History of the Trout Museum of Art
At our beginnings in the 1960s, the Appleton Artists Guild set out to provide educational opportunities for local artists, create a suitable viewing gallery, and amass a permanent collection. Sharing and critiquing artwork and technique had been the very first activities pursued by the guild. We established our first gallery on Morrison Street in 1972 as the Appleton Gallery of Art, and moved to our current location on College Avenue as the Appleton Art Center in 2002.
In 2010, Dr. Monroe E. and Sandra Trout gifted their art collection to the Appleton Art Center, along with a $1 million endowment to preserve, protect, and promote the collection. Their generosity fulfilled our longtime hope to have a permanent collection of visual art right here in Northeast Wisconsin. It was at this time our name was changed to the Trout Museum of Art.
Our Historic Building
Our building was built in 1922 as Brettschneider’s Furniture Co. It was owned by the Brettschneiders until 1985 when Lyle Reigel and Paul Heid purchased it and converted it into an office building. Reigel became the sole owner and in 2002, donated it to the Appleton Gallery of Art (now TMA). The layout of the galleries, railings, columns, and stairway are original to the building. The front vestibule expansion was donated by the Boldt Company in 2010. The iconic LED light display on the outside of our building is called Embargoed, created by Sandy Garnett 2013. The, also iconic, origami crane on the building was created by local artist Timm Van Hout in 2017.
In addition to the Trout Museum of Art, which is operated by the Fox Cities Building for the Arts, five other local art organizations currently hold offices in the building: newVoices, the Makaroff Youth Ballet, the Appleton Boychoir, Wisconsin Public Television, and Wisconsin Public Radio.