Background and History of the Springfield Museum of Art

In 1946 a group of concerned artists and citizens, feeling that Springfield needed a showcase for the visual arts, formed the Springfield Art Association. Their first exhibitions were held on the premises of supportive area businesses, and later in leased gallery spaces. Between 1967 and 1974 our building on Cliff Park Road was built and expanded, and Springfield finally had a visual arts facility designed expressly for the purpose of mounting art exhibitions and offering art education programs. In the mid-1990s the building was further expanded into the facility we see today, with the addition of a new 20,000-square-foot museum wing and renovation of the existing 15,000 square feet of space. In 2010, the Museum sold the building to Wittenberg University following a reorganization of the Museum’s education and event activities. The building is now called the Springfield Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University. This sale enabled the Springfield Museum of Art to re-focus its resources on the core mission of exhibitions, collection stewardship, and educational programming.

The Springfield Museum of Art retains its identity as an independent non-profit art museum. It is accredited through the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum was accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliates program in 2012, currently the only art museum in Ohio with that distinction.

Collection and Exhibition Philosophy

The Springfield Museum of Art’s permanent collection and exhibition plans focus primarily on American Art and specifically Midwestern works and artists. In 1977, the Museum received the gift of an outstanding collection of 19th and 20th century American and European works, which greatly increased the Museum’s attention on the permanent collection. Since then the Museum has systematically added to its collection through purchase and gift acceptance. Prominent works by artists of Ohio and the Midwest have been sought out, as well as other American works that enhance the collection. The Springfield Museum of Art continues to mount exhibitions from its permanent collection as well as changing exhibits, while engaging new audiences and building strong relationships with museum members and community groups through exhibition-related public programs.

For changing exhibitions, priority is given to exemplary artists with substantive ties to the Midwest, Ohio and Springfield. Historically, local and regional artists have been a driving force behind the successes of the Museum. In keeping with this tradition, artists who have a demonstrated commitment to the Springfield Museum of Art through membership and/or service are also considered favorably in the proposal evaluation process. While no particular training is required, the Museum seeks artists who have mastered their art media. Only artists with past exhibition experience will be considered. Exhibitions of national and/or international relevance are also mounted.

Proposal Submission Process

The Museum’s Curatorial Affairs and Education Committee reviews all exhibition proposals. This Committee meets once per year with the purpose of reviewing proposals and selecting exhibitions. The Museum books exhibitions 1-3 years in advance.

Artists, groups and collection representatives interested in applying for an exhibition should submit:

» 10-12 images of completed works that are representational of the works to be shown if selected for exhibition. Images must be presented digitally via email ( or on CD or flash drive through the mail (P.O. Box 34. Springfield, Ohio 45501). Printed images may accompany digital images sent through the mail and you may note websites that highlight your work in addition to sent images. Please do not solely make reference to websites for the Museum to view your images and do not send original artwork. Application packets cannot be returned.

» A resume or CV detailing your artistic training and previous exhibitions. Only artists with previous exhibition experience will be considered. While no particular training is required, the Museum seeks artists who have mastered their art media.

» An artist’s statement.

» A proposal detailing your vision for an exhibition in one of our galleries. This may be your current body of work, a retrospective body of work or a special project/body of work you plan to create.

All application materials should arrive as a cohesive unit and may be sent via email or through the mail. You may submit your application packet to the email or mailing address below. There are no deadlines or specific forms for application. Note the digital image requirements. For applications sent via email, please send a second email that requests confirmation that the application package has been received. High resolution images can prove problematic and may not come through to our inbox.

Please note that artists may request to show in a particular SMoA gallery, however the gallery selected for any exhibit is at the sole discretion of the Museum. Due to the high number of proposal submissions, fewer than 10% of applicants are offered exhibition at the Springfield Museum of Art. Proposals are dated and kept on file for 36 months and may be revisited for unexpected schedule openings or opportune connections with pertinent themes of community and regional interest. Within 12 months of application, you can expect to receive correspondence via phone, mail or email regarding your application. The Museum is unable to provide detailed feedback on the evaluation process or continued correspondence regarding your proposal. However, artists, groups and collection representatives are invited to submit subsequent proposals (after 24 months following your last submission).

Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition

The Springfield Museum of Art mounts an Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition each summer that is open to all members of the Springfield Museum of Art, and members do not need to be residents of Ohio. For more information on membership and our Annual Juried Members’ Exhibition, visit our website at

Thank you for your interest in the Springfield Museum of Art.
Curatorial Affairs and Education Committee
Springfield Museum of Art

Download a copy of this information here.