Expanding for our Community

The Trout Museum of Art (TMA) is excited to explore a new building project with a vision to create a world-class facility and community space that expands access to art and art education in the Fox Cities.

TMA is currently exploring potential locations with a goal to stay in or near Downtown Appleton. Throughout the project, we will continue to share information about important milestones on this page. 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 facility?

The current 100-year-old home of the Trout Museum of Art cannot support the organization without significant investments to the facility. 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 in a facility designed with art, education, and museum programming in mind.

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 these immediate repairs and future investments in conjunction with the current building design and configuration and concluded to pursue the idea of a new building.

Reclaiming Identity Exhibition

Key features that can be addressed in a new facility:

  • Flexible gallery spaces with taller gallery walls will expand the opportunity for larger works.
  • A potential one-floor configuration will make the need for a large 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. In recent years, TMA has utilized every space possible, converting conference rooms and other spaces into a third floor gallery space.
  • Temperature and humidity-controlled galleries and artwork storage, up to current museum standards.
  • Expanded space for community gathering, lecture space, and classroom activity.
  • An expanded art education center will serve students of all ages with numerous art mediums. TMA currently contracts over 20 local artists to teach. In a new 21st century facility, offerings and opportunities to learn will be increased through free and tuition based courses.
  • A dedicated safe spot for youth drop-off for classes and summer camps.

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 or near Downtown Appleton.

What locations have been evaluated?

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

Some locations that were considered, but were deemed insufficient due to space, availability, regulatory concerns, or other means include: the Ellen Kort Peace Park, 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, along with others as well.

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 cost 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.

SPARK! Program

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 current free educational programs to demographics that benefit from the healing effects of art. TMA 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
• Future partnership with Harbor House

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.

Printmaking Workshop

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, held in a restricted fund exclusively for the support of this project at the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. 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 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 TMA board of directors retain the Boldt Company to construct the new facility.

PR Contact

Ashley Acker
Trout Museum of Art
Marketing Manager

Press Releases

March 1, 2023 Update