The Fort Wayne Museum of Art will collect, preserve, present and interpret American and related art to engage broad and diverse audiences throughout the community and region, and add value to their lives.
Believing that art is a meaningful part of our lives, we value:
We are committed to providing people throughout the community and the region with exhibitions of the highest caliber, meaningful and engaging community events, and on- and off-site educational programs that increase people's understanding and appreciation of America's visual arts.
At FWMoA, you will find permanent and temporary exhibitions of American fine and decorative art, including exhibitions exploring the cross-cultural connections between artwork and artists from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds.
You also will find a lending library with over 8,000 art and culture volumes and periodicals for public use, a hands-on learning environment for young children, and a Print and Drawing Study Center available for first-hand study of our vast collection of works on paper. Additionally, the Paradigm Gallery shop features the art and fine craft of over 75 regional and national artists working in a variety of media.
Fort Wayne Museum of Art is funded in part by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne and the Indiana Arts Commission. Fort Wayne Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. We are proud partners of the Fort Wayne Cultural District, an area of downtown brimming with arts and cultural activities throughout the year.
In 2014, FWMoA received major support from the English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation, the Foellinger Foundation, Lincoln Financial Foundation, and Steel Dynamics Foundation through grants that increase our service to the community and develop organizational effectiveness.
The visual arts represent myriad aspects of our collective cultures, historical experiences, and of the human condition. We believe that the visual arts open our eyes, hearts, and minds to the intersecting dimensions of the worlds we live in and, in doing so, add value and meaning to our lives. This added value and meaning develops from the broadening of personal perspectives, promoting increased empathy, sparking moments of self-discovery, fostering the development of new insights, as well as nurturing our human spirit.
The Museum is committed to using art in service to the people of the community – fulfilling needs, provoking inspirations, raising aspirations, increasing understanding and, in doing so, adding value to people’s lives.
At the heart of these efforts is our earnest belief that art, of whatever style or time period, speaks to our culture, our history, and our future. Moreover, art carries universal messages that have meaning for people and that can help bond people together. Well beyond its ability to appeal to people’s aesthetic sensibilities, art can help people communicate, art can encourage people’s willingness to empathize and be open to difference, and art stimulates a "craving to comprehend" which is the real motivating force of all learning – for people of all ages and walks of life.
The earliest roots of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art were informal art classes in drawing and painting, which were first taught in 1888 by J. Ottis Adams and later by William Forsyth. Both artists became important regional influences, whose skills in drawing and composition had been sharpened by tutelage at the Royal Academy in Munich. By 1897 these art classes were formally organized under the official name, The Fort Wayne Museum of Art School. Over the next twenty years the Art School continued to thrive despite limited funds and several changes in location.
In 1921, the function of museum was added to the school when a collection of ten paintings was donated by Theodore Thieme. A prominent Fort Wayne citizen, Thieme recognized the importance of art to the community, and, in addition to the paintings, he donated his residence at 1026 West Berry Street. In 1949, the B. Paul Mossman home at 1202 West Wayne Street was donated to the museum and, for the first time, an entire facility could be devoted completely to exhibitions and collections.
The museum split with the art school in 1977, in which the school became a department of Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne. The museum is now housed in a 1984 facility designed by architect Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
FWMoA was first awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums in 1996 and was accredited again in 2007. That same year, FWMoA launched a $7.5 million capital campaign to expand the building and grow the permanent collection. Completed in 2010, the project was and continues to prove its success, as FWMoA was transformed by adding 10,000 square feet to increase the amount of exhibitions, programs, and visitorship to the Museum. The Museum is now able to implement the vision to be the cultural catalyst of the region.