Located in the heart of Atlanta, Ga., the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from
across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic
schedule of special exhibitions, and engaging community-focused programs. The High features a
collection of more than 17,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of
modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing
collection of African art, with work dating from pre-history through the present; and significant
holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the
diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that
engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process.
Established in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, the Museum’s first permanent home came in
1926, with the donation by Mrs. Joseph M. High of her family’s residence on Peachtree Street. In
1955, the Museum moved to a new brick structure adjacent to the old High house. After 122
Georgia art patrons died in a plane crash on a Museum-sponsored European tour in 1962, the
Atlanta Arts Alliance was founded in their memory, and the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center
opened in 1968—constructed around the existing Museum. In 1979, Coca-Cola magnate Robert
W. Woodruff offered a $7.5 million challenge grant to build a new facility; Museum officials
matched and exceeded the grant, generating a total of $20 million.
The High Museum of Art’s building designed by noted architect Richard Meier opened to
worldwide acclaim in 1983, and it has received many design awards, including a 1991 citation
from the American Institute of Architects as one of the “ten best works of American architecture
of the 1980s.” Meier’s 135,000-square-foot facility, now known as the Stent Family Wing, tripled
the Museum’s space, enabling the institution to mount more comprehensive displays of its
collections. In 2003, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Richard Meier-designed building,
the High unveiled enhancements to its galleries and interior and a new chronological installation
of its permanent collection.
In 2005 the High Museum of Art opened an expansion in response to increased demand for
exhibitions and programming, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at The Woodruff Arts
Center in Midtown Atlanta. The expansion included three new buildings designed by Italian
architect Renzo Piano, which more than doubled the Museum’s size to 312,000 square feet,
allowing the High to display more of its growing collection, expand educational and exhibition
programs, and offer new visitor amenities to address the needs of larger and more diverse
audiences. The expansion strengthened the High’s position as the leading art museum in the
Southeast and allows the Museum to better serve its growing audiences in Atlanta and from
around the world.

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