The Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, educates and serves a diverse community, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The KMA’s predecessor, the Dulin Gallery of Art, opened in 1961. By the middle 1980s the gallery had outgrown its quarters in the 1915 Dulin House, a landmark design of John Russell Pope, which also lacked adequate parking and public transportation access. A major community effort raised $11 million for a state-of-the-art facility overlooking the site of the 1982 World’s Fair in downtown Knoxville. In March 1990, the Knoxville Museum of Art opened in its current 53,200 square-foot facility, designed by renowned museum architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. The exterior of the four-story steel and concrete building, named in honor of Jim Clayton, the largest single contributor to its construction, is sheathed in the pink Tennessee marble quarried near Knoxville.
Since its opening, the KMA has presented a lively and engaging schedule of exhibitions (see Past Exhibitions), and more recently has also begun to focus on the rich visual traditions its own region. The foundation of this strategic initiative is a permanent installation, Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee, which features works from the KMA collection as well as loans from individuals and institutions. Opened in 2008, the installation constitutes an important milestone in the museum’s short history and reflects a growing awareness of and pride in the area’s rich cultural history. Annual exhibitions of significant regional contemporary artists bring the story up to the present, and exhibitions of emerging artists of national and international reputation acquaint local audiences with worldwide developments in contemporary art. A growing collection of paintings, works on paper, sculpture, glass, and new media works focuses on East Tennessee artists past and present, and contemporary art from all over.
Museum tours, workshops, artist residencies, outreach programs, lectures, concerts, classroom programs, and family activities form the core of the museum's educational programming. The KMA reaches over 60,000 annually through museum visits, special events, concerts (including the long-running Alive After Five series), and other programs. In addition, thousands attend special events sponsored by other community groups held at the museum, which offers reduced or free rental to other not-for-profits.
The museum’s $1.6 million annual operating budget supports a full-time staff of 12 and part-time staff of 18 and comes from individual and corporate donors, museum memberships, rental income, local, state, and federal government grants, and annual fundraising events organized by the KMA Guild (See IRS Form 990 and the Audit Fiscal Year 2010 for detailed financial information.). More than 300 volunteers donate in excess of 15,000 volunteer hours each year. The KMA has operated in the black for more than a decade, and is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards. The KMA was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1996 and reaccredited in 2005.
In spring 2014 the museum unveils a monumental glass installation in the museum’s Great Hall by Knoxville artist Richard Jolley, a powerful affirmation of the KMA’s commitment to the art and artists of our region. Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity, the generous gift of Ann and Steve Bailey, presents the epic human story forged in glass and steel. This remarkable donation has served as a powerful catalyst to upgrade and restore the museum’s landmark facility inside and out, and grow the endowment for programming and building maintenance. A multi-million dollar capital campaign is underway to fund these much-needed improvements. The 25th Anniversary Campaign will leave the museum in optimal shape physically, financially, and programmatically and will make the KMA ready to receive the world.
Tuesday - Saturday: 10am-5pm
The museum is closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
Rent the KMA’s beautiful spaces for corporate or private functions.
Visit our Gift Shop in the Great Hall on the First Floor of the Museum.
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Our Gift Shop is located on the top floor of the museum.