Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA)
Everyone’s a member at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA). The concept is rather simple: welcome everyone to the museum as a member. It’s a model that defies the idea that museums are exclusive or elitist. Instead, museum admission fees are actually low-cost memberships—as little as $15—that allow unlimited access to the museum for a full year. This philosophy encourages frequent participation in 18+ rotating exhibitions and 175+ free-for-member programs that take place throughout the year. The result is a welcoming and engaged community—a community where everyone is a member.
MOWA explores the art and culture of Wisconsin. Founded in 1961, the museum’s permanent collection consists of over 5,000 works of contemporary and historic art by more than 350 Wisconsin artists. The 32,000-square-foot wedge-shaped structure opened in 2013 and houses five permanent collection galleries and four temporary exhibition spaces, as well as classrooms, visible art storage, a shop, and a large atrium for public events.
The museum overlooks the Milwaukee River and is situated along the Eisenbahn State Trail. In 2018, the surrounding four-acre green spaces transformed into spectacularly landscaped gardens. The MOWA Gardens feature a tree-lined field for activities and festivals, 800 quaking aspen trees, 1,200 hydrangea plants, several outdoor sculptures, and interconnected walkways perfect for wayfinding or meandering to nearby shops and restaurants. It’s a must-see destination in the heart of downtown West Bend.
Downstream just 30 miles in the heart of downtown Milwaukee is MOWA’s newest venue—MOWA | DTN—to open in late spring 2019 at Wisconsin’s first-of-its-kind art hotel, Saint Kate. MOWA | DTN will feature contemporary and emerging artists through rotating exhibitions and dynamic programs, presenting Wisconsin art to the public and travelers from across the globe.