The mission of the Springfield Museum of Art is to collect, exhibit and preserve works of art for the benefit of all individuals, while encouraging the education and participation in, and the enjoyment and appreciation of the arts.
The Springfield Art Association was organized in 1946 by a group of concerned artists and citizens who felt a need for a visual arts facility in the community. Beginning in 1946, exhibitions were held, first in the buildings of supportive area businesses, and later in leased gallery spaces, until 1967 when the first component of the present facility was built. In 1951, the organization was able to offer art classes to both adults and children.
In December, 1952, the Association was formally incorporated. During those years, workshops were held with nationally recognized artists. When the Association was able to erect its own building in 1967, it was designed for the express purposes of exhibitions and educational programs. At that time, it was determined that a permanent collection of art objects would foster interest in the visual arts, as well as encourage excellence in the work of students enrolled in classes. The name was changed to the Springfield Art Center.
In 1989, the name was changed again to the Springfield Museum of Art, to more accurately describe the manner in which the institution had been actually functioning for many years.The success of these early efforts was affirmed in 1974, when the size of the original facility was doubled to accommodate growth in each programmatic area. This was accomplished with a $350,000 fundraising drive. In 1977, the Museum achieved initial accreditation by the American Association of Museums, and has been re-accredited in both 1986 and 1999.
The Museum successfully completed a capital fundraising campaign, which raised $3.85 million, by the end of 1995; a new 20,000 square foot museum wing, and renovation of the existing 15,000 square foot facility was completed and opened to the public in December,1994. Additionally, the Museum concluded a successful endowment campaign at the end of 1999, which netted $3 million in future pledges. In 1977, the Museum received an outstanding collection of 19th and 20th century American and European works; this gift led to the formulation of the Museum's collecting focus. The Museum has systematically added to the collection since that time through purchase and gift acceptance.
During 1991, the Museum became the beneficiary of a private trust, the annual income from which is designated for acquisitions; over $1,000,000 from this fund has been expended on new acquisitions since that time. The financial stability of the organization has always been of paramount concern to the Board of Trustees, and within the past five years they have been able to increase the market value of the Museum's endowment to $3million. This financial stability has allowed the organization to grow from a few, dedicated volunteers to a staff of 7 full-time and 30-35 part-time employees.