Whether you’re interested in American art, Western art, Latin American art, Asian art, European art, modern art, or contemporary art, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye at the Phoenix Art Museum.
In addition to its impressive collection of visual art, the museum also boasts an extensive photography collection and a fashion collection that spans 500 years.
With so much to see, you could easily spend an entire day exploring the Phoenix Art Museum. But don’t forget to leave some time to visit the neighboring Heard Museum, where you can learn about Native American art and culture.
So whether you’re a seasoned art lover or a first-time visitor, make sure to add the Phoenix Art Museum to your travel plans.
Things To Know Before Visiting Phoenix Art Museum In 2022
Phoenix is known for its clear desert skies and cacti-studded landscape, but the city also boasts a vibrant arts scene. In the heart of downtown, the Phoenix Art Museum sits as a beacon of culture offering visitors a glimpse into the world’s finest art collections.
So, whether you’re admiring a 14th-century painting or a contemporary fashion design, the Phoenix Art Museum is sure to dazzle and inspire. Here are some things you need to know about this world-class museum:
History Of The Museum
The background of the Phoenix Art Museum is one that dates back to the early days of the state of Arizona.
As we talk about its history, we must first start with the Phoenix Women’s Club. In the year 1897, a group of ladies discussed the idea of making art and culture more prominent in their city.
In order to do this, they pledged to purchase one work of art each year. This was the start of what would eventually become a world-renowned museum.
As the years progressed, so did the collection. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that it became apparent that a nice & proper museum was needed to house all of these wonderful pieces.
Construction for the Phoenix Art Museum began in January of 1959 and by November of that same year, it was open to the public.
Throughout the years, the museum has continued to grow & add new pieces to its collections.
It now includes artwork from various time periods & cultures, with a special focus on Western art & fashion design.
The Phoenix Art Museum is truly a hidden gem in the desert that is worth discovering.
Directions To Reach
As Phoenix Art Museum is located in downtown Phoenix, the directions to reach it are quite simple. If you are on the I-10,
- Simply take the 7th Street exit and then turn onto McDowell Road.
- After that, turn right onto Central Avenue
- The museum will be on your left.
If you are coming from the north on I-17, simply take the McDowell Road exit and then turn left onto McDowell Road.
In case you are coming from the west on I-10, take the 7th Avenue exit and then turn onto McDowell Road.
However, if you are using a light rail, the best station to get off at is Central/McDowell. Light rail is the best way to get around Phoenix and its suburbs.
The Valley Metro Rail has 32 stations and covers 45 km of track, making it an efficient way to get from point A to point B.
Plus, with a 24-hour light-rail pass that costs you just $4, you can ride as much as you want in a day.
The price is just $2 for senior citizens and children aged 6 to 18. So, if you are planning to visit Phoenix Art Museum, make sure you take the light rail!
Admission Cost & Discounted Tickets
As of 2022, an adult ticket to Phoenix Art Museum costs $20. However, the museum offers several types of discounts for seniors, children, students, and military personnel.
So, if you qualify for a discount, or if you’re a member of the museum, your ticket price will be lower. In fact, members of the museum can visit for free all year long!
Discounted tickets can also be purchased in advance of your visit, which is highly recommended.
Purchasing tickets online is best as you will be paying the lowest price and the gate price will generally be very high depending on the current demand.
For instance, you can buy discounted Phoenix Art Museum tickets from Groupon at just around $30 for two people.
So, with discounted rates, you will be saving a lot of money especially if you’re planning to visit the museum with family or friends.
The Phoenix Art Museum offers a discount to seniors who are 65 years of age or older. This discount allows seniors to visit the museum for $17 instead of the regular adult admission price of $20.
This discount is a great way for seniors to enjoy all that the Phoenix Art Museum has to offer at a reduced cost.
So, if you are a senior citizen looking for a fun and affordable activity, be sure to check out the Phoenix Art Museum!
As of 2022, U.S military personnel can get free admission to the Phoenix Art Museum through the Military Access Program (MAP@PAM).
So, basically, it’s free to enter for anyone with a military ID. This is an awesome deal, considering that adult tickets are typically $20 and seniors are $17.
If you’re in the military or know someone who is, take advantage of this great offer!
Dr. Hong and Doris Ong, Nancy Hanley Eriksson, and Shamrock Foods Foundation are the generous donors who have ensured that our military men and women can enjoy free admission to this world-class museum.
If you’re a student, you can get discounted tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum at just $15! Just show your valid student ID at the ticket counter and you’ll be able to enjoy all the museum has to offer for a fraction of the price.
You can also buy these cheap tickets online in advance, which is even better because it means you can avoid the ticket line altogether.
Whether you’re interested in art history or just want to see some beautiful paintings and sculptures, the Phoenix Art Museum is a great place to go and the student discount makes it even more affordable.
Things To Do
The best things to do at Phoenix Art Museum include touring the permanent collection, exploring the Thorne Rooms, and viewing the fashion design collection. A docent-led tour or self-guided audio tour are both great ways to learn about the museum’s highlights.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to making the most of your visit:
- The first thing to do is take a tour of the permanent collection. There are 9 different collecting areas, each with its own focus. The tour will give you a good overview of the different types of art on display at the museum.
- The first floor is home to the Asian collection, which includes over 2,700 works from China, Japan, Korea, India, Iran, Nepal, and other Asian countries. This is not to be missed!
- The second floor is where you’ll find the European collection, as well as the Thorne Rooms. The Thorne Rooms are miniatures replicas of 20 American and European rooms, on a 1:12 scale. They’re very intricate and detailed, and definitely worth a look.
- The third floor is home to contemporary art and photography collections. This is also where you’ll find “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies.” Yayoi Kusama is the artist behind this mixed media installation that makes you feel like you’re inside an infinite space. It’s definitely a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else!
- The fashion design collection is also worth a visit. It’s located on the second floor in the Katz Wing, and showcases historic dresses and accessories, as well as pieces by Chanel, Christian Dior, and other designers.
This is how to make the most of your visit to Phoenix Art Museum! However, there’s really no wrong way to explore all that this museum has to offer. So take your time, and enjoy everything that this incredible institution has to share.
Special Events & Workshops
Known for its comprehensive collection of American, Western American, Latin American, Asian, European, modern, and contemporary art, the Phoenix Art Museum conducts a variety of events, programs, and workshops throughout the year.
Most notably, the museum regularly hosts special events, such as movie screenings, open gallery talks that explore popular artwork, and art classes taught by professional artists.
In addition, you can participate in yoga and mindfulness classes that are designed to help you appreciate the artwork on a deeper level.
While some of these offerings require advance registration, they provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the museum’s collection and engage with other art enthusiasts.
Friday Free Admission
Every 1st Friday of the month, the Phoenix Art Museum has free admission from 3 pm-7 pm. This is a great opportunity for people to come and enjoy the art museum and all it has to offer without having to pay an admission fee.
The museum offers a wide variety of art, ranging from American to European to contemporary, and also has a great photography collection.
In addition, there are often live music and dance performances, art-making activities, and more going on during 1st Friday free admission. This is a great opportunity for people of all ages to come and enjoy the arts in Phoenix.
“Pay What You Wish” Wednesday
If you don’t already know, the Phoenix Art Museum offers free admission on the first Friday of every month from 3-7 pm. However, if you’re like me and can’t always make it on Fridays, the museum also has a “Pay What You Wish” Wednesday policy.
From 3 to 7 PM, you can come in and pay whatever you want to enter the museum. I think this policy is amazing for a few reasons. First, it makes art accessible to everyone.
No matter your financial situation, you can still enjoy and appreciate the wonderful artwork on display at the museum.
Second, it allows people to pay what they feel comfortable with. If someone is only able to pay a few dollars, that’s perfectly fine.
And third, it shows that the museum is generous and cares about its community. If you’re ever in Phoenix on a Wednesday, make sure to take advantage of this great opportunity to visit the Phoenix Art Museum!
Visiting With Kids
If you are visiting the Phoenix Art Museum with kids, there are a few things you should know in order to make the most of your visit.
- First, admission is free for all kids who are under 5 years old.
- If your child is just 6 to 17 years old, the museum charges just $5/ea
- The museum offers a family guide in order to help you navigate the museum and find family-friendly activities. You can get the guide at Visitor Services.
- The specially-themed scavenger hunts can be a fun way for kids to explore the museum.
So, these are a few tips to keep in mind if you are visiting the Phoenix Art Museum with kids.
At the Phoenix Art Museum, you are allowed to take still photographs for personal, non-commercial use.
However, you are not allowed to photograph any permanent collection pieces or any works that are on loan.
You should also refrain from using flash photography. So, when visiting the Museum, be sure to keep these photography guidelines in mind.
Cafe At The Museum
The Phoenix Art Museum is a great place to enjoy a meal while surrounded by beautiful art. If you are not aware, the museum has an excellent cafe called Palette that serves simple entrees that are perfect for lunch or dinner.
The cafe also has a patio area that overlooks the Dorrance Sculpture Garden, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal on a sunny day.
The sandwiches and salads are all made with fresh ingredients and the menu changes seasonally to reflect what is currently in season.
The cafe also offers a Sunday brunch that is definitely worth checking out.
The bottom line is, if your itinerary includes a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, make sure to save some time to enjoy a meal at Palette cafe. You won’t be disappointed!
The Phoenix Art Museum is also a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. There is a shop on site that has a wide variety of items, including children’s gifts which are perfect for a family visit. You can find stylish décor, art books, and even items that are locally made.
So, when you are on a trip and need to find a gift for someone special, the Phoenix Art Museum should be your first stop!