Plans for the Silver City, New Mexico Regional Art Museum


General Ideas and a Plan for the Silver City, NM Regional Art Museum


A museum specializing in art has focus as to what type of art is in its collection. The focus might refer to a time period, medium, or style, or even one artist. Larger museums will have departments within them that focus their collections into logical categories. In general, art museums are repositories of artwork that have been considered worthy over a period of time. Time can be long or short, ranging from millenia for ancient art to quite recently for contemporary art. The criteria for evaluating museum quality work may be varied, but can include such things as the earliest examples of a particular kind of work, the recognized skill demonstrated by artists in a particular medium or style, or the spark of creativity that makes us see the familiar with new eyes. Whatever art museums’ criteria are form the basis for their purpose of preservation.

Victoria Chick, a Silver City, New Mexico based contemporary figurative artist and 19th/20th century print collector, discusses the plans and goals of the Silver City New Mexico Regional Art Museum Project, on Big Blend Radio.

But that is not all. An art museum also needs to provide a place to view the works protected within its walls. Correct conditions to view, study, and draw inspiration are necessary. In other words, exhibition is another basic purpose for an art museum.

Preservation and exhibition are goals of the Silver City New Mexico Regional Art Museum Project. Begun by artist and art collector Victoria Chick, and encouraged by Silver City art lovers and volunteers, the ultimate goal is to combine preservation and exhibition in a way that can benefit all ages of people within the community and provide   another strong reason for visitors to come to Silver City, joining the many outstanding galleries, art festivals, and art events that already make it a southwest magnet for art lovers.

People that visit art museums rarely think of them as businesses and may wonder why there is an admission fee. Yet, art museums must need to begin and to remain fiscally solvent in order to maintain their purposes of preserving and exhibiting art. The Silver City Regional Fine Art Museum project is beginning as a corporation whose directors develop a Mission Statement, short-term and long-term goals. They apply for non-profit tax status that will allow them to ask for donations and grant money. SC Regional Art Museum Directors are art appreciators that include business people, an architect, a lawyer, and an artist who are in the position to act as Trustees of the Museum and its contents. As any good business directors, the mission statement guides their decisions and keeps them focused on the art museum goals.

Since The Silver City Regional Art Museum is starting with donated, private collections, the first question is where to preserve and exhibit them?  An initial decision will be whether to alter an existing historic building or do completely new construction. In either case, location is a factor.  Funding for the building is coming from bequests and endowments but normal maintenance and operations, as well as work involved in changing exhibitions, needs to be considered and a reasonable admission fee decided upon. Because the Silver City Regional Art Museum would like to be available to all, one of the goals would be free admission once a month, free admission to school groups, and a reduced fee for all seniors.

Silver City is a unique town, home to a sophisticated 10,000 population and a strong small state university.  Culture is appreciated and supported. Volunteerism is part of life and a resource that helps keep cultural events and entities vital here. It is planned that volunteers will be important to the art museum but long-range planning has to include paid positions.

Victoria Chick’s bequest of her private collection of original American drawings and prints done between 1870 and 1970 has been joined by donations of paintings and other fine art from the collections of others and by the most recent gift of a major bronze sculpture called “Endangered Species” by El Paso, Texas surrealist sculptor, Ho Baron.

Starting a fine art museum “from scratch” may seem presumptuous and overwhelming. But, historically, art museums existing across America began as visions of one person or a small group of people who understood the value of preserving fine art and making it available to their communities.

For more information, contact Victoria Chick through her website



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