Arlington Museum of Art Moves to a New Building

by Jessica Fuentes April 9, 2024

At the end of March, the Arlington Museum of Art (AMA) opened in a new building located at 1200 Ballpark Way, within the Arlington Entertainment District.

A photograph of the exterior of the ESports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

ESports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The roots of the museum date back to 1952, when the Arlington Art Association was founded by civic leaders under the guidance of Howard and Arista Joyner. Mr. Joyner was the head of the art department of the North Texas Agricultural College (now the University of Texas at Arlington), and Mrs. Joyner was the first art teacher at Arlington High School. The association’s goal was to promote and support visual arts in the city. 

In 1974, the association incorporated as the AMA, and in 1989 the museum purchased a former JCPenney building on Main Street in the city’s downtown area. The renovated 5,500-square-foot space opened in 1991. Over the last 30 years, museum leaders have worked toward acquiring a larger space to expand its capacity for exhibitions and educational programs. 

In April 2023, the Arlington City Council approved a special use agreement so that the museum will be able to utilize 40,000 square feet of space within the city’s Expo Center, a multi-use space within the ESports Stadium that has historically hosted tradeshows, banquets, and other events. In a press release announcing the opening of the new building, Chris Hightower, AMA’s President and CEO, commented, “The new AMA footprint is nearly eight times larger than our previous one allowing us to blend traditional, immersive, interactive and evolving art forms in ways that will inspire, entertain, engage and reflect our community and our world.”

The museum’s new building consists of a traditional gallery, divided into smaller gallery rooms totaling over 12,000 square feet; four immersive galleries that will be used for installations that combine art and technology and are nearly 21,000 square feet; a black box theater seating up to 300 people; and a community gallery that is approximately 5,000 square feet. It also will include a gift shop. As a non-collecting museum, AMA hosts traveling exhibitions and the new space will allow it to bring larger shows than ever before.

The museum’s opening is punctuated by three new exhibitions: Pompeii: The Immortal City, which is debuting in the museum’s traditional gallery; One Point Five Degrees, a collaborative project featuring Fort Worth-based artist Adam Fung and Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté, opening in the museum’s immersive galleries; and the 34th Annual Youth Art Month Show, presented in the community gallery.

Though the AMA is currently open, construction of the Education Center is still underway. The space will be about 3,300 square feet and include four classrooms and a shared gallery. After opening in the fall, the center will host workshops for all ages as well as the museum’s long-standing Summer Art Camp program. 

Learn more about visiting the AMA at its new building via the museum’s website.

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