About the AMA

The Arlington Museum of Art is dedicated to champion creativity and to provide access to art for the cultural enrichment and economic development of our community.  The AMA is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization administered by a board of trustees, and run by a small staff with assistance from a dependable volunteer base.

We are focused on bringing outstanding exhibitions to the four floors of the facility that inspire, inform and challenge our local visitors, as well as tourists from outside the Metroplex. We also present accompanying educational and related programming in order to increase public awareness, appeal to a broader cross section of the community, and establish Arlington as a cultural hub in North Texas.

The Arlington Museum of Art:

  • is non-collecting museum featuring exceptional quality traveling exhibitions and companion curated shows
  • offers educational and instructional programs for adults and children built upon practical learning experiences in art
  • supports the art education programs of local public schools, universities and other educational institutions
  • offers additional culturally based activities for local visitors and tourists to the North Texas area
  • provides rental facilities for special events

Howard and Arista Joyner were instrumental in founding the Arlington Art Association in 1952. Howard established the Art Department at the University of Texas at Arlington and Arista was the first art teacher at Arlington High School, as well as establishing the Art Department at then Tarrant County Junior College. Through their influence, as well as the participation of other noted Arlington families, including the Martins, Vandergriffs and Hawkes, the Arlington Art Association was founded in 1952 to promote art activities throughout the community. In subsequent years, the organization sponsored shows for local artists, as well as juried art exhibits and art auctions to raise money for college scholarships for high school students in Arlington.  The organization created a savings fund to purchase a building in which they could establish a permanent home for the group.

By 1986, $60,000 had been raised and with additional private donations and bank financing the former JC Penney building on Main Street was purchased. The facility was remodeled extensively, creating galleries to showcase exhibits and in 1989 the organization moved into their permanent home and incorporated as the Arlington Museum of Art. The first show of contemporary art went on display in May 1990.

Previously Focused on Texas Contemporary Art
A successful fund drive to match a gift by Dallas art patrons Nona and Richard Barrett allowed the Museum to hire a full-time director.  In 1991, Joan Davidow was hired and the Museum began focusing on cutting edge Texas contemporary art. Davidow’s curated exhibitions earned a level of attention seldom achieved by museums of this size. Joan Davidow resigned her position of almost 10 years in September 2000 and the Board honored her with the title of Director Emeritus.

Anne Allen became the AMA’s new Director in February 2001.  Before joining the Museum, Ms. Allen served as Executive Director of The Old Jail Art Center in Albany, Texas. For the next six years, under Allen’s direction, the AMA continued a busy exhibition schedule and added a number of new programs, including gallery talks and artist lectures designed to appeal to the art educated and art curious, alike.

Broadening the Vision
Growing financial needs and the weakened economy forced the Museum to reorganize in 2012, and Chris Hightower, a former AMA board member, was brought in as the Executive Director.  A broadened vision was adopted by the Board of Directors which allowed the Museum pursue a new direction in the art world.  Now, historically significant and culturally important exhibitions are designed to provide increased access and exposure to fine arts in the North Texas area.  Support is provided in the form of accompanying programming, thereby establishing a balanced cultural community.  In addition to a successful program of pursuing funding through grant awards, a portion of financial support now comes through the rental of Museum facilities for events.