Expanding for our Community

The Trout Museum of Art is excited to announce we are exploring the idea of designing a new, one-story, 30,000 square-foot museum in Appleton. TMA is the Fox Cities largest center for the visual arts. A place to learn about and talk about art.

This major expansion will see new art education and exhibition opportunities brought to the community. Continue reading for an in-depth look at why the Trout Museum of Art is looking to expand and where.

New Building Project Q & A

Why is the Trout Museum of Art exploring a new building?

The current 100-year-old home of the Trout Museum of Art cannot support the organization without significant investments. Built as a furniture store in 1922, the current layout was not designed as a gallery or education space. A new facility will allow the Trout Museum of Art to expand its programming and extend its mission to inspire and connect all people through creativity and the visual arts.

Some key features that will be addressed in a new facility:

  • Taller gallery walls will expand the opportunity for larger works.
  • A one-floor configuration will make the need for a larger freight elevator obsolete, making artwork movement throughout the museum safer.
  • Dedicated artwork drop-off zone for safe delivery. Currently, artists or delivery trucks park along the street and walk their work into the museum from down the street and through Houdini Plaza. New configuration will keep art from the elements.
  • Expanded gallery space, allowing for more exhibitions at once and staggering installation timeframes.
  • Expanded space for community gathering, lecture space, and classroom activity.
  • A dedicated safe spot for youth drop-off for classes and summer camps.

Reclaiming Identity Exhibition

A facility review performed by Hoffman Planning, Design, and Construction determined that the current Trout Museum of Art building needed almost $2,000,000 in immediate repairs to bring the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems up-to-date and to museum-quality levels.

The board of directors considered current and future re-investments in conjunction with the current building design and configuration and concluded to pursue the idea of a new building.

Where will the new TMA be located?

TMA has started the search for a new building site, exploring a number of locations with an overall goal of staying in Downtown Appleton. After an extensive search, the museum’s first choice is a co-location of the museum within the Ellen Kort Peace Park on Water St.

The below conceptual site plan presented by BOLDT shows how this relationship could work. The concept plan takes into account many of the public comments heard over the past few months, along with the original design for the park. Part of the museum’s proposal with the city includes an opportunity to help maintain the park and get it developed years ahead of schedule.

The Trout Museum of Art has a wonderful relationship with the City of Appleton and looks forward to discussing the possibilities for a partnership.

Explore cultural centers located in parks or on waterfronts.

Potential for a nature and art collaboration.

The park location would be an opportunity to place the Trout Museum of Art in the heart of the City of Appleton’s aspirations to extend downtown to the waterfront. It is common for cultural centers to be located in parks, along county trails, or on rivers and lakes. This will offer the opportunity for joint art and nature learning. This public-private partnership approach provides an exciting new destination opportunity that combines arts, culture, environment, and history.

Cities often lease parkland for sports, culture, art, and other activities that the cities believe would benefit their communities. Appleton has done this in the past. Appleton Ice, Inc. is a non-profit organization that operates Appleton Family Ice Center (AFIC) in Appleton’s Memorial Park. The Trout Museum of Art would like to discuss with the City of Appleton the idea of leasing land in the park for a new nonprofit art museum.

Aerial view of the Appleton Family Ice Center

What locations were evaluated?

The museum has explore many location options and it is our strong desire to remain in Downtown Appleton.

Other locations evaluated were determined to be insufficient for building needs or unavailable. Locations included the Former CVS Site on College Ave, Wells Fargo Parking/Drive Thru, Four Parking Lots North of College Ave Life Church, City Center / City Center East, U.S. Venture Sites, Former Valmet Site in the Flats, Neenah Paper Parking Lot, and Lawe Street at the Locks.

What will happen to the current Trout Museum of Art building?

The Trout Museum of Art will operate in its current location at 111 W College Ave, Appleton until it relocates to a new building. At that point, the current building will be sold, and the proceeds used to help fund the costs of the new location.

The current Trout Museum of Art real estate is tax-exempt for charitable nonprofit use. It will return to the City tax rolls when sold to a private party. The future site in Ellen Kort Peace Park is already tax-exempt and will remain so under the new plan. The museum’s move is tax-revenue-neutral while the overall net result for the City of Appleton is tax-revenue-positive.

What activities will happen at the new Trout Museum of Art?

The Trout Museum of Art’s vision to energize the love of art will not change, but its possibilities will be catalyzed. The number one reason people visit the Trout Museum of Art is to see an exhibit. In the new building, TMA will host more exhibitions in a year, giving more opportunities for exhibits to build momentum with the public and for people to visit from near and far.

TMA will continue to offer its popular summer camps, classes, and workshops throughout the year in both indoor and outdoor settings. Art education is a critical component of TMA’s programming. State-of-the-art classrooms will expand the museum’s class offerings and make teaching and learning about art a fantastic experience.

TMA will expand on its weekly and monthly free educational programs to demographics that benefit from the healing effects of art. TMA currently offers these programs in partnership with organizations below and will work to expand partnerships and reach with key groups of the community.

• SPARK! Alliance – for adults with memory loss
• Outagamie County Youth & Family Services & Shelter Care – for at-risk youth
• New Partnership with Harbor House – for domestic abuse victims.

For over 60 years, TMA has presented Art at the Park for local residents and visitors in Appleton’s historic City Park with 200+ artists, food vendors, and more than 30,000 people attending. This summertime art festival will continue to be hosted in City Park on the fourth weekend in July with art, food, music, and entertainment.

How does the Trout Museum of Art’s location in the Ellen Kort Peace Park fit with the park vision?

The currently undeveloped park has a wonderful plan for future development. BOLDT architects used this plan as a base for designing how the museum would fit within the park.

The museum’s plan utilizes the same circle gathering lawns, future pedestrian bridge crossing, and even the potential for moving the park’s quilt garden to the top of the museum with park access.

Will the new museum building impact views of the river?

The City’s walking trail will be located between the building and the river so views will not be affected. The single-story building will be a beautiful addition to this riverfront park and will provide amenities to increase the enjoyment of the park and riverfront.

The building, located at the south end of the park, will act as a buffer between the Peace Park and the train tracks and parking.

How large will the museum be?

The museum will be more functional and fit in the neighborhood better with a one-story, 30,000 sq ft. building. The facilities will include multiple galleries, state-of-the-art classrooms, and an Artist in Residence studio. It will also provide opportunities for gathering indoors and outside to celebrate art and art-making.

How much will the museum cost and who will pay for it?

Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout have contributed five million dollars for this building with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, which is held in a restricted fund exclusively for the support of this project. The building project also will rely upon our generous philanthropic community to provide charitable donations to make this dream a reality for our community. A future capital campaign will be announced.

Who will own the parkland?

The City of Appleton will continue to own the park property beneath the new museum building. The Trout Museum of Art will lease the land from the city. It is common to find art museums and cultural centers in parks in the U.S. We’re excited to potentially work in collaboration with the Parks and Recreation and Facilities Department to make the parkland a beautiful addition to our city landscape.

How will the Trout Museum of Art operate?

The Trout Museum of Art has been a privately funded 501(c)3 organization since 1966 and will remain so after we move to our new location. It will own the building and its leasehold improvements while the City of Appleton will retain ownership of the land beneath it. As a non-profit art organization, the museum’s goal is to serve the public trust and our community,

Who is building the new facility for the Trout Museum of Art?

Dr. and Mrs. Trout greatly admired and appreciated Mr. Oscar C. Boldt’s commitment to the Trout Museum of Art. They requested that along with their financial gift, the Museum board of directors retain the Boldt Company to construct the new museum. The Museum board of directors agreed. Boldt architects are working with the museum and the city and also listening to community as they develop concept plans for the new museum.

PR Contact

Ashley Acker
Trout Museum of Art
Marketing Manager