History

 

Who We Are

The Longview Museum of Fine Arts is a non-profit organization which seeks to create interest in, and promote knowledge of, the visual arts throughout the City of Longview and vicinity by exhibiting, interpreting and
preserving works of art and providing educational opportunities to a diverse audience.

In 1958, the Junior League of Longview, knowing that every great city has cultural arts, began the long process of starting an art museum. Upon the recommendation of Jerry Bywaters, Dallas Museum of Art Executive Director at the time, the League ladies began conducting annual art Invitational competitions among area artists. By purchasing the winning pieces each year, the League acquired more than 50 paintings, and in 1972 the museum received its charter as the Longview Museum and Art Center. The paintings were originally housed at the Nicholson Memorial Library and later moved to the former Northcutt Furniture Store building on College Street, one of the five locations that have been home to the museum.

In January 1998, 40 years after its inception, the museum moved to its present location on Tyler Street. Today, the museum is planning one final move. February 25, 2021, LMFA sold its current home and purchased the former mid-century modern Regions Bank Building across from the courthouse. This purchase and move will aid in fulfilling the Board’s vision and mission to create a world-class regional destination museum that will “enrich lives and ignite a passion for the arts.” The museum will operate in its current home through 2022 with the goal of opening in its new location in January 2023. In 2005, with land donations from Ann Lowman, and Charlotte and John Wrather, LMFA created the JT Smith Sculpture Garden. In 2018 with the help of Ralph Pelaia and others the garden was redesigned and named the Pelaia Plaza JT Smith Sculpture Garden. The garden serves as a much needed green space respite for the community in the heart of downtown with a performance stage surrounded by beautiful landscape and outdoor sculpture.

LMFA’s Permanent Collection of nearly 1,000 works of art includes paintings, woodcuts, photographs, sculpture, lithographs, serigraphs, collages, and works on paper. Works center on early Texas Regional art from the 1930s -1970s. The museum’s collecting philosophy makes room for consideration of all culturally and historically significant works from the 19th century to the present. Alongside emerging contemporary artists, internationally established artists, such as Warhol and Picasso, are also represented in our collection and temporary exhibitions. The museum hosts 9-12 curated exhibitions per year featuring Texas-based artists, as well as artists from other parts of our Nation. In addition, our permanent staff of four professionals host the annual LMFA Student Invitational which spotlights works from students enrolled in up to seventeen area high schools in the four-county market.

The Museum is nurtured by the outreach activities of its ArtWorks Creative Learning Center which offers docent-led tours for individuals, schools, and community organizations, in addition to art classes and workshops throughout the year for adults and children. The ArtWorks studio also hosts various East Texas artist groups such as the ABC Artist Group, East Texas Watercolor Society, Longview Clay Club, and Life Drawing.