Member Profile: The Yellowstone Art Museum
The Yellowstone Art Museum (formerly Center) opened in 1964 in the former Yellowstone County Jail in Billings, Montana. It was the result of a grassroots artist and community effort, and the building itself was renovated for its new purpose entirely through volunteer effort. It was the first art institution in the region to focus on the progressive art of the present rather than Western genre and historic artifacts.
Since that time, the institution has stayed true to its emphasis on new art stemming from the greater Northwest and has remained the regional leader even as other regional art museums with related missions have been founded. Today the collection has grown to 7,500 art works and archival items, and includes selected examples of Modernist and contemporary American art, exhibited to provide context for local practice. The YAM maintains an active schedule of in-house curated exhibitions, and it provides extensive onsite and outreach art education that is often the only art education available to under-funded and small rural communities.
The institution underwent a major expansion and reopened in 1998, changing its name to Yellowstone Art Museum. In 2010, the YAM opened the Visible Vault-one of only a handful of publicly accessible art storage facilities in the country-which introduces the public to behind-the-scenes processes and builds engagement in and support for cultural preservation. The YAM is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and its trajectory of steady growth has always been marked by strong community support and engagement with artists.
For more information on the collection and the wide range of programming, visit www.artmuseum.org.