.   In 1996, Phoenix Art Museum celebrated the conclusion of a major renovation and expansion to over 160,000 square feet, making it one of the largest general visual arts institutions in the Southwest.  It will undergo another expansion beginning in late 2004.  Phoenix Art Museum is alive with activity and offers something for everyone in the family.  It hosts well over 200,000 visitors each year and reaches an additional 40,000 through its outreach programs.


The expansion of Phoenix Art Museum was designed by Tod Williams/Billie Tsien & Associates of New York in association with Phoenix firm Lescher & Mahoney/DLR.

The classically progressive design of the Museum integrates art and architecture with the Southwestern landscape, accommodating larger traveling exhibitions, an expanding collection and growing arts audience.

A variety of unique architectural details, including sculptural and painting niches, use of natural light and natural fibers, gives the Museum "a magical quality and liveliness," according to architect Tod Williams. 

Throughout the Museum are openings in walls and windows in unusual shapes and places that provide spatial and visual orientation cues to the visitor. No one gets lost in the Phoenix Art Museum! The exterior celadon green panels are made of an aggregate of green glacier quartz from Utah mixed with white sand and mica from Georgia, which makes the walls sparkle in the sun. 

The Great Hall is home to large contemporary painting and sculpture, and can accommodate a group of 400 for special events.  Whiteman Hall features 294 sight-line perfect seats and is put to good use for audiovisual presentations, lectures, film festivals and meetings. 

The Museum will undergo another $33.2 million expansion beginning in late 2004 that will add: a dramatic new entrance, entry plaza and dedicated arrival drive; a spectacular, indoor/outdoor main lobby with canopy and convenient drop-off; a new 25,000-square-foot, four-level gallery wing to house a growing collection and large changing exhibitions.  The project is again being designed by architects Tod Williams/Billie Tsien & Associates.  It is anticipated that the construction will be completed in early 2006.

Highlights & Collections

Phoenix Art Museum's collection includes over 17,000 works spanning the centuries and emphasizes American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary, and Western American art, and fashion design.  The Thorne Miniature Rooms and the interactive "child-friendly, please touch!" ArtWorks gallery are not to be missed.  Visitors can learn about the collection through video presentation and interpretation in the Museum's Orientation Theater and through the random-access CD audioguide, in both English and Spanish.  The Museum also presents a complete slate of public programs, gallery talks, lectures, performances, and monthly family programs.  Visitors can complete their museum experience in The Museum Store or in the Art Museum Cafe.  Additionally, many of the Museum's spaces can be rented for special parties, events, meetings, and weddings. 

For more information about Phoenix Art Museum's collection and amenities, visit its Web site at .


A non-circulating reference facility, Phoenix Art Museum's Art Research Library houses more than 40,000 books, monographs, and exhibition catalogs, as well as periodicals, auction catalogs, extensive artist files and the Archives of Arizona Art.  The library's catalog can be searched online at .  For public hours, call (602) 257-1880.

General Museum Hours:

Museum Holiday Hours:

General Admission:

Special policies and fees may apply to ticketed and special admission exhibitions  

Voluntary donation on First Friday evenings, 6-10pm  
Voluntary donation on Wednesday evenings, 3-9pm.
Free Wednesdays are brought to you by SRP 


Phoenix Art Museum is located at 1625 N. Central Avenue (the northeast corner of Central Avenue and McDowell Road) in Phoenix.


Weaving a tradition.

Ray Swanson. 1994 watercolor.

Sweeping Clouds.

Ed Mell. 1989. Museum purchase.

Baigneuse aux bras leves.

Pablo Picasso. 1929.

Docent conducted tour.

Key Personnel:

James K. Ballinger, Director & Curator of American Art

* Sherwood Spivey, Deputy Director of Administration
* Robert Chamberlain, Deputy Director of External Affairs
* Cathy Arnold, Public Information Officer/Public Relations Director
* Dr. Janet Baker, Curator of Asian Art
* Dr. Tom Loughman, Curator of European Art
* Dennita Sewell, Curator of Fashion Design
* Brady Roberts, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art James K. Ballinger, Director & Chief Curator

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