The mission of the Birmingham Museum of Art is to spark the creativity, imagination, and liveliness of Birmingham by connecting all its citizens to the experience, meaning, and joy of art.
View This Year’s Stats
A combination of 26,156 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, works on paper, photography, and videos comprise the Museum’s collection of art from around the world which spans from ancient to modern times and includes Asian, European, American, African, Pre-Columbian, and Native American art.
The BMA’s dynamic Studio School classes taught 260 emerging artists to sculpt, paint, draw, and sketch, using art from our exhibitions and collection as inspiration for a wide range of art classes.
Education is at the core of what we do and this year, the BMA offered 592 tours, programs, services, and workshops free of charge to members of the Birmingham community.
Members & Volunteers
As the only global collection in Alabama, the BMA is central to the cultural vibrancy of our community. Our continued success is the result of a supportive community, a membership base of more than 2,669 households, and a volunteer program of nearly 200 individuals who provided a combined total of 3,166 volunteer hours to the Museum.
As research continues to prove that art builds empathy and enhances cognitive thinking, the Birmingham Museum of Art provided 14,548 children with engaging art experiences both in and outside the Museum walls.
Culture Bridge Resources
At the beginning of the global pandemic when students and teachers were faced with virtual instruction, the BMA promptly launched 72 art-related digital learning resources on its new Culture Bridge platform.
Before the BMA closed to the public due to the global pandemic, we proudly offered free admission to 82,139 visitors. The central part of our mission is to ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to high-quality art experiences.
Social Media Presence
The BMA has an increasingly large social media presence among Alabama’s cultural institutions with 91,191 individuals following Museum activities and updates.
Specially-trained docents guided 23 veterans through the Museum’s collection with Sensory Empowerment Program (SEP) tours. Using verbal descriptions, tactile models based on original artworks, specially selected sculptures, and music, these tours allow visitors to experience art in a way they may not be able to on their own.
Our interactive family gallery, Bart’s ArtVenture, welcomed 10,694 children. This colorful and dynamic space introduces children to art concepts and the BMA’s collection through hands-on learning, special exhibitions, and art making projects.
32 teenagers participated in our Teen BMA program which encourages young creatives to get engaged with the Museum at an early age and empowers them to create opportunities for other young people to get involved in the arts.
smartguide Stops Visits
38,913 visits to our smartguide stops. The smartguide enhances each visit by supplementing art works with informative content ranging from quick guides to artists, interactive images, audio, video, games, and more.
In one year, our team produced 15 digital and in-person exhibitions representing work by artists around the world and here in Birmingham. All were offered free of charge to the public.
Beginning with the winter 2018 issue, we committed to including the annual report from the previous fiscal year in Medium, our member magazine, as a way of living up to the standards of transparency and accountability that are central to the integrity of public institutions and are core values of this city’s administration. The annual report not only provides us with a platform through which to share our finances with our supporters, but also with an important opportunity to thank all those whose contributions of funds or works of art have advanced this museum and enhanced its collections.
When the burgeoning pandemic caused the Birmingham Museum of Art to shutter on Sunday, March 15, 2020, we immediately set to work devising and implementing ways we could still have a meaningful impact on the community we serve. We were heartened to find that even while our brick-and-mortar presence was closed, we could still fulfill our mission of connecting people with the experience, meaning, and joy of art. It is in this spirit that going forward our “Annual Report” will be called our “Impact Report.” The English-born American author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek once stated, “Genius is in the idea. Impact, however, comes from action.” Our talent- ed team of museum professionals is full of great ideas, but it’s how we put those ideas to work for our community that really matters.
This Impact Report covers the fiscal year from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, comprising a nine- month period of “normal” operations and a three-month period when all of our programming went virtual. During that period, the BMA presented Barbie: Dreaming of a Female Future, an immense- ly popular exhibition that took a critical look at Barbie on the occasion of her 60th anniversary by showing artists’ interpretations of Barbie in a life-size dream house, created by women artists and makers. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Warner Foundation, as well as many other supporters, we had the privilege of showing Blackout: Silhouettes Then and Now, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, which traced the fascinating history of this time-hon- ored art form in the United States and showed how silhouettes are still being used by artists today in poignant and inventive ways.
Concurrent with Blackout, our Ways of Seeing series continued with a focus on portraiture, drawing broadly on our permanent collection from a rare Renaissance-era portrait to contem- porary photography to examine how artists have pictured themselves and others across time.
Especially deserving of mention is the exhibition Celestia Morgan: Redline—presented by The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family—a series of photographs and small sculptures by the Birmingham- based artist Celestia Morgan, in which she explores the impact of housing discrimination wrought by the practice of “redlining” Black, Latino, and Jewish neighborhoods as “undesirable,” making access to bank financing all but impossible for their residents. Recently, AL.com named Morgan one of “Alabama’s 2020 Entertainers of the Year,” writing, “[I]n a year when art institutions around the country are issuing symbols and statements of solidarity amid calls for racial justice, Morgan’s exhibit shows that art is one of the most powerful forms of bearing witness.” Thanks to funding from the Sperling Family Charitable Foundation in memory of David and Natalie Sperling, the Museum was able to acquire Morgan’s entire Redline series for its permanent collection.
The Museum gratefully acknowledges the exceptional service of James Outland, who stepped down as chairman of the Board of Directors at the end of the 2019–2020 fiscal year after serv- ing four years in the role, in which capacity he shepherded the Museum through the leadership transition of its executive director. A member of the board since 2012, James continues to serve on the Museum board’s Executive Committee. On July 1, 2020, Maye Head Frei, chairman of Birmingham-based Ram Tool Construction Supply Company, assumed duties as Museum board chair. Frei has served on the board since 2012, most recently as chair of the Governance Committee. Additionally, the Museum wishes to express its deep appreciation to outgoing long- time board members Nan Skier, Dr. George French, and Judge Houston Brown for their unwav- ering dedication to this institution during their tenure. Thanks are also due to Carol Clarke, John Montgomery, Kimberly Richardson, Andy Robison, and Sonja Q. Smith for their service as annual members during the 2019–2020 fiscal year. Ms. Richardson, president and owner of Kimberly Richardson Consulting, LLC, specializing in federal grants writing, will continue on after being unanimously approved by the board to serve out a vacant unexpired term, while Mr. Robison will serve in an “of counsel” capacity.
Despite or perhaps even because of the challenges we faced in the last quarter of the fiscal year, the Birmingham Museum of Art’s commitment to its mission is stronger than ever. We hope you will enjoy reading how we’ve impacted our community, and want you to know that without your loyal support, none of it would have been possible.