GATHER at Tacoma Art Museum

The newest exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum is a collection of work from 21 alums of the Hilltop Artists program.  On exhibit March 26 through September 4, 2022, GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists features over 30 pieces of art  in a variety of media.

Challenging the status quo by questioning who an authentic artist is and who has value in museum spaces, GATHER primarily features artists of color.  It also highlights the outcomes and reach of the Hilltop Artists program while shining a light on opportunity gaps faced by these artists, many of whom have not yet been included in exhibitions on this scale.

According to TAM’s executive director, David F. Setford, “This is an inspiring exhibit with an outburst of passion by artists we haven’t heard much about before now.”

Artists like David Rios are featured with his work Ofrenda, a spectacular display of orange blown glass flowers mixed with elements of a traditional ofrenda including salt, conchas bread and personal images.  “I grew up in a Mexican American home where an ofrenda was part of life following the passing of a loved one.  This display reflects that part my life,” said Rios prior to the opening of the exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum.

Other works in the exhibit, curated by Trenton Quiocho, Hilltop Artists alum (2008) and current Teaching Artist and Hot Shop Manager, include more glass works, but also paintings, sculptures and even a melted fax machine that is surprisingly gorgeous, by artist Zane Scott.

Co-founded by Dale Chihuly and Kathy Kaperick in 1994, Hilltop Artists was developed as a community organization that provided a creative space for “at risk” youth from the Hilltop neighborhood to assist well-known artists in producing their works.

Exhibiting Artists in GATHER are Douglas Jan Burgess II, Nancy Burgess, Candida Delgadillo, Edelmira Jimenez Gallegos, Daria Hembree, Jessica Hogan, Dani Kaes, Cassandra Kuring, Emily Martin, Jason McDonald, Shayne Nutter, Trenton Quiocho, David Rios, Luis Sanchez, Samantha Scalise, Evan Schauss, Zane Scott, Ellye Sevier, Jesse Sorgenfrei, Tony Sorgenfrei, Jack Spitzer, Edgar Valentine, Keiko Wesley and Jacob Willcox.

Tacoma Art Museum: Birth of American Art

Tacoma Art Museum’s newest exhibition, Departures and Divisions: Variation in American Styles 1900-1950, explores the period when several American artists rejected time-honored subjects and styles. The new installation, highlighting artwork from TAM’s own collection and curated by the museum’s executive director, David F. Setford, is now open to the public.

When asked if it is unusual for a director to curate a show, Setford humbly responded “for some it would be unusual, but for me it is a passion.  It was amazing to get back into working directly with the art.“

Coming up through the curator’s side of the museum industry, versus the administration side, gave Setford a different perspective. It became clear to him after nearly four years at TAM that its collection was very strong in American Art from 1900 on.  Not just original work from Pacific Northwest artists, but also from artists all around the USA.

During the 50-year period featured in the exhibit, American artists rejected the genteel styles that were dominant at the time and began showing more gritty, true to life scenes of real American lives in city and rural settings across the country.  American artists including William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn and John Sloan illustrated city streets and hard-working people they saw in everyday life.

With over 40 paintings and prints by such well-known names as Robert Henri, Elizabeth Catlett, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, and Georgia O’Keeffe as well as Northwest artists including Vanessa Helder, Kamekichi Tokita, and Mark Tobey, the exhibit showcases the continued development of American Art over several decades.   

According to Setford, “This exhibit is important for a couple of reasons.  First, people need to see it to understand why so many are passionate about American Art and how the various pieces intertwine.  Second, the pieces are so good and unexpected in Tacoma.” He went on to say, “sometimes American Art is seen as secondary to European, but this exhibit shows its strengths as a truly American development.” To learn more about the exhibit, which can be viewed until early September, visit

Hear From The Curator: Departures and Divisions

Virtual Talk | Hear from the Curator: Departures and Divisions
February 6 @ 1:00 – 2:30 pm

in us for a discussion about Tacoma Art Museum’s newest exhibition, Departures and Divisions: Variation in American Styles, 1900 – 1950. Learn more about the exhibition as we consider the development of a distinctly American style of art. Throughout the 19th century, Europe and the Academies of Paris dominated the global artistic scene. Learn more information about this virtual talk on our website.<>

This exhibition lecture will be held virtually. To reserve your spot, register here<>.

For questions, please contact Kyley Butler, Public Programs Coordinator.<>

Yoga Wild x TAM

Yoga Wild x TAM
Saturday, January 8, 2022
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Enjoy a chance to relax and escape into art with a yoga class lead by Tacoma’s own Yoga Wild. Following the hour-long class, treat yourself to our complimentary mimosa and juice bar. Classes are free to members and $15 for non-members, but class size is limited to 25 so be sure to register today!


1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402

T: 253-272-4258 x3028
FacebookInstagram, and Twitterrt

IN THE SPIRIT Festival This Saturday

The summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of incredible festivals to be enjoyed before fall arrives! This week, we are looking towards the annual IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival. The festival will be held in person on Saturday, August 7, from 10:00 AM–5:00 PM in the Tacoma Museum District. This beloved summer tradition celebrates the diverse Native cultures of our region and is hosted by the Washington State History MuseumTacoma Art Museum, and Museum of Glass. The indoor/outdoor event is free and open to the public, including free admission to all three museums.

IN THE SPIRIT festival guests can see exhibitions featuring Native artists in the museums; talk with artist vendors and shop for original art, jewelry, textiles, and other hand-crafted products; participate in art-making activities at all three museums; watch artists work in the Hot Shop at MOG; and enjoy cultural musicians and dancers in the outdoor amphitheater at the History Museum. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the TAM Cafe, and the Price Family (Navajo/Port Gamble S’Klallam) will sell their famous fry bread tacos at the History Museum.

Indigenous dance, music, and artist demonstrations are a festival highlight. The Alaska Kuteeyaa Dancers (Haida and Tlingit) have participated every year since IN THE SPIRIT began 16 years ago (with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic). Returning favorites also include musician Vince Redhouse (Navajo) on Navajo flute and Rona Yellow Robe (Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana), an award-winning flute player and vocalist. Artist Raya Friday (Lummi Nation) will be on deck in MOG’s Hot Shop, creating with molten glass. ”I’d like to give a big hysh’qe to the big three museums of Tacoma – MOG TAM, WSHM – for carving a space and amplifying the voices of Indigenous artists like myself. Thank you for the opportunity,” Friday shared.

“The museums have been working with Native artists, curators, and community members through the IN THE SPIRIT Advisory Committee to develop a gathering where our visitors and artists can safely reconnect and celebrate in person,” said Molly Wilmoth, lead program manager at the Washington State Historical Society. “We are grateful for all of the talented artists and vendors who are participating both in-person and virtually. Along with the outdoor arts market and cultural performances, we welcome guests to view the exhibitions in the museums, including the 16th annual IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition at the History Museum. Visitors can vote in the gallery for the coveted People’s Choice awards.”

“Last year, the IN THE SPIRIT festival went fully online and was extended for a month-long period,” added Amelia Layton, public programs manager at Tacoma Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to be back in person this year to support Native artists. We’re also continuing with some online programming. The August 7 in-person festival is accompanied by an online arts market and several virtual programs that run July 30 through September 3, so we can provide even greater access to the outstanding Native artists of our region.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for the annual festival this Saturday!

The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection

The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) proudly brings the national award-winning Kinsey African American Art & History Collection to our community this summer. A unique merging of art and history, the public exhibition includes over 150 artifacts spanning from masterful paintings and sculpture, to letters, rare books, photographs and more. Each
piece shines a triumphant light on largely unknown works of art and untold stories of Black Americans throughout history to the present day. Running from July 31 to November 28, 2021, the collection offers a more balanced and inclusive narrative of the American story.

The roots of the exhibition were established over 50 years ago, as Bernard and Shirley Kinsey traveled the world together in pursuit of cultural exploration, while simultaneously collecting both memories and artwork. Today, the collection continues to thrive and expand with oversight and leadership from their son, Khalil Kinsey, who serves as Chief Curator and General Manager. The Kinseys are true stewards and protectors of historical material and fine art, as their traveling exhibition has toured over 30 U.S. cities and reached more than 15 million people. Their aim, says Khalil, is that after experiencing the collection, “people leave and say – I didn’t know that.” The guiding light of the Kinsey mission is simply sharing information and encouraging visitors to use what they learn, employ it in their own lives and continue to pass along that information to others. According to Khalil, the collection is their “small contribution to the conversation. And it has been a wonderful journey.”

The Kinsey Collection is especially significant for Tacoma and surrounding communities because it is the first presentation in the Pacific Northwest. TAM’s Executive Director, David Setford shares, “We are lucky to have this collection at the museum. It is an opportunity for people to learn together . . . and to learn the truth about this untold history.”

The TAM is excited to help shape and showcase an exhibition that dives deeper into the shared human experience and fosters new conversations and dialogue amongst community members. The Kinsey African American
Art & History Collection is the embodiment of black excellence, and its contents challenge us to examine and acknowledge truths surrounding the generations of adversity Africans Americans faced in route to celebrating their artistry and contributions to this nation and beyond.

For Additional Information


In Conversation: Paint, Painters, Paintings

In Conversation: Paint, Painters, Paintings

March 21, 1-2:30pm

Join us on Zoom

Join TAM for a lively conversation about the elements of painting with Chief Curator, Margaret Bullock and Public Programs Manager, Amelia Layton. Follow along as they explore their favorite works from Painting Deconstructed: Selections from the Northwest Collection.

“South Sound Selects” Exhibit Open at TAM

If you’re looking for an artistic way to unwind and enjoy the community, be sure to visit South Sound Selects: Community Choices from the Collection, an exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM). This has been the first exhibition to open at TAM since it closed in March 2020, due to the pandemic, and it features 27 guest curators from all over the South Sound community. In addition, TAM provides a new virtual museum experience for digital audiences.

“As we planned for the Museum’s reopening, we wanted to create something deeply connected to our community. The concept for this exhibition continues our exploration of providing a platform for promoting multiple voices and interpretations of artwork. We want to challenge the assumption that only museum curatorial commentary can provide appropriate perspective and elucidation,” noted David F. Setford, TAM Executive Director. “In addition, we understand that some people may be uncomfortable visiting the Museum in person, we are also proud to announce that this exhibition will be our first virtual experience and provide digital audiences an opportunity to see a TAM exhibition as never before.”  

South Sound Selects: Community Choices from the Collection include community members, as well as TAM staff and volunteers. The 27 guest curators are: Charlotte Basch; Peter Berkley; Jalen Calhoun; Meghan Crandall; Jean Farrington; Jon French; Van Gachnang; Jeremy Gregory; Gracea Hilsen; Jacqueline Justice; Josiah Justice; Jamari Littlejohn; Michele Livernash; Sophie Marie; Mason Manoa; Cat Mason; Victoria Miles; Lee Nelson; Eric Pannell; Dana Peregrine; Stephen Rue; Jamika Scott; Najai Smith; Elaine Stefanowicz; TAM’s Teen Art Council; Erika Washington; Kyle Willingham.

Guest curators selected 37 artworks from TAM’s permanent collection that were made from the 1920s to the 2010s. The work selected ranges from local art stars like Qwalsius-Shaun Peterson (Puyallup) and Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip), to internationally known artists like Jacob Lawrence and Carrie Mae Weems.

TAM worked with local photographer Jason Comerford, of Jason Comerford Photography (, to make 3D scans of each gallery with a Matterport Pro2 3D camera. The series of 134-megapixel 3D scans were stitched together to create a virtual version of the exhibition in the gallery which can be complimented with additional text or resources. The program allows for digital visitors to move throughout the virtual space which will be accessible through the TAM website.

“Since the start of quarantine, we have seen many museums using this platform, though it was designed for real estate, architects, engineering, and retail,” noted Setford. “TAM is proud to be able to share this new virtual exhibition experience as we continue to explore new ways to create connections in our community through art.”

Currently, Museum hours are 10am to 5pm, Friday through Sunday. The Museum Store is open during these hours as well, and welcomes up to five visitors at a time. For an engaging, artistic experience, don’t miss the South Sound Selects exhibition!

Tacoma Art Museum: Prestigious Portraiture

We have all seen portraits—but wait until you visit “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” at Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibit is composed of 43 innovative works from a Smithsonian competition.

With a dazzling variety of media, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and mixed media, the portraits explore powerful themes and challenge imaginations. The museum exhibit is on view through May 14.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Smithsonian’s exhibition to TAM and to the region,” said Stephanie Stebich, the now former executive director who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Tacoma. “Portraiture is one of TAM’s collecting strengths. Portraits carry meaning that everyone can relate to. These portraits tell stories of national concerns that resonate in Tacoma too.”

Unique stories revealed in the portraits include experiences in family and parenting, fragility of childhood, migration, race and gender, health care, poverty, and at-risk youth. The artists, as one placard states, “reveal the diversity of experiences that connect us.”

Prepare to be impressed by the large-scale works, the unique collections that express an artist’s experience, the diversity in the portraits, and the representations of current national issues. This is a show that inspires thinking on multiple levels. Visitors are invited to vote for their favorite portraits.

First prize in the Smithsonian competition went to Amy Sherald of Baltimore for an oil on canvas titled “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).” The artist grew up in Columbus, Georgia, aware of the “appropriate” behavior expected of her as an African American girl. The girl in the portrait is set on a dreamlike turquoise background. Sherald used light gray paint to “omit” skin color so her subject appears both realistic and otherworldly.

The triennial competition for contemporary portraiture and this Outwin 2016 exhibition are possible because of a gift from the late Virginia Outwin Boochever, a Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery volunteer and benefactor. More than 2,500 artists submitted entries in this fourth iteration of the competition.

This is the first time the show has traveled away from the Smithsonian gallery. Tacoma Art Museum is the first stop and only West Coast stop on a national tour. This is your opportunity to see portraits as you have never seen them before.


For more information, including hours and admission:



1701 Pacific Ave

Tacoma, WA 98402

West Coast debut of 30 Americans


The critically acclaimed, nationally traveling exhibition 30 Americans makes its West Coast debut at Tacoma Art Museum this fall. Featuring 45 works drawn from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami—one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world—30 Americans will be on view from Sept. 24, 2016, through Jan. 15, 2017.

The exhibition showcases paintings, photographs, installations, and sculptures by prominent African American artists who have emerged since the 1970s as trailblazers in the contemporary art scene. The works explore identity and the African American experience in the United States. The exhibition invites viewers to consider multiple perspectives and to reflect on the similarities and differences of their own experiences and identities.

“The impact of this inspiring exhibition comes from the powerful works of art produced by major artists who have significantly advanced contemporary art practices in our country for three generations,” says Stephanie Stebich, executive director of TAM. “The stories these works tell are more relevant than ever as we work toward understanding and social change.”

Characterizing TAM as a “safe space for difficult conversations through art,” Stebich adds that the museum will hold open forums and discussions during the run of the exhibition, offering ample opportunity, she says, for community conversations about the role of art, the history of racism, and traumatic current events.

Rock Hushka, TAM’s chief curator, expects that for some viewers, this exhibition will be comforting and exciting; for others it may be provocative or uncomfortable. He said the museum will have gallery prompts that invite visitors to examine their own identities and how it affects their reactions.

What will you see in 30 Americans? Works by seminal figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Carrie Mae Weems will be on view alongside pieces by younger generations of artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas and Kalup Linzy. Woven through many of the works are evocative themes of race and black identity in America, the struggle for civil rights, popular culture and media imagery.

30-americans2The museum’s opening celebration for 30 Americans will be Saturday, Sept. 24, 7-10 p.m. Collectors Don and Mera Rubell will speak about developing the exhibition and the accompanying catalog as well as their collection in general in a Collector Conversation at TAM on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m. Tickets and information about these events and related programs are available at

Glenn Ligon, America, 2008. Neon sign and paint, ed. of 1 plus AP, 24 × 168 inches. Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection.