A Guide to the Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is located at the corner of McDowell Road & Central Avenue at 1625 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. It was built in 1936 and originally christened the Phoenix Art Center. This was all the result of the New Deal initiative proposed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a way to stimulate the economy and employ millions of out-of-work Americans as well as enrich American culture. The building was constructed and funded by the government agency known as the Works Progress Administration as part of the Federal Art Project. Prior to this was the Phoenix Fine Arts Association. They had no permanent location and less than 2 dozen pieces of art to display at the private homes of the Phoenix Fine Arts Association members. It’s currently designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.The many works of art currently in the Phoenix Art Museum’s collection include traditional examples of American, Asian, European, Latin American, and Western American art. They also have a large gallery dedicated to fashion design and modern clothing. The Ullman Center for the Art of Philip C. Curtis was opened in 2001 and catalogs the life and 50 years of work by this superb painter in the abstract and surrealist genres. Coincidentally he was also the Phoenix Art Museum’s founding director.Also unique to the museum are the Thorne Rooms. Narcissa Niblack Thorne, an Indiana native who had travelled extensively throughout England and Western Europe, was an indoor architecture enthusiast. She created exact replicas of many different homes throughout Europe and America in perfect 1:12 ratio detail. She made all these rooms’ contents by hand. She wove the miniature rugs herself, painted the walls or designed the wallpaper, made the carpentry, upholstered the furniture, commissioned all the glasswork, and crafted the crockery. In her lifetime she was only able to complete 100 of these rooms, of which the Phoenix Art Museum owns 20.Regular events and activities take place as well. Film panels and discussions with experts are common, as well as musical performance and festivals. There are lectures given on various subjects by authors, curators, artists, and professors. Public wine tasting series and private, members only, black tie galas have been known to occur too. These are all common occurrences and do not include the traveling exhibitions that frequent the Phoenix Art Museum, ensuring there’s always something new for the art lover.

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