Arlington Museum of Art to Relocate to Entertainment District, Set to Open First Exhibition March 30, 2024
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on March 28, 2024, March 28, 2024

Editor's Note: This article was originally published April 12, 2023. The story was updated March 28, 2024, to include a updated information and a video previewing Arlington Museum of Art's opening at its new location.

The Arlington Museum of Art, in collaboration with Exhibits Development Group, Tempora and its Italian partner Civita, will present Pompeii: The Immortal City as the inaugural headline exhibition for its grand opening in the Arlington Entertainment District.

The exhibition, which is made possible by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, and the New AMA will open to the public on March 30, 2024.

“The Arlington Museum of Art is so proud to present Pompeii: The Immortal City as the first major exhibition in our new museum building,” said Chris Hightower, president and CEO of the Arlington Museum of Art. “This is exactly the kind of world-class experience that will demonstrate the capabilities and scale of our new location in the Arlington Entertainment District.”

In its new space, the AMA is multiplying its creative capacity to present a wide variety of traditional, immersive, and interactive exhibitions from around the world.

 The Museum, a Downtown cultural destination for more than 30 years, has sought a larger, more flexible space that would allow it to accommodate a wider variety of exhibits and educational offerings, officials said. Through an agreement approved by the Arlington City Council on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, the Museum plans to relocate to the City’s Esports Stadium and Expo Center, located near Choctaw Stadium and the future National Medal of Honor Museum, March 30, 2024.

“The relocation of the Arlington Museum of Art to The District is meant to be a bold statement,” said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross. “We’re telling the world that Arlington can do it all. We are home to the greatest sports franchises in the country, a Tier One University, the National Medal of Honor Museum, Six Flags Over Texas, and now, a world-class location for our premier art museum.”

The special use agreement will provide the Arlington Museum of Art with approximately 48,000 square feet of flexible space inside the Expo Center compared to the 5,500 square feet available its current home at 201 W. Main St., which is a repurposed store originally built in the 1950s.

"In the last few years, the Arlington Museum of Art has honed its skills as a museum that never stands still," Hightower said. "Every three to four months, we transform our entire space with completely new art exhibitions. Now we have an opportunity to scale way up."

Arlington attracts more than 14.5 million visitors each year thanks largely to the amenities and assets within The District, which is home to Globe Life Field, AT&T Stadium, Texas Live!, Six Flags Over Texas and more. The Museum’s special use agreement for 1200 Ballpark Way complements existing or soon-to-open venues and attractions there. The agreement, which does not affect the 100,000-square-foot Esports Stadium Arlington in the same building, also provides an adaptive use for the City’s older convention space. Arlington’s new 200,000-square-foot Convention Center is set to open as part of the 888-room Loews Arlington Hotel in February 2024.

“The momentum we have seen in Arlington’s Entertainment District over the last five years has been incredible, which is one of the primary reasons this is such a great fit for the Arlington Museum of Art,” said Jay Warren, board chair for the Museum. “There is a great synergy here. The museum will be in a higher visibility location to attract more visitors which will enable us to bring in higher caliber exhibits. At the same time, the Museum’s programming will offer Arlington’s visitors with another option, expanding The District’s offerings.”

Interior improvements to the Expo Center are set to begin this October and be complete by next February. As part of the agreement with the City, the Museum plans to invest approximately $2.9 million to make interior improvements to the Expo Center space, while the City plans to allocate approximately $1.9 million in next year’s budget to improve the common, shared corridor between the Esports Stadium Arlington and the Museum’s new space as well as the western façade of the building.

In support of creating the infrastructure for a state-of-the-art museum, the Museum launched Phase I of its “Outside the Lines: Reimagining the AMA” capital campaign. In Phase II, the campaign will expand its scope to include extensive improvements for the building’s exterior.

Cultural tourism represents a record-breaking $1 trillion for the U.S. economy, and more than 850 million people from around the world visit U.S. museums annually. On average, visitors to the Museum’s major exhibitions hail from at least 40 different states and more than 20 different countries. Last year, the Museum saw its attendance increase 46% over 2021, and Museum officials say they expect exhibition attendance to grow exponentially in a larger space that will allow for traditional, next generation, interactive and immersive exhibitions.

"We are so grateful to the City of Arlington for recognizing that investing in the arts means investing in economic prosperity," Hightower said. "Our new location will allow the museum to not only serve our community but attract between $33 to $38 million annually in non-local spending by 2028."

Under the agreement, the Museum will pay the City a base annual fee of $650,000 plus a revenue share of 10% of each paid ticket up to $3. Arlington will maintain ownership of the building and its ability to book rental business at the Expo Center during any downtime in the Museum’s programming. As a designated “super user” of the Expo Center space, the Arlington Museum of Art will receive priority booking rights to book individual exhibits for several months at a time.

"The new AMA footprint will be eight times larger than our current one,” Hightower said, “allowing us to blend traditional, immersive, interactive and evolving art forms in ways that will inspire, entertain, engage and reflect our community and our world."

Arlington Museum of Art exterior rendering

Caption: In support of creating the infrastructure for a state-of-the-art museum, the Museum launched Phase I of its “Outside the Lines: Reimagining the AMA” capital campaign. For a contemplated future Phase II, the campaign will expand its scope to include extensive improvements for the building’s exterior. These renderings show what those possible Phase II improvements may look like.

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