The 25 Best American Galleries And Museums, 2018

Thom Bierdz
8 min readMay 2, 2018


Each year the American Art Awards board selects the 25 Best Galleries And Museums In America. reported in 2016: “The impressive AAA board chooses only one museum or gallery per state per year. Their selections are based on years established, industry reputation, online buzz, location, size, socially relevant exhibits, motivational and educational programs, represented artists as well as artist, client and visitor references.”

American Art Awards: “We consider thousands of the most established art venues from Alaska to Florida. This year we chose several museums and art centers with historical significance of 100+ years, some with over 100,000 annual visitors, some specializing in global acquisitions, some American treasures, others offering objects preserving their state’s legacy, and some celebrating one specific artist’s life work. We’ve also selected some of the most reputable art galleries; some which offer every style of international art, others exhibiting works from one region or one genre. A Native-American and an African-American facility are included in our Top 25, as well as a long-standing women’s design institution, a popular Boston sculptor’s co-op, and a Hollywood Warhol hot spot.”


ALABAMA: ALABAMA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER — Alabama’s premiere showcase for significant art. Founded in 1999: a non-profit contemporary arts center. 16,000 SF gallery, a multi-purpose auditorium, classrooms, and a 180-seat, 2,300 SF terrace used for film screenings, community events, and stage performances.

ARKANSAS: FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM — Originated in 1948 but fully re-branded in 2013. AWARDS: Preservation through Rehabilitation Award (2013), American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf State Region Merit Award (2014), and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award…

CALIFORNIA: ЯEVOLVER GALLERY — This Hollywood hot spot contains the largest gallery-owned Warhol collection worldwide with over 200 original prints and paintings. Contextualizes Andy’s work and historical significance through outreach, strategic partnerships with leading institutions, and curating international Warhol exhibitions.

COLORADO: COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER AT COLORADO COLLEGE — Home to an accredited museum, a professional theatre company, and a community art school. The 132,286 SF facility hosts major international traveling and special exhibitions, and also features works from the FAC’s significant permanent collection of Native American, Hispanic, Modern American, and European art.

FLORIDA: LIK FINE ART MIAMI and LIK FINE ART KEY WEST — With 12 locations across the country (two in Florida), LIK Fine Art showcases some of Peter Lik’s most notable and award-winning photographic masterpieces. Peter has spent over 30 years pushing the boundaries of fine art. A self-taught pioneer in the field of landscape photography, Lik’s works make up four of the top 20 most expensive photographs ever sold, the highest selling for an astounding $6.5 million in 2014.

ILLINOIS: TRICKSTER ART GALLERY — The only Native American owned and operated arts institution in Illinois. 10,000 SF facility exhibits contemporary Native art (post 1960s) and first-voice multi-cultural arts with themes of veterans and social justice.

KANSAS: BIRGER SANDZEN MEMORIAL GALLERY — For over 60 years, Bethany College’s prized campus gallery has exhibited the masterpieces of Birger Sandzén as well as works from its permanent collection, historic and loaned exhibitions, and active contemporary artists in a variety of mediums.

KENTUCKY: E&S GALLERY — This stunning 11,000 SF gallery specializes in African American art with an unmatched selection of artists, mediums, subject matters, and genres. They offer a premiere selection of original graphics and sculpture by renowned old master artists as well as custom framing and art publishing.

LOUISIANA: NEWCOMB ART MUSEUM — Since 1886 acknowledging the contributions of women to the fields of art and design. Continually presenting innovative exhibitions and programs that engage communities, spark idea-exchange and instigate cross-disciplinary collaborations.

MASSACHUSETTS: BOSTON SCULPTORS GALLERY — Founded in 1992, this is the only sculpture collective in the United States to maintain its own gallery. Showcases innovative contemporary sculpture, including traditional and emerging media, installations and public art.

MISSISSIPPI: OHR-O’KEEFE ART MUSEUM — Just as Ohr (1857–1918) rose from devastating personal and professional loss to create an extraordinary body of work, so too the Ohr-O’Keefe has risen from Hurricane Katrina’s destruction. The renovated treasure is a homage to the enduring human spirit and diverse cultural heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

MISSOURI: UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI MUSEUM OF ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY — Incomparable collections across a wide range of cultures: Greek, Roman, Near Eastern art works, ancient Egypt, Byzantium, Asian, African, Ancient Americas, and Oceanic cultures. Important collections in European and American art from the fifteenth century to the present.

NEBRASKA: KIECHEL FINE ART — This three-floor towering showplace exhibits the top Midwestern Contemporary artists as well as 19th & 20th century American Art. Impressive inventory of Old Master & Contemporary originals and prints.

NEVADA: THE METROPOLITAN GALLERY OF LAS VEGAS ART MUSEUM — 20,000 SF facility dedicated to raising awareness, understanding and accessibility for a wide range of fine art by local, regional and international artists. Also offers insightful educational programs and cultural events.

OHIO: LEE HAYDEN GALLERY — Mastered the Mid-western art business. Very prominent Cleveland gallery; a collector’s favorite for decades, offering paintings, sculptures and rare prints from both emerging and world-renown artists.

OKLAHOMA: JOSEPH GIEREK FINE ART — Located on historic Route 66, this Tulsa gallery offers an extensive collection of contemporary painting, sculpture, glass and mixed media works by acclaimed mid-career and established artists. It has been named “Best of the Best” by the readers of Oklahoma Magazine from 2005 though 2017.

OREGON: JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM OF ART — The University of Oregon’s art museum (the only academic art museum in the state accredited by the American Alliance of Museums) features engaging exhibitions, significant collections of historic and contemporary art, and educational programs centered on all assets of the human condition.

PENNSYLVANIA: JAMES A. MICHENER ART MUSEUM — 40,000 SF accredited world-class facility attracting annually more than 135,000 visitors. World-class group of paintings included in their permanent collection of more than 2,800 objects. Diverse program of educational activities.

SOUTH CAROLINA: MARY MARTIN GALLERY OF FINE ART — Museum quality art including bronze and stone sculptures, original oil and acrylic paintings, and extraordinary watercolors in a location named the number one tourist destination in America.

SOUTH DAKOTA: SOUTH DAKOTA ART MUSEUM — Since 1970, for almost fifty years, this museum beautifully houses the artistic legacy of South Dakota in all its diversity. 7,000 objects in its collection include Harvey Dunn paintings, Native American art, Marghab Linens, and much more.

TEXAS: ART ON 5TH — Austin’s largest contemporary art gallery, featuring hundreds of emerging and established artists from around the world. With over 7,000 square feet to explore, there’s something new to see on every visit.

UTAH: THE LEONARDO — The Leonardo seeks to inspire its visitors to see the world as Leonardo da Vinci did. The Leonardo celebrates creativity and innovation in all its forms be it science, technology, engineering, art, math, or humanities.

WASHINGTON: MARYHILL MUSEUM OF ART — From the unique Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Museum of Art collects, presents and preserves art and historical and natural resources, to enrich and educate residents and visitors of the Pacific Northwest.

WEST VIRGINIA: WEST VIRGINIA STATE MUSEUM — Established 124 years ago with the intent to collect, preserve, present, promote and document West Virginia’s every aspect of history, culture, art, paleontology, archaeology, and geology representing all its people and industries.

WISCONSIN: MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART — This 32,000 SF museum houses five permanent collection galleries, three temporary exhibition spaces, classrooms, a large atrium and more. Over 5,000 works of contemporary and historic art by more than 350 artists. annually awards 25 museums and galleries in Spring, and with their critique in Autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).



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Thom Bierdz

One of Medium’s TOP ART CONTRIBUTORS, award-winning author, actor, film-maker, painter. 12 books: 6 on art. President of WAA & AAA & ACCA.