Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to visit the Polk Museum of Art?
Admission is free every day thanks to our Strategic Partners:
Does the Museum allow photography?
Photography is allowed in many galleries. Please look for the signs at the entrance to each gallery or ask our Visitor Services staff where photography is prohibited.
What type of art does the Museum exhibit?
The Museum has a diverse collection of more than 2,500 objects. We focus on collecting and exhibiting contemporary art, Asian art, Pre-Columbian art, African art and decorative art. Some of our exhibitions are from our collection but many are from local, nationally and internationally known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Albert Paley, Miriam Schapiro, Donald Sultan, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and many others.
Click the links below to view our exhibitions:
How often do the exhibitions change?
Exhibitions in the main galleries typically change every few months.
How an Idea Becomes an Exhibition
Many people wonder how an exhibition is developed. The answer to that question varies with the type of exhibition involved: whether it is curated (organized) by the museum or on loan from another museum, whether it is made up of pieces the museum owns or is culled from a private collection, and whether it is a one-person show or a group show.
All exhibitions start with an idea. Maybe the Curator has seen the work of a particular artist that he or she likes, and decides to show that artist’s work. Perhaps the Curator has seen a trend in art they would like to see explored. Or, the Curator could have an idea for a central theme for an exhibition (like landscape painting or abstract sculpture). After the Curator decides what the show is about, he or she decides when the exhibition will be on display and begins selecting artworks to be included.
In the case of an exhibition organized by the museum, the Curator contacts art museums, galleries, collectors and artists to determine what artworks are available. At that point, the museum and the lender sign loan agreements to ensure the selected pieces will be committed for the exhibition. After the loan agreements are returned, the Exhibitions Coordinator will begin to arrange the delivery of the artwork. In most cases, the artwork is shipped to the museum using a fine art shipping service; however, if the lender is located close to the museum, members of the Curatorial Department will pack and ship the artworks personally. Once the work is in the building, it must remain in its packing materials for 24 hours. This allows the artwork to adjust to the climate of the museum so that it is not damaged by a quick change in temperature or humidity. Once the artworks are unpacked, the curatorial staff move the artwork into the gallery and begin to arrange and install the exhibition.
In the case of an exhibition of artworks that are owned by the museum, the Curator decides the exhibition's theme and schedule, then explores all of the artworks in the Permanent Collection. Once the checklist (or list of exhibited works) is complete, the Collections Manager examines each piece to ensure they are ready for exhibition. If any of the pieces need to be framed or require special attention prior to being displayed, the Collections Manager coordinates those activities with the Preparator. Then, when the time comes to install the exhibition, the curatorial staff arrange and install the artwork, adjust the lighting, and mount the exhibition panels and artwork labels.
Sometimes the museum will organize a more complex or comprehensive exhibition that may be attractive to other museums. These are called touring exhibitions, and they are common in the museum world. Touring exhibitions are so common, in fact that a number of companies exist that specialize in organizing these types of shows exclusively for the purpose of traveling them to other museums for a fee. Renting a touring exhibition saves the museum the time and effort required to organize their own show. Another attractive benefit of hosting a touring exhibition is the ability to display important and popular artworks the museum would not otherwise have access to.
To submit an exhibition proposal, please send your Curriculum Vitae, artist statement, and digital images of your work as a website or online portfolio to KPope@PolkMuseumofArt.org.
How can I display my work at the Museum?
Please visit our Exhibition Development page for more information on exhibiting your work at the Polk Museum of Art.
I came to see this particular artwork and don't see it on display. Why not?
The Museum has more than 2,500 objects in our collection and at any given time only has space to show a very small percentage of those objects. We regularly rotate the art on display, but it can still take years between viewings of some objects. All the more reason to visit the Museum often!
Does the Museum have a shop?
Yes. The Shop at Polk Museum of Art has many unique items, and is located to the right as you enter the Museum.
What is the difference between Classes and Workshops?
Is the Polk Museum of Art a government institution?
No, the Museum is a private 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization and operates due to the generosity of many donors and partners. We rely on your donations to support our exhibitions, events and programs. To make a donation, please click below.
Where can I see the Museum's IRS Form 990 or audit information?
The Museum’s IRS Form 990 is available for viewing below and at guidestar.org (just search for 'Polk Museum of Art' and log in). You can also download our FY 2016 financial audit below. Polk Museum of Art is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a federal EIN of 59-1226011 that relies upon the generosity of the community for its support. Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.