Museum of Northwest Art

121 South First Street
La Conner, WA 98257

360-466-4446

MISSION STATEMENT:

The Museum of Northwest Art connects people with the art, diverse cultures and environments of the Northwest.

VISION STATEMENT

The Museum of Northwest Art enriches lives in our diverse community by fostering essential conversations and encouraging creativity through exhibitions and educational activities that explore the art of the Northwest.

History
The inspiration began in the 1930s and 40s when four Northwest artists, Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey, who drew artistic sustenance from nature and Asian influences, created a fresh style and a regional identity. All of these artists spent time in the Skagit Valley, and two made their homes here. A magnet for artists since then, the Valley was a natural birthplace for a museum devoted solely to Northwest art.

The museum opened on October 3, 1981, as a small regional museum devoted to presenting the works of major Northwest artists in a continual exhibition and serving as a source of education on Northwest art. The vision of photographer Art Hupy, the museum lived, for its first 14 years, on the second floor of the historical Gaches Mansion in La Conner. As early as 1982 the museum board began to look for a space more suitable for housing works of art when they contemplated the purchase and renovation of the La Conner Town Hall. Plans for relocation and expansion simmered over the next decade while support for the regional museum grew. During this time the museum mounted exhibitions designed to illuminate both the artist and their art.

In 1991 the museum board and a legion of volunteers began a major fundraising drive to acquire a new home. About that time, a commercial building in downtown La Conner, featuring 12,000 square feet intended for retail and office space, came on the market. After two years of negotiation the deal closed and renovations began. Given a fresh face, inside and out, by the Henry Klein Partnership, Architects, the new building has an elegance befitting a museum destined to attract national attention.

Paralleling some of the specialized regional museums in Europe, MoNA has stressed high quality standards from the beginning. With no permanent collection initially, the museum now has a small but fine representative collection of paintings, sculpture, glass and works on paper. The new facility provides proper space for their care and conservation with room for the permanent collection to grow. The mission of the museum has expanded from its original purpose to showcase just a few major Northwest artists and includes exhibition opportunities for the many fine artists of the Pacific Northwest, including promising new talent. The museum also shows the finest in Northwest glass in its Benaroya Glass Gallery. The building also allows for an increase in educational activities - workshops, tours, lectures and work with school groups. Coincidentally, history circles back on itself and the new Museum of Northwest Art opened its doors to the public in October, 1995, 14 years to the day after the original vision got its start.

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