How do you think BAM’s role in the Boise community has changed over the years? Can you think of any specific or tangible examples of this change?
On December 3, 1932, The Boise Art Association, Inc. (now Boise Art Museum, Inc.) became a non-profit corporation in the state of Idaho to be in perpetual existence for the purposes of creating in the minds of residents, an increased appreciation for the Fine and Applied Arts, to receive gifts and bequests for the use and benefit of this corporation, and to acquire and maintain a suitable gallery in which works of art could be displayed.
The Boise Art Association, Inc. was given space in the Carnegie Public Library in which to display its art exhibitions. The aims of the association were educational and cultural in character, and its exhibitions of paintings and other works of art were generally available to the public for a small admission charge, meant to defray expenses.
The Boise Art Association, Inc. operated in the Carnegie Public Library until it raised the funds to build the Boise Gallery of Art, which opened in 1937 in Julia Davis Park on Boise Parks and Recreation land with labor provided by the Works Progress Administration. Through this partnership with the city of Boise and the Works Progress Administration, The Boise Art Association, Inc. moved the Boise Gallery of Art program and operation to the new building in 1937, at which time it used the building exclusively as a museum for the display of art objects and for incidental art purposes.
In 1961, The Boise Art Association, Inc. expanded its stated mission through amended Articles of Incorporation to include but not be limited to the receiving and expenditure of principal and interest to promote the well-being of mankind by charitable, educational, literary endeavors and publications to the end of encouraging the development of artists and interest in art by establishing leadership efforts in art and art education through the Boise Gallery of Art.
In the mid-sixties, as exhibition programming became more ambitious, the need for additional space quickly became a priority, and The Boise Art Association, Inc. raised the funds to begin a year-long expansion program in 1972. The building reopened to the public in 1973, and The Boise Art Association, Inc. changed its name to The Boise Gallery of Art Association, Inc.
In 1986, the institution successfully completed another fundraising campaign to support a second renovation for expansion of its galleries. In 1987, The Boise Gallery of Art Association, Inc. changed its name to the Boise Art Museum, Inc. and the organization became known as the Boise Art Museum. This name change corresponded with the award of initial national accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). National accreditation certifies that the Boise Art Museum meets or exceeds national standards in all areas of operation including the Permanent Collection, education programs and exhibitions. BAM continues to be accredited by AAM, is the only collecting art museum in Idaho, and within a 300-mile radius, to hold AAM accreditation and is among 4% of museums nationwide that have earned this distinction.
In 1997, the Boise Art Museum, Inc. embarked upon a multi-million dollar campaign, supported by the city of Boise and the community, to increase its facilities to a total of 34,800 square feet. Since that time, BAM has served the community with high-caliber exhibitions from its Permanent Collection as well as with borrowed works of art along with a full accompaniment of related educational programs.