In 2004, assessing the burgeoning arts sector of NW Colorado, a group of artists, gallery owners and supporters envisioned an art museum in Steamboat. Concurrently, the historic Rehder Building was bequeathed to the City with the stipulation that the building be used as a museum. The Steamboat Art Museum incorporated in 2005 and opened its first exhibit in December 2006. From 2009 - 2017, phased projects to the original 1905 building created distinctive exhibition space, administrative areas, a museum store. Then the major rehabilitation of the 1920 addition created substantial space for exhibits, events, meetings, performance, and instruction in new galleries, a workshop room, and library.
SAM’s first decade was focused on the development of exhibits of the highest quality, the stewardship of the largest historic building in the heart of Steamboat and creating an important cultural draw for our community. Into our second decade, our expanded facility enables us to create exhibits beyond the many retrospectives of individual master artists, to important themed exhibitions that include the artists and other organizations in planning. Multi-faceted educational and enrichment programs with other organizations are developing to utilize our exhibits to further their missions and ours.
Now fully utilizing its entire building, SAM is a spacious creative and historical asset for NW Colorado. Annually, SAM presents two major exhibits, an annual Plein Air Event, and related educational outreach to youth and seniors, workshops, artists’ presentations, and collaborative special events shaped by our exhibits. Admission to exhibits and outreach is always free.