The San José Museum of Art (SJMA) is a modern and contemporary art museum in downtown San Jose, California , USA. Founded in 1969, the Museum holds a permanent collection of artists from the 20th and 21st centuries on the West Coast. It is located in the Circle of Palms Plaza, next to the Plaza de César Chávez. A member of the North American Reciprocal Museums, SJMA has received a number of awards from the American Alliance of Museums.
The San José Art Museum celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity and inspires connection with every visit. Welcome and thought-provoking, the Museum delights visitors with its surprising and playful outlook on the arts and artists of our time.
SJMA is a leading showcase of modern and contemporary art in the Bay Area. The Museum has earned a reputation for its fresh, distinctive exhibitions designed to engage museum visitors of different ages and cultural backgrounds. Through its exhibitions and programs, SJMA is addressing major trends in international contemporary art , architecture and design, with an ongoing commitment to place the work of California artists in national and international contexts.
The Museum seeks to make significant contributions to the art-historical scholarship; to address prescient issues of interest to the general public; and to offer programs that reflect the rich diversity of its communities. Each year, the Museum presents nine to twelve exhibitions, including one-person and thematic group exhibitions, including a range of works of art, from traditional painting to exploratory new media installations. Given its location at the heart of Silicon Valley’s high-tech culture, the Museum has a strong commitment to new work in the new media as well as to initiate special projects and commissions that reflect issues of importance to its communities.
SJMA is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a recognition given to only 750 of the nation’s 8,000 museums. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on central plaza in downtown San José, SJMA serves 100,000 people a year, including some 40,000 school children: SJMA is the largest provider of arts education in Santa Clara County. Initiatives such as the award-winning school programme.
The San José Museum of Art reflects the diverse cultures and innovative spirit of Silicon Valley. Through its exhibitions, programs, scholarship, and collections, SJMA connects the present and the past, the art of the West Coast and the world. The Museum fosters awareness of artists’ broad contributions to society and engages audiences with the art of our time and the vitality of the creative process.
In 1969—during an era of peace, love, and tie-dye culture — a small group of San Jose citizens gathered together to transform the beautiful old library (threatened by demolition) into a fledgling art gallery. The democratic, grassroots spirit of this community movement has forever shaped the character of the San Jose Art Museum, which remains dedicated to inclusiveness, new thinking and visionary ideals. Unlike older museums, often based on the richness of a few patrons, SJMA ‘s soul reflects the hard work and civic pride of a multitude of supporters and volunteers over the years — of its public.
From the days of flower power to the dawn of the digital world, SJMA has continued to evolve over time. In 1991, a beautiful new wing was added to the landmark 19th-century building, giving way to a growing permanent collection of art, impressive international exhibitions, and an ambitious mission that bridges tradition and innovation. SJMA offers experiences that will delight and engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Here, art nurtures life: it’s a vision that connects minds and hearts.