The New MOWA 

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in West Bend celebrated the Grand Opening of its new building in April 2013. It was an exciting time, not just for the Museum, but for the City of West Bend and the art community around the state.

Press Release, Grand Opening of New Museum of Wisconsin Art Provides Cornerstone For State's Rich Visual Arts Scene 

Just as the blueprints of the wedge-shape new MOWA are “outside-of-the-box,” so too is the new vision for MOWA.  As we set our path defining what the new MOWA is, four concepts have guided our thinking: innovation, technology, social connectivity, and keeping the focus on the art.  

Innovation. Innovation means being open minded and thoughtful about making changes that improve how the Museum functions. We must not think in terms of change, only for the sake of change, but think open mindedly and thoughtfully about everything we do and not hesitate to change—when change makes things better. 

Technology. Thoughtfully adopting technology can greatly enhance the museum experience. Thoughtlessly adopting technology wastes resources and cheapens the museum experience. We all feel the pull of technology but we must use it in a way that serves the museum’s mission, not in a way that tries simply to replicate how technology is being used by other institutions in society.

Social Connectivity. Certainly we experience art as individuals. But the experience can be more rewarding when we share it with other people. Museums have an important role to play in facilitating the social connectivity side of the art experience. We must find new ways of connecting in the galleries and through the Internet without forgetting what we are and why we are unique. 

Keeping the Focus on the Art. Museums exist to help people experience art. All the other thoughts that I have mentioned feed into this idea.  Everything a museum does should contribute to this objective. 

To put these four concepts into action, we have defined a new membership structure that is all about engagement. In contrast to other museums, MOWA does not have an admission fee. But instead offers year-long memberships at a much lower cost. The idea is simple. Pay a $15 entrance fee and visit the museum as much as you want, whenever you want, for a full year.  Additional levels of membership will allow you further benefits. The new MOWA is a place that you will want to revisit often, with changing exhibitions, rotating works from our collection, and even new works on loan will rotate often. One thing is for certain, you can expect high caliber exhibitions that have national acclaim.
As a Wisconsin artist you can be assured that we’ll do our best to cultivate the State’s artistic future, nurturing the next generation of Wisconsin artists. We represent a wide range of art and artists. With a main gallery that will rotate exhibitions of only the best Wisconsin art, to a gallery for up-and-coming new artists to a state gallery that features works from Wisconsin art organizations. 

The new MOWA will be a destination for many, not just the West Bend community, but regionally, statewide and even throughout the Midwest.  We are confident in its appeal and know that the visitors to MOWA will not only bring a positive effect to the Museum, but to the city of West Bend. Guests to the Museum will eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, fuel up in our gas stations and hopefully extend their visit by staying in our City’s hotels. This groundswell of economic impact in the community gives us a lot to be excited about.