Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with TAM

Like many other wonderful annual events this year, the 16th annual Tacoma Art Museum’s Día de los Muertos Festival is going virtual this year.  Regularly drawing thousands of visitors, the annual festival will recreate the event using a new online version through a website.

Visitors to the site will be given the opportunity to create art from afar, enjoy performances, and develop a virtual ofrenda (altar) exhibit from October 31 to November 15.  Altars are beloved centerpieces at the annual festival at TAM. The altars will now be assembled in the homes of participants and will be filled with offerings of food and drink to nourish the spirits on their long journey back home.  The altars often contain flowers, candles, clay figurines, sugar skeletons with the names of the deceased, and personal messages to the spirits.

Día de los Muertos is an annual celebration that spans centuries, generations, and cultures across Latin America with roots in Mexico. Celebrants believe that every year the souls of the dead can enter the human realm to reunite with loved ones, but only if they are remembered on the Day of the Dead.  Tacoma Art Museum’s annual Día de los Muertos Festival, hosted in partnership with Proyecto MoLe and Centro Latino, has grown over the past sixteen years, bringing together community organizations, schools, families, and individuals to create altars, remember loved ones, celebrate culture, and share with community.

“Safe social distancing means TAM will not be able to host thousands of visitors on November 1 as we originally planned, but our commitment to this festival has not wavered. Art is Always Open at TAM and this festival is a perfect example,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “While we will miss the lively performances, beautiful ofrendas and the tapete in the Museum lobby, this year’s multi-day event will allow for new experiences that have never been part of the celebration before. During this incredibly challenging year, we saw an even greater need for people to come together to share the love and memories of those we have lost.”

For more information about the Día de los Muertos Festival, visit   www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

“Art is Always Open” with Tacoma Art Museum!

This month, the Tacoma Art Museum is launching an art awareness campaign to share the creativity, beauty, and expression that the museum offers with the community. The campaign, called Art is Always Open, is meant to raise awareness of the programs and experiences that are offered by TAM and other South Sound arts organizations for our local communities.

“We’ve had great success in both transforming and developing new programs into the digital space. From video exhibition tours and lectures by scholars to our series of TAM at Home art making projects based on art from our permanent collection, there are a variety of options to use art for inspiring hope and stimulating creativity. These two basic human needs have become even more important during these challenging times,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “As we re-open our doors on October 9, we recognize that some people may not yet feel comfortable visiting TAM in person, therefore we will continue to explore and experiment with digital offerings. With the Art is Always Open campaign we want to raise awareness of opportunities to engage and connect through art.”

Though TAM’s doors will be open again on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting October 9, its role in the community as a place for lively discussions, community celebrations, and educational opportunities has shifted into digital spaces through at least the end of 2021. Via TAM’s website and social media, TAM at Home will continue to offer free at-home art making activities, access to TAM’s permanent collection online, and other new programs.

For more information, or to check out an online program through Art is Always Open, visit https://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/.

Experience Art Safely with the Tacoma Art Museum

Since their closing on March 13th, the Tacoma Art Museum has been working hard to create a reopening strategy. Now, we’re pleased to announce the tentative reopening of TAM on October 9, 2020. New procedures will be in place to offer an art respite and nearly contactless experience for visitors, so you can enjoy the artistry while staying safe.

“We know that it will be a different experience for visitors with these precautions in place, but the ability to enjoy the galleries and exhibitions will not be diminished,” says David Setford, TAM’s Executive Director. “These new healthy museum procedures will enable long-awaited public access to art for visitors.”

Though TAM’s doors will be open again, other opportunities and events will continue to be offered digitally through at least the end of 2021. TAM”s website will continue to offer free at-home art making activities, access to TAM’s permanent collection online, and other new programs, so be sure to check out the website for a purely at-home art experience.

In accordance with state guidelines, TAM will require the use of masks for staff and visitors ages 5 and older. Visitors will also be spaced six feet (two meters) apart and will follow a dedicated path through the Museum.

To allow for enhanced cleaning, Museum hours will change to 10 am – 5 pm Friday through Sunday. The Museum Store will be open during museum hours and will limit visitors to 5 at a time. Temporarily, TAM’s Art Studio, café, and hands-on gallery interactives will be unavailable, as will access to the lockers and coat check.

If you or your family would like to visit, here are a few tips you should know!

  •  Wear a mask to enter and visit the Museum. Masks will also be available free of charge at the welcome desk.
  • Leave coats and large bags at home if possible, as coat check and lockers will not be available.
  • Follow the predetermined one-way path through the Museum to help ensure compliance with visitor spacing and capacity limitations.
  • When needed, utilize the contactless and motion-activated hand sanitizer stations that will be available at various locations in the Museum.

For more information, and to purchase advance timed admission tickets, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

Cultural Connections: Remote Learning

You can’t visit a museum right now, but Tacoma’s Museum District’s cultural organizations are undaunted by closed doors. They’ve pivoted to offer a bevy of opportunities for cultural enjoyment, education and even community connection during the stay home-stay healthy protocol. If you’re eager to supplement social studies for kids learning at home, learn about art and artists as a family, explore the depths of the Puget Sound, find playtime ideas and even wish upon a car, it’s as easy as linking into the websites of these world-class museums.

Tacoma Art Museum
Having closed our doors in mid-March, TAM increased our mission-focused work in the digital space. TAM at Home provides hands-on art making activities for families related to pieces in TAM’s collection. Additionally, people can view 70% of TAM’s permanent collection through eMuseum. Everyone is invited to spend time looking at collections created by museum curators and create your own digital exhibition with the objects. Deep dives into individual artworks, as well as, posts of community artwork based on TAM’s collection #insipiredbytam can be found on TAM’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels.

Resources can be found at: http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/tam-at-home

Washington State History Museum
Washington State History Museum is encouraging connection and learning through creative remote engagement opportunities for all ages. Washingtonians are invited to share your COVID-19 experiences and contribute digital content for the museum’s collections, documenting this significant historic event in real time. You’re also invited to download the museum’s new free app to remotely explore exhibitions, dive into History Lessons To Go for all grade levels, and try out coordinated activity sheets that can be used hand-in-hand with the app. Interviews with historians and writers are at your fingertips with the Columbia Conversations history podcast, and readers can peruse the COLUMBIA magazine archives on the museum’s website for more fascinating articles about Northwest history. The History At Home page on the museum’s website provides downloadable history coloring pages and curriculum for multiple age groups.

The Historical Society is on the cusp of launching the Washington Stay Home Society, a series of uplifting public programs that bring us together while apart. Participants can follow along to make historic cocktails while learning the history of spirits in Washington, join in a History Lab activity at home, get crafty with a collage-as-storytelling session, and more. Stay tuned for the launch!

Resources can be found at: www.WashingtonHistory.org/HistoryAtHome

Foss Waterway Seaport
Foss Waterway Seaport is offering daily virtual programming for all ages. From preschool Super Seastar classes to up-close and personal in a whale skeleton to live Seaport Stories with local influencers.

Resources can be found at: https://fosswaterwayseaport.org/explore-virtual-education-programs/

Greentrike, home of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, is facilitating a day camp for preschool aged children of first responders, health care professionals, and frontline essential workers. Digitally, Greentrike has created online playful resources for families with young children. This includes video storytimes, sing-alongs, and circletimes that are designed to encourage play and joy for children birth – 8 years old. 

Resources can be found at: https://www.playtacoma.org/play-at-home

Museum of Glass
While our normal operation is paused, there are still plenty of ways to engage with MOG. Get hands-on with these fun, family-friendly art projects at home.

Resources can be found at: https://www.museumofglass.org/mog-craft-projects?mc_cid=c59e393a56&mc_eid=c1190ff9ac

LeMay – America’s Car Museum
You might not be able to visit your favorite hotrods, but there’s still activities to put a smile on the face of your young auto enthusiast:

·       Drawing Templates for Young Designers, so they can create their own dream ride.

·       Lesson Plans You Can Do in Your Kitchen, including: Crash-Test Cars, Biofuel Basics and Stylish Speed

·       And, Coloring Sheets for Young Car Lovers, including: 1908 Ford Model T, 1960 Chevrolet Corvette, 1966 Ford Mustang, 1966 Volkswagen Beetle

Additionally, you can join us on Facebook or Instagram for periodic contests, games, and curator presentations.

Resources can be found at: https://www.americascarmuseum.org/learn/athome/

TAM Provides Connection to Art Online

While we are all spending more time at home, Tacoma Art Museum is continuing to provide mission-focused content via the Museum’s website and digital channels during the Museum’s closure. Utilizing TAM’s permanent collection on eMuseum people can view and interact with the collection from their home computers.

“TAM’s eMuseum is a great way to get to know the collection. While it is typical that a museum has on average about 5% of their permanent collection on view at any one time, TAM strives to have close to 10% of our collection incorporated into our current exhibitions,” noted David Setford, Executive Director. “Through generous private and government support, TAM has about 70% of our collection viewable online allowing us to share this wonderful community resource even when we can’t provide access in person.”

In August 2009, Tacoma Art Museum received a Museums for America (MFA) grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to increase information related to its collection and make it accessible online. A second IMLS grant received in September 2014 supported digitization and new photography of the Museum’s permanent collection. Launched on November 1, 2011, TAM’s eMuseum is a work in progress. New objects, information, and updated photographs are being added to the database regularly. Currently, of the Museum’s 5,000 objects about 3,500 can be seen on eMuseum.  Additionally, there are several curated collections for visitors to enjoy including the following:  In Honor of Women’s History Month, Works by Native American Artists in the Northwest Art Collection, and Artists and the Environment.

 “While we don’t have every art work represented on eMuseum, we hope this is a way people can still be connected through art during this time of international crisis,” said Margaret Bullock, Interim Chief Curator and Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions. Connect with Tacoma Art Museum’s database collection at: https://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/explore/collections/

Audubon/RYAN! at Tacoma Art Museum

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Tacoma Art Museum is presenting an exhibition exploring the themes of animals, environmentalism, and conservation, as depicted through the works of renowned naturalist and artist John James Audubon (1785-1851) and Tacoma-based contemporary mixed media artist RYAN! Feddersen, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

The Naturalist & The Trickster: Audubon/RYAN! includes 36 original hand painted lithographs from Audubon’s portfolio of North American viviparous quadrupeds. Like Audubon’s earlier works, these images are beautifully detailed and accurate both anatomically and biologically. In contrast, Feddersen uses a 75-foot long monochrome mural to explore Coyote, a popular trickster character in Native stories, as he navigates the American West, seeing the harrowing effects of industrialism and resource extraction on the environment. The public is being invited to color the mural using crayons cast in the shape of coyote bones during several special events.

Although centuries apart, Audubon and Feddersen draw inspiration from animals and the natural world to create compelling works that urge us to better understand the human impact on the environment. “Juxtaposing these two artists presents a very immersive and thought-provoking experience regarding perceptions of the natural world and relationships between humans and the environment,” said Faith Brower, TAM’s Haub Curator of Western American Art.

“During Audubon’s life his, prints were one of the ways that scientific information from the American West could be shared and studied. His respect and concern for the natural world clearly marks him as one of the forefathers of the modern conservation and environmental movements,” noted Brower. “Feddersen’s engaging storytelling presents a contemporary perspective on the interactions of humans, animals, and the natural world in humorous and compelling ways.”

The Naturalist & The Trickster: Audubon/RYAN! runs through May 10. Contribute your artistry to the mural during the following events:

  • Neighborhood Nights: every Thursday from 5-8 p.m. through May 7
  • Second Saturdays: from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through May 9
  • Earth Day Celebration: Sunday, April 19, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


For more information:

Tacoma Art Museum

1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

(253) 272-4258

visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org

Monet, Renoir and Degas

Seen as artistic radicals in their time, the French Impressionists found their way into premier public and private Northwest art collections impacting American artists for decades. Now on display through January 5, 2020, Tacoma Art Museum premiers a collection of classics to take in. The exhibit, Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Their Circle: French Impressionism and the Northwest, examines how the work of French Impressionists and their immediate precursors made their way into Northwest public and private collections.

“The purpose of this exhibition is deeply connected to the same passion that drove the French Impressionists, to transform the way we see,” said David F. Setford, TAM’s Executive Director and curator of this exhibition. “It does this in two ways. First, it puts rarely seen works from TAM’s European art collection into context and allows for an expanded visitor learning opportunity. In addition, it is also the first time that these Impressionist works from museums and private collections in the Northwest have been seen together. It will provide a lasting resource about French Impressionism and its historical impact for curators and collectors in our region and beyond.”

Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Their Circle: French Impressionism and the Northwest was organized and curated by Tacoma Art Museum, and includes approximately fifty works of art. The exhibition is accompanied by a small publication including essays by Setford and TAM curator Margaret Bullock, as well as an online listing of French Impressionist works currently in Northwest public collections.

The exhibition provides visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy signature works by Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley among others. Filling out the story, paintings from some of the most important precursors of Impressionism such as Eugène Boudin, Jean- Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Johan Barthold Jongkind are included.

“To round off the exhibition, there will be a section of artworks which demonstrate the influence of French Impressionism on Northwestern and American painters—in other words, how East Coast and Northwest artists adapted and interpreted the brushwork and use of light and color in their own work,” notes Margaret Bullock, co-curator of the exhibition.

“We are extremely grateful for the immense generosity of our regional sister museums in collaborating to create this exhibition,” notes Setford. “The treasures of French Impressionism that will be brought together for this exhibition demonstrate the depth and strength of the collections located in the Pacific Northwest.”


For Additional Information

Tacoma Art Museum


Tacoma Art Museum’s New Wing is in Full Bloom this Spring

If you listen carefully you can almost hear the flowers opening on the life-size glass trees by Debora Moore that recently debuted at the Tacoma Art Museum. Commissioned last January for the opening of the new Benaroya Wing, these majestic art pieces are a fitting representation of the museum’s new and bold expansion embracing the medium of glass.

David Setford, TAM’s executive director, sees the new wing as a natural expression of the museum’s mission focusing on the art and artists of the Northwest. He notes that the museum has a longtime interest in glass. This is evidenced by the museum’s earliest glass exhibition in 1971, precisely when the glass scene was really getting hot.

Seattle glass aficionados Jack and Rebecca Benaroya selected the Tacoma museum to receive their collection of over 300 objects. The collection represents the finest achievements by important artists whose work tells the story of Northwest art and identity. The artwork joins the museum’s already robust glass collection. The Benaroya Collection will allow for a deeper reflection on the history and impact of glass in the region and beyond.

In addition, the collection places Tacoma Art Museum into an elite realm of museums with exceptional collections of studio glass. Tacoma, of course, has a longtime connection to the medium and a reputation as the epicenter for modern glass. The city is the birthplace of internationally revered artist Dale Chihuly, as well as the nationally acclaimed Hilltop Artists program. The Museum of Glass and numerous working hot shops also dot the city. Whether you are entranced by Moore’s glittering trees or inspired by classic Chihuly forms, TAM’s new wing will add another jewel to our region. It is sure to attract attention from across the country and around the world.


For Additional Information


Tacoma Art Museum: Prestigious Portraiture

We have all seen portraits—but wait until you visit “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” at Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibit is composed of 43 innovative works from a Smithsonian competition.

With a dazzling variety of media, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and mixed media, the portraits explore powerful themes and challenge imaginations. The museum exhibit is on view through May 14.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Smithsonian’s exhibition to TAM and to the region,” said Stephanie Stebich, the now former executive director who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Tacoma. “Portraiture is one of TAM’s collecting strengths. Portraits carry meaning that everyone can relate to. These portraits tell stories of national concerns that resonate in Tacoma too.”

Unique stories revealed in the portraits include experiences in family and parenting, fragility of childhood, migration, race and gender, health care, poverty, and at-risk youth. The artists, as one placard states, “reveal the diversity of experiences that connect us.”

Prepare to be impressed by the large-scale works, the unique collections that express an artist’s experience, the diversity in the portraits, and the representations of current national issues. This is a show that inspires thinking on multiple levels. Visitors are invited to vote for their favorite portraits.

First prize in the Smithsonian competition went to Amy Sherald of Baltimore for an oil on canvas titled “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).” The artist grew up in Columbus, Georgia, aware of the “appropriate” behavior expected of her as an African American girl. The girl in the portrait is set on a dreamlike turquoise background. Sherald used light gray paint to “omit” skin color so her subject appears both realistic and otherworldly.

The triennial competition for contemporary portraiture and this Outwin 2016 exhibition are possible because of a gift from the late Virginia Outwin Boochever, a Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery volunteer and benefactor. More than 2,500 artists submitted entries in this fourth iteration of the competition.

This is the first time the show has traveled away from the Smithsonian gallery. Tacoma Art Museum is the first stop and only West Coast stop on a national tour. This is your opportunity to see portraits as you have never seen them before.


For more information, including hours and admission:




1701 Pacific Ave

Tacoma, WA 98402

West Coast debut of 30 Americans


The critically acclaimed, nationally traveling exhibition 30 Americans makes its West Coast debut at Tacoma Art Museum this fall. Featuring 45 works drawn from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami—one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world—30 Americans will be on view from Sept. 24, 2016, through Jan. 15, 2017.

The exhibition showcases paintings, photographs, installations, and sculptures by prominent African American artists who have emerged since the 1970s as trailblazers in the contemporary art scene. The works explore identity and the African American experience in the United States. The exhibition invites viewers to consider multiple perspectives and to reflect on the similarities and differences of their own experiences and identities.

“The impact of this inspiring exhibition comes from the powerful works of art produced by major artists who have significantly advanced contemporary art practices in our country for three generations,” says Stephanie Stebich, executive director of TAM. “The stories these works tell are more relevant than ever as we work toward understanding and social change.”

Characterizing TAM as a “safe space for difficult conversations through art,” Stebich adds that the museum will hold open forums and discussions during the run of the exhibition, offering ample opportunity, she says, for community conversations about the role of art, the history of racism, and traumatic current events.

Rock Hushka, TAM’s chief curator, expects that for some viewers, this exhibition will be comforting and exciting; for others it may be provocative or uncomfortable. He said the museum will have gallery prompts that invite visitors to examine their own identities and how it affects their reactions.

What will you see in 30 Americans? Works by seminal figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Carrie Mae Weems will be on view alongside pieces by younger generations of artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas and Kalup Linzy. Woven through many of the works are evocative themes of race and black identity in America, the struggle for civil rights, popular culture and media imagery.

30-americans2The museum’s opening celebration for 30 Americans will be Saturday, Sept. 24, 7-10 p.m. Collectors Don and Mera Rubell will speak about developing the exhibition and the accompanying catalog as well as their collection in general in a Collector Conversation at TAM on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m. Tickets and information about these events and related programs are available at tacomaartmuseum.org.

Glenn Ligon, America, 2008. Neon sign and paint, ed. of 1 plus AP, 24 × 168 inches. Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection.