To enrich our community through transformative arts and educational experiences
Sun Valley Museum of Art has enriched our community through transformative arts and educational experiences for over 50 years. Thank you for your support and involvement.
Since 1971, we have served this community—a community that is curious about the world and eager for arts and cultural experiences. We’ve welcomed amazing artists and thinkers. We’ve provided generations of local students with a strong foundation in the arts. We’ve connected our community through creativity, conversation and BIG IDEAS.
We are so grateful to our many supporters as we reflect on our past 50 years and look ahead to 100 years.
At this pivotal point in our history, we proudly honor our heritage while we look to a dynamic and bright future.
The Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, now called the Sun Valley Museum of Art, was founded in 1971 on the belief that a community cannot be built solely from the presence of a beautiful mountain but needs arts and culture to be both vital and sustainable. Since its founding SVMoA has aspired to enrich our community through transformative arts and educational experiences. As the oldest arts organization in the Wood River Valley and one of only five institutions in Idaho accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, SVMoA serves as the Wood River Valley’s cultural anchor, bringing families, friends, visitors and residents together for shared arts experiences. We offer exceptional year-round programming in visual arts, music, film, and the humanities.
Over the last 50 years, Sun Valley Museum of Art has grown from a handful of people presenting classes and events to a professional arts organization that serves more than 40,000 patrons every year. The original campus of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities was established on land deeded by Bill Janss, owner of Sun Valley Company (1964-1977). Back in the early days when the Union Pacific Railroad owned Sun Valley Resort, the 6-acre property along Trail Creek was the site of kennels where the resort’s sled dogs were kept. For several years, SVMoA flourished at this location as a facility for high-level fine arts residencies. Many of the artists and faculty that worked at SVMoA in its first two decades have gone on to achieve celebrated careers.
Today Sun Valley Museum of Art located in Ketchum has become a cornerstone of the Wood River Valley’s rich and diverse arts scene. Our commitment to education and this community has never wavered and is reflected in programmatic choices that cultivate dialogue around relevant regional and national issues. Recognized as a thought leader in our state and region, our exhibition program is nimble and responsive, considering subjects that enhance our community’s understanding of place or current moment. As a non-collecting institution, SVMoA is uniquely suited to invite the most appropriate artists to explore the specifics of a topic or an issue and we regularly offer opportunities to artists and musicians to develop new work.
Sun Valley Museum of Art’s goals are guided by our core values and reflect our desire to be a place of education and discovery as well as a vehicle through which people can exercise their curiosity and creativity. SVMoA's purpose is to engage the whole community through arts and ideas, shaping our programs to encourage connection, conversation and active reflection.
SVMoA is deeply committed to adult and K-12 arts education. In addition to year-round lectures, workshops and classes for adults, and our robust partnerships with local schools enable us to bring artists and authors and musicians into direct contact with students in area classrooms. Our many outreach programs supplement the school curriculum through the Classroom Enrichment Program, in-school Professional Artist Residencies, Student Exhibition Tours, as well as Scholarships and Professional Development Opportunities for local students and educators.
Our core values serve as guiding principles that shape the organizational choices we make.
We continuously strive to excel in programmatic and operational effectiveness.
We offer compelling programming that stimulates the imagination, advances creativity and promotes new perspectives.
We provide educational opportunities that enable all segments of our community to discover, re-discover and sustain the joy of learning.
We help build an engaged and connected community through transformative experiences that are accessible and inclusive.
We care for the resources entrusted to us through best practices in all we do.
Providing Arts and Education for the Whole Community Statement on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion
Sun Valley Museum of Art is actively working to serve our community through programs that reflect our commitment to diversity, our belief in the importance of equity, and our desire to be a place that is both accessible and inclusive. We seek to enrich our community through transformative arts and educational experiences with these values at the forefront of our programming and as filters for how we make decisions at the board and staff level. With the belief that the arts can transform the lives of individuals and communities, SVMoA enthusiastically takes on the work of implementing the values of DEAI at every level or the organization.
We recognize that we are at the beginning of a process that will be ongoing—one that will guide us as we shape a future that is welcoming to all. Our goal is that as SVMoA works to amplify a diversity of voices, those at every level of the organization—staff, board, audience, artist—feel valued for who they are as individuals and for the unique perspectives they bring to SVMoA.
As one of the leading arts organizations in the Wood River Valley and within the state of Idaho, SVMoA embraces the work of implementing the values of DEAI with the knowledge that we serve a largely rural state, and that we are located far from the nearest urban center. We exist in a county in which more than 30% of the population identifies as Hispanic/Latinx, a county with both Idaho’s highest per capita income and the state’s greatest economic inequality. We acknowledge that we live and work on the homelands of the Shoshone and Bannock peoples, and their use of these lands, past, present and future.
We undertake our path toward an SVMoA that reflects our commitment to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion through the following steps:
- Remaining self-reflective as we acknowledge our role in and our power to work to dismantle systems that allow discrimination and inequity to exist in our society
- Continuing our commitment to free museum admission and to offering as many of our programs as possible at low or no cost
- Using the values of DEAI as filters for developing programs as we seek to bring a diversity of artists to the Wood River Valley in order to serve a wide range of audiences
- Recognizing our responsibility for supporting the work of historically underrepresented artists, including those who are women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+, and for sharing their work with our audiences
- Establishing goals for increased diversity and equity at the board and staff levels, creating a timeline for achieving those goals, and beginning the process of implementing them
- Developing practices aimed at recruiting and hiring a more diverse staff with a focus on where and how we advertise positions at SVMoA, establishing standards for equitable pay, and re-examining educational requirements for some positions
- Continuing our work with SVMoA’s Hispanic/Latinx Advisory Council to develop programs with the valley’s Spanish-speaking community, compensating the members of the council for their time and work
- Investing resources into expanded bilingual programming and communications with a goal of producing Spanish-language materials for all our programs
- Continuing to collaborate with indigenous artists and organizations and with organizations dedicated to environmental health and sustainability when producing projects that focus on the American West
- Seeking opportunities for partnerships and collaboration with organizations that will increase our reach in the community as we increase theirs, drawing on our neighbors’ expertise as we share ours
- Expanding our programming out into our community, beyond the walls of The Museum itself, to ensure we reach a geographically diverse audience, including those who live in neighboring rural counties
- Using our position as a trusted organization with a long history in the Wood River Valley to work alongside other local organizations to advocate for equity and inclusion for those who are marginalized in our community
- Evaluating our ability to serve those with disabilities and implementing aids to accessibility when possible
This process will be one of perpetual learning and experimentation. While we recognize that mistakes may be made, we will hold ourselves accountable and recommit ourselves toward a future in which the artists with whom we work and every member of our staff, board and audiences feel valued by and proud ownership of SVMoA.
SVMoA’s museum and administrative offices are located in Ketchum. We also operate a facility in Hailey: a historic home that was the birthplace of Ezra Pound and a state-of-the-art, freestanding classroom.
SVMoA’s current strategic plan includes a commitment to design, build, and remodel facilities to advance our programmatic promise including realizing a dynamic museum building. We continue to explore opportunities to build or remodel a new space that will engage more people on a deeper level, create more immersive experiences, and ensure accessibility for everyone in our community.
During the early 1970s, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, now Sun Valley Museum of Art, recruited highly regarded art and humanities faculty from all over the country to come to the Wood River Valley to teach, collaborate and share their expertise. The Center, as it was known, established the Wood River Valley’s first art gallery and taught intensive classes in photography, printmaking and ceramics for students from across the nation. Dance and theater workshops offered a broader arts experience, and conferences held by the Institute of the American West attracted prominent historians, academics and authors and an audience hungry for knowledge of the Western experience. Because of the Janss Corporation’s commitment to developing a year-round resort and attracting second homeowners to the area, an expanded community began to demand and support SVMoA’s programs.
In the mid-1980s, a decrease in federal funding for the arts forced SVMoA to closely examine its programs and finances. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors chose to restructure the programs to better align with its financial capabilities and the growing community’s needs. The Center’s philosophy was also redefined, with arts and educational opportunities for the local community taking priority. With this goal in mind, the organization redesigned its art workshops to appeal to a broader segment of the community and made a commitment to present the talents of nationally and internationally recognized artists in the visual arts, the performing arts and the humanities.
Today, SVMoA is nationally recognized for its unique, multidisciplinary BIG IDEA programming. The directors of SVMoA’s visual arts, performing arts, and education and humanities programs, work in tandem with the Artistic Director to develop three or four BIG IDEA projects each year that explore relevant themes from a variety of perspectives. Inviting the whole community to participate in conversation, recent BIG IDEAS include refugees, the brain, Rock and Roll, the meaning of gender in the 21st century, the Camas Prairie and play and social structures.
In 2006, Sun Valley Museum of Art received accreditation from the American Association of Museums in recognition of its adherence to the highest standards of operation and programming. Only 5 percent of America’s arts and cultural institutions share this distinction.
In January 2013, SVMoA's Board of Directors approved a merger with Company of Fools, a long-standing and award-winning professional theatre company. Together, the two nonprofits deepened their multidisciplinary art offerings for many years.
In 2016, SVMoA received a generous donation of the Liberty Theatre, from Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, who had owned the property since 1995. The theatre provided an anchor for arts and theatrical programming in Hailey. In 2021, after 7 years of joint programming, the theatre company and Sun Valley Museum of Art mutually agreed to become two independent 501c3 arts organizations. Out of that decision, a newly organized theatre company emerged. CLICK HERE for more information.
The Liberty Theatre Company is carrying on the legacy of Company of Fools with new leadership and a fresh mission but with the familiar faces of many beloved local actors. CLICK HERE to learn more about TLTC.
In June of 2021 SVMoA’s Board of Directors developed a revised Strategic Plan for the organization (2021-2024) that commits to growth in 6 key areas: Strengthening Organizational Leadership, Ensuring Financial Stability, Deepening Programmatic Breadth, Expanding Public Relations, Building and Broadening Relationships and Realizing a new Facility. (Link to Strategic Plan)
David Henry HwangwangHwant
Miranda JulyMichael Chabon
James B. Stewart
Kirk Wallace Johnson
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Terry Tempest Williams
Sir Salman Rushdie
N. Scott Momaday
*exclusive of Institute of the American West conferences
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ririe Woodbury Dance
Turtle Island String Quartet
The Staple Singers
Paul Winter Consort
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Vienna Choir Boys
Northern Rockies Folk Festival – 20+ years of presenting
The Campbell Brothers
International Guitar Night
The War & Treaty
Pedrito Martinez & Alfredo Rodriguez
Lake Street Dive
Gregory Alan Isakov
Tedeschi Trucks Band
The Avett Brothers
Dinh Q. Le
Marion Post Wolcott
Carrie Mae Weems
Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities Incorporation
Jim Belson hired as first Executive Director
First invitational Arts & Crafts Festival
First Institute of the American West Conference: Native American Thought
Artist Workshops and Resident Masters: Ceramics (Jim Romberg), Photography (Cherie Hiser), Dance (Diane Hall)
Ceramic Workshops with Richard Shaw, Ken Little, Rudy Autio, Bob Shay, Don Reitz, David Middlebrook
Photo Workshops with Duane Michals, Mark Klett, Ellen Manchester
First Northern Rockies Folk Festival
Center Gallery opens in old Church at 3rd and Leadville in Ketchum
Tina Barney, Amanda Jaffe and Linda Kaumeyer in exhibition
Jim Romberg and Paul Soldner in exhibition
First annual Sun Valley Wine Auction
First Annual Wood River Music Festival
Terry Allen Concert with Mike Henderson, William Wiley, Terry Allen, Mike Henderson, William Wegman & William Wiley in exhibition, Paradox
Jo Harvey Allen Counter Angel performance
Print Dept. releases Indian Self Rule portfolio in conjunction with Institute of the American West conference, artists: David P. Bradley, N. Scott Momaday, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Darren Vigil, and R. Lee White
Print Dept releases Potters and Prints portfolio with Akio Takamori, Robert Sperry, Kirk Mangus, Jenny Lind and Richard Shaw
Harry Kipper and Karen Finley in A Streetcar Named Potato performance
Cowboy Poetry conference, Hal Cannon, Director Institute of the American West,
Otto Piene commission of the Neon Rainbow
Christo and Jeanne-Claude lecture
Dale Chihuly exhibition
Center ceases residency programs on Trail Creek property and moves to Walnut Ave Mall
Sam Francis exhibition
First Annual I See by Your Outfit that You are A Cowboy exhibition
Dizzy Gillespie with Miriam Makeba concert, Trail Creek
Terry Tempest Williams lecture
Allen Ginsberg Reading
Center moves to current location from Walnut Ave Mall
End of Nature Lecture with Bill McKibben
Scholarship Program for High School students initiated
Arden Trio in residence biannually (thru 2003)
Looking at Photography exhibition, Smooke collection
First BIG IDEA exhibitions and traveling exhibitions: Uncovered and Recovered: Women Artists in the Modernist Tradition
After Lewis and Clark: Explorer Artists and the American West
Gaze of Hate BIG IDEA wins Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts
Class offerings: Willow Chair making with Don King, Painting with Ted Villa, En Plein Air with Connie Borup
Dos Culturas BIG IDEA
The Whole Salmon exhibition, travels to Boise Art Museum
Gay V. Weake and educator scholarships initiated
The Vanishing: Re-presenting the Chinese in the American West BIG IDEA
Ezra Pound House donated to The Center
Ethos Percussion in residence
Center receives museum accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums
The Mystical Arts of Tibet BIG IDEA
Family Day programs begin
Hailey Classroom Built with funds from the Wine Auction, dedicated to Benjamin and Theresa Castellano-Wood
Michael Chabon Lecture as part of Superheroes BIG IDEA
Purchase of Lot across street from PO in Ketchum
Gloria Steinem Lecture and Lunch as part of Domestic Life BIG IDEA
Modern Parallels: Paintings of Mary Henry and Helen Lundeberg exhibition
James Taylor and Carole King concert, River Run
Sir Salman Rushdie Lecture
Patrick Dougherty willow sculpture, Centerpiece, on Center Lot, Ketchum
Crossing Cultures: Ethnicity in Contemporary America BIG IDEA
The Center merges with Company of Fools
In-School Enrichment Program starts
Under the Influence of Rock and Roll BIG IDEA
Company of Fools productions of Enchanted April, Shirley Valentine, Peter and the Starcatcher
Role Play: Reimagining Gender in the 21st Century BIG IDEA
Donation of the Liberty Theatre
Craters of the Moon project, including two permanent sculptures for the City of Ketchum
George Saunders Lecture
Craft Series Workshops begins
Company of Fools produces Woody Guthrie’s American Song in conjunction with This Land is Whose Land BIG IDEA
Jon Meacham Lecture, in partnership with The Community Library
Sweet Remains in residency in Blaine County Schools
Name change to Sun Valley Museum of Art
Camas Prairie BIG IDEA, including long-term commissioned sculpture
SVMoA celebrates its 50 years of creativity, connection, and community
To clarify who we are:
We are a museum. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts was an American Alliance of Museums accredited museum since 2006, a professional designation of best practices held by fewer than 5% of museums in the United States (only five of which are in Idaho). The name Sun Valley Museum of Art emphasizes our commitment to professional presentation and engagement, honors our participating artists and elevates our audience’s expectations. We have made a choice to be a non-collecting museum which allows us to be more responsive to our community and the contemporary moment. All the artwork that is presented in our exhibitions is on loan to us from generous artists, galleries, collectors and museums. Our accreditation assures those lenders that their work will be presented with care and professionalism.
To deliver on our mission:
Education is at the heart of all our programs. We are committed to creating arts programs that lead conversations, explore ideas, inspire wonder and build connections in our community. Museums are a place for discovery and collaborative learning. Education empowers action and inspires change—at home and across the globe.
To celebrate the modern museum:
Museums today aren’t just buildings—they are dynamic and interactive places of learning. Sun Valley Museum of Art is part of a league of 21st-century museums that embrace the importance of creating experiences for their visitors. SVMoA offers multidisciplinary programs to educate, engage and inspire. SVMoA invites multiple generations to participate in intellectual and exploratory hands-on programs. Our exhibitions include artwork by nationally and internationally known artists, and we regularly commission new work from recognized artists. The new name will signpost the quality of the work inside and communicate our commitment to providing transformative arts and educational experiences.
The contemporary museum designation implies a place for learning, not a repository of materials. We are a non-collecting museum, allowing us to focus on timely, relevant and engaging programs and exhibitions that resonate with our community. We can curate with flexibility, changing our exciting exhibitions five times a year while addressing BIG IDEAS that are challenging, interesting and current.
Even better? There’s a cool word for our approach: kunsthalle. SVMoA is a kunsthalle (German for “art hall” or “art shed”), a non-collecting institution that presents art on loan from other institutions or individuals. The kunsthalle approach affords a museum freedom to program without allegiance to or responsibility for a collection and to curate exhibitions and programs that are responsive to the contemporary moment.
The approach also allows for leaner overhead expenses so SVMoA can focus on creating an amazing experience for you—not on acquisitions, storage, recordkeeping, and conservation. Curators and artistic directors are free to present coherent thematic exhibitions that are part of larger multidisciplinary BIG IDEA projects.
SVMoA EXHIBITIONS REGULARLY INCLUDE WORK BY NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN ARTISTS, AND WE OFTEN COMMISSION NEW WORK FROM ARTISTS:
- Vija Celmins
- Michal Rovner
- Alfredo Jaar
- Dinh Q. Lê
- Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle
- Vik Muniz
- Martha Rosler
- Kiki Smith
- Xu Bing
- Andrea Zittel
- Mark Dion
- Spencer Finch
- Emmet Gowin
- Lesley Dill
- Marie Watt
SPECIAL PROJECTS AND COMMISSIONS
- Allan McCollum
- Camille Utterback
- Binh Danh
- John Grade
- Jason Middlebrook
- Patrick Dougherty
- Hung Liu
- Kim Abeles
- Sopheap Pich
19th AND 20th CENTURY ARTISTS
- Lee Mullican
- Charles Burchfield
- Helen Frankenthaler
- Helen Lundeberg
- Agnes Pelton
- Agnes Martin
- Arthur Wesley Dow
- Wolfgang Paalen
- Alfred Stieglitz
- Paul Strand
- Ida O’Keeffe
- George Nakashima
- George Catlin
- Fred Sandbck
- Timothy O’Sullivan
As an accredited museum our mission is to enrich our community through transformative arts and educational experiences.
- BIG IDEA projects and Visual Arts Exhibitions
- K–12 Education Programs in our museum and in area schools
- Youth & Family Education Programs
- Adult Education (in Spanish and English)
- Music, Performance & Film
- Featured Speakers, Talks, Tours and Panel Discussions
- Bilingual and Spanish-only classes and lectures
- Special Events including the Sun Valley Wine Auction
Full list of SVMoA programs:
- BIG IDEA projects & Visual Arts Exhibitions
- Evening Exhibition Tours
- Art History Lectures
- Artist Talks/Lectures
- Gallery Walks
- Panel Discussions
- K–12 Educational Programs:
- Classroom Enrichment Projects
- Student Exhibition Tours
- Professional Artist Residencies
- Student and Educator Scholarships
- Youth & Family Education Programs:
- Teen Workshops
- Kids Summer Art Camps (for students entering grades 3–5 and grades 6–8)
- Afternoon Art (for families with kids ages 5–12)
- Smart Art! After-school Art Program (for students in grades 4 & 5)
- Adult Education:
- Visual Arts Classes & Workshops (Masterclasses & Creative Jump-ins)
- Craft Series Workshops
- Open Studios
- Writing Workshops
- Panel Discussions
- Art History Lectures
- Artist Talks
- Evening Exhibition Tours
- Music, Performance & Film
- Professional Artist Residency Program
- Summer Concert Series
- Performing Arts Series
- Special Engagements/Special Performing Arts Events
- Film Series
- Special Events & Fundraisers:
- Annual Sun Valley Wine Auction
- Guardian Circle special events
- SVMoA Contemporaries special events
Upcoming SVMoA Programs & Events
The People Behind SVMoA
Andrea (Andie) Laporte—President
Ron Greenspan—Vice President
Ellen F. James—Secretary
Kelly Corroon | Adam Elias | Ellen Gillespie | Nancy Goldstein | Anita (Kay) Hardy | Caroline Hobbs | Barbara Lehman | Trina Peters | Jim Reid | Joan Gillespie Swift | Sarah Woodward
Kathy Abelson | Ruth Bloom | Michael Engl | Marybeth Flower
Philip Isles | Glenn Janss | Carol Nie | Van Gordon Sauter
Roselyne Swig | Patricia Wilson | Jeri L. Wolfson