RAM originated in 1948 under the Arkansas Association of University Women. In 1951 the Associated Artists of Fort Smith evolved and began exhibiting art and holding classes in various locations throughout Fort Smith. In 1960 the old Victorian home was purchased, and in 1968 the Fort Smith Art Center was incorporated. The Art Center offered a valuable service for local and regional artists by offering valuable space for its artists for five decades.
The January 2013 opening of the museum located at 1601 Rogers Avenue in the heart of Fort Smith marks a major turning point for this organization. The new Fort Smith Regional Art Museum offers greatly expanded programming and exhibitions. Arvest Bank made the expansion possible by donating the 16,000 square foot building to RAM in January 2009, following a $211 million dollar buyout of Superior Federal Bank in 2003.
In 2014 RAM won the prestigious 2013 Preservation through Rehabilitation Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, as well as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award. The architects of the newly renovated museum, Polk, Stanley Wilcox, are known for their work such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International World Headquarters, and the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) of Little Rock.
In addition to ongoing exhibitions the museum offers classes for children and adults, lectures, opening receptions, galas, and artist-led workshops. The museum offers facility rentals and a specialty gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind items created by local and regional artists.
The new state-of-the-art Museum meets national standards and presents an exciting opportunity for cultural growth in the region. RAM is climate-controlled and fully equipped to facilitate nationally and internally recognized traveling exhibitions.
Visit our website at fsram.org