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What to Know When SAM Reopens

Come back to SAM! Seattle Art Museum is open again. The museum will initially be at a limited capacity and open Fridays through Sundays, 10 am–5 pm. The Asian Art Museum, and the PACCAR Pavilion at the Olympic Sculpture Park continue to be closed. The outdoor spaces at the Olympic Sculpture Park remain open to the public. 

We have been thoughtfully planning for our reopening in alignment with Governor Inslee’s SAFE START – STAY HEALTHY plan and recommendations of relevant state, local, and federal authorities. Be a part of our safe start by reviewing these details about new procedures visitors will be required to follow during their visit.

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Timed Ticket Required
Ticketing is timed to limit capacity.

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Capacity Limited
Some galleries are closed; some will have capacity limits.

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Masks Required
Staff and visitors over the age of two must wear masks.

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Physical Distancing Required
Follow guidelines in public spaces and galleries.

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Coat Check Closed
Backpacks, large bags, or items bigger than 11″ x 15″ are not allowed

Plan Your Visit

Seattle Art Museum Hours
Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm.

Timed Ticketing
To allow for physical distancing, capacity will be limited and ticketing will be timed. With fewer visitors in the museum, you’ll have an intimate art viewing experience.

Online Tickets Only
Please get tickets online in advance for your preferred day and time. Print out your ticket at home or download to a smartphone.

SAM members are always free
Members must have a timed ticket. A percentage of daily tickets will be available online only to members. Not a member? Join today.

Our new ticketing system will look a little different and will require you to create a new password when using it for the first time. Once logged in your complimentary member tickets will be reflected in your cart.  If you have questions about your membership or need assistance with tickets please contact us.

Accessibility Accommodations
If you require accommodations, please contact customerservice@seattleartmuseum before your visit, as we may require advanced notice to provide certain accommodations.

Leave backpacks and bags larger than 11” x 15” at home
To align with physical distancing guidelines, SAM’s coat check will be closed. Please make alternative arrangements to store your belongings prior to entering the museum.

Download a gallery map in advance
To help create a contactless experience, we will not be distributing a printed map and guide. Download a map to your smartphone to use during your visit.

Park for less!
The neighboring Benaroya Garage has offered SAM visitors a flat $8 rate. The Russell Investment Center garage is $8 on weekends only, for up to 4 hours. Learn more

Keep our community healthy! Please visit at another time if you:

  • Are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms
  • Live with or care for someone who has been ill
  • Have traveled in the last 14 days
  • Live with or care for someone who has recently traveled

Please contact customerservice@seattleartmuseum.org to exchange your ticket for another day and time if any of the above applies to you.

Recognize Risk
SAM has implemented many safety measures but cannot guarantee zero risk; a risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public setting.

When You Arrive

Enter at First and Union
The south entrance (the Hammering Man entrance) and the South Hall will be closed.

Wear a mask
Face masks will be required for all visitors over the age of two. Use of masks is mandated by the Governor and will be enforced; staff will confirm you have masks for every member of your party before you enter the building.

Check the entry time on your ticket
Have your print-at-home or smart phone timed ticket ready to be scanned and be in line 10 minutes prior to your time. If you are more than 20 minutes late, we may not be able to accommodate entry.

Follow physical distancing guidelines
One-way traffic flows and helpful guidelines throughout the museum will identify safe distances between visitors. Children must stay with adults at all times. Physical distancing will be enforced.

Expect some areas to be closed
The Porcelain Room, the Italian Room, and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery will not be open to the public when we reopen. The Ann P. Wyckoff Education Resource Center, Bullitt Library, and children play areas will also be closed. TASTE Café will be closed.

Prepare for limited capacity in restrooms
Selected restroom stalls will be closed. Capacity limits will be posted on bathroom doors.

Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers
We have instituted rigorous cleaning procedures using EPA registered disinfectants throughout the museum, with a special focus on high-touch and high-traffic areas and restrooms. We ask that you do your part by washing your hands frequently and using hand sanitizers located throughout the museum.

Expect a contactless experience
Shared materials have been removed from the galleries and interactive touchscreens have been disabled.

Visit SAM Shop!
The SAM Shop and SAM Gallery will be open during museum open hours with limited capacity. Please visit SAM Shop if you need to purchase water during your visit.

Help Contract Tracing
In alignment with guidance from the Governor’s Office and King County public health officials, SAM is storing ticket buyer information and requesting contact information for all visitors for contact tracing purposes. Learn more

Also please note that if we are unable to reopen as planned because of changes to public health guidelines, SAM will contact ticket holders via email to present options for moving tickets to a new day and time. 

We have worked hard to make visitors and staff comfortable during their visit and hope to see you soon! 

A Message of Solidarity

The Seattle Art Museum believes that Black lives matter and stands in support of Black families, friends, colleagues, and communities across the country as they grieve and seek justice for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all victims of police brutality. We mourn the lives lost and, as we say their names, we recognize that we cannot be silent.

Systemic and institutional racism pervades every corner of American life, including cultural institutions such as the Seattle Art Museum. SAM recognizes the inequities faced by Black Americans, and we acknowledge the work that SAM must do and the impact of our work on our community. Since the 2000s, SAM’s Education & Community Engagement Committee has helped guide SAM’s programming and community partnerships. We will continue to listen to this inspiring group of advocates as we make changes to better lead by example within our arts community and city to create a country where Black people and other people of color are not oppressed.

In 2017, the museum’s Equity Team and leadership integrated an equity statement of the museum’s official values into SAM’s strategic plan, which guides all we do. It reads:

We are responsive to cultural communities and experiences, and we think critically about the role art plays in empowering social justice and structural change to promote equity in our society. We are dedicated to racial equity in all that we do.

We know that we can do more. We must begin by looking at ourselves and working to uncover the structural biases within our own organization.

Art is a crucial way of sharing unique perspectives, reminding us of the past, and envisioning future possibilities. Throughout history, art has been used for education, revolution, politics, propaganda, emotions, subversion, and sharing transformative experiences. SAM believes that art always contains a message and cannot be neutral. We rely on our collection, exhibitions, and the artists we work with to reflect our institutional values and we can, and will, take tangible actions to enact necessary change in our society. 

We are committed to:

  • Striving for racial equity in our exhibitions, educational programs, hiring practices, and all activities at the museum
  • Sharing work by Black artists in our collection and in our communications. For the next week, we will not be promoting the museum on social media, in order to amplify the views of organizations, artists, activists, and individual Black voices
  • Continuing to increase the acquisition and exhibition of more works by artists of color
  • Featuring artwork by Black artists in the following exhibitions and installations in the next year:

John Akomfrah: Future History
Aaron Fowler: Into Existence
Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle
Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence
Storied Objects
Lessons From the Institute of Empathy

There are many ways to show support and solidarity at this moment. As a part of the Seattle art community, SAM would like to encourage you to support local Black-led arts organizations through donations and engagement. This list is by no means comprehensive and we encourage you to add to it in the comments.

Art & Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, & Ahmaud Arbery

The young girl gazes directly into the camera: serene, open, determined. Her arms cross in front of her; her hands reach for those of the other children beside her. Together, they form a chain that cannot be broken.

She is 11-year-old Quintella Harrell, as the photo’s caption notes, and she’s participating in the campaign for voting rights for Black people in Selma, Alabama, that took place in the early months of 1965. The photo was taken by Dan Budnik, who uses documentary photography as a tool for activism and to bear witness to the battle for equality. A few weeks before this photo was taken, a 26-year-old church deacon from Marion named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by a state trooper as he tried to shield his mother from the trooper’s nightstick, dying eight days later. Days after this photo was taken, the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, led by civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis, would begin. The images of state troopers attacking the activists during what came to be called “Bloody Sunday” galvanized public opinion, eventually leading to the march’s safe completion on March 21—and to the passing of the Voting Rights Act.

This moment of a young girl’s perseverance is captured forever in this black-and-white photo, but it’s far from the distant past. Today, Dr. Quintella Harrell is 65 years old. How much has changed?

SAM expresses deep compassion for those seeking justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We share in the grief, anger, and frustration that their friends, families, and Black communities are feeling, which has spread across the country and the world. SAM is committed to doing our part in the necessary work of creating racial equity. Art can play a critical role in creating structural change and equity; it deepens empathy, asks tough questions, and offers new visions for collective responses to our world. We must create that new world together.

Image: Quintella Harrell, 11 Years Old, With Other Young Voting Rights Protestors, Dallas County Courthouse, Selma, Alabama, 4 March 1965, 1965, Dan Budnik, gelatin silver photograph, 11 x 14 in. Gift of Getty Images, 2000.38 ©️ Artist or Artist’s Estate.

Virtual Art Talks: Discovering the Dragon Tamer Luohan with Foong Ping & Geneva Griswold

When the Asian Art Museum closed for renovation and expansion our curators and conservators had the opportunity to conduct new research on an ancient sculpture in our Asian art collection. Hear from Foong Ping, SAM’s Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, and Geneva Griswold, SAM Associate Conservator, in this detailed discussion about the new findings that led to renaming one of our sculptures. Previously known as “Monk at The Moment of Enlightenment,” learn why this enigmatic sculpture is now titled, “Dragon Tamer Louhan.”

This talk was originally presented in 2019 as part of SAM’s popular member-only Conversations with Curators lecture series and was adapted into a virtual art talk for everyone during Seattle’s “stay home, stay safe” directive so that you can stay connected to art while you stay home with SAM. The current season of Conversations with Curators is taking place virtually and is free for SAM members. It’s a great time to join or renew your membership.

We are humbled by the generosity of our donors during this unique time. Your financial support powers SAM Blog and also sustains us until we can come together as a community and enjoy art in the galleries again. Thanks to a generous group of SAM trustees, all membership and gifts to SAM Fund will be matched up to $500,000 through June 30!

Virtual Art Talks: Gather with Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn

The next time you are able to visit the Asian Art Museum you will be greeted by a new light installation. Gather by Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn was commissioned to celebrate the legacy of Asian artists working over generations and all over the world. Hear from Kenzan in this artist talk and look forward to gathering under this site-specific installation.

The renovation and expansion of the Asian Art Museum allowed SAM curators to rethink how the artwork would be presented. Previously organized by regions with Japan in one wing, China in the other, and South Asia in the Garden Court, we were limited in the selection of works on view. Now, with more space and the thematic reinstallation, we are able to represent more of our renowned collection from all over Asia. This also created space in the Garden Court to present this new installation.

Learn more about SAM’s history and the Tsutakawa family! Check out this article in the South Seattle Emerald about Gather written by Kenzan’s mother, Mayumi Tsutakawa. You can find out more about Kenzan’s grandfather, George Tsutakawa in this SAM Blog article contributed by the Tsutakawa family and see his work on view at our downtown location when we are able to reopen in Exceptionally Ordinary: Mingei 1920–2020.

We are humbled by the generosity of our donors during this unique time. Your financial support powers SAM Blog and also sustains us until we can come together as a community and enjoy art in the galleries again. Thanks to a generous group of SAM trustees, all membership and gifts to SAM Fund will be matched up to $500,000 through June 30!

My Favorite Things: Ramzy Lakos on Amerocco

“As an American Egyptian, born and raised in the Middle-East, living in the US, I could see myself reflected in this piece, which is unique for me, because my identity mostly exists in-between spaces.”

– Ramzy Lakos, SAM Emerging Arts Leader Intern

Under the unique circumstances of SAM’s closure, our amazing Emerging Arts Leader Intern, Ramzy Lakos adapted the culminating tour of his internship into a video! Go inside Aaron Fowler: Into Existence with Ramzy as he shares his personal approach to understanding and connecting with the large-scale work, “Amerocco.” The exhibition is slated to be on view through October 25, 2020, and we hope you will have a chance to experience it in person once SAM can reopen.

Aaron Fowler’s larger-than-life works are at once paintings, sculptures, and installations. They are made from everyday discarded items and materials sourced from the artist’s local surroundings in Los Angeles and St. Louis, among other places. Items include cotton balls, security gates, afro wigs, hair weaves, broken mirrors, djellabas, sand, broken-down movie sets, found car parts, ropes, lights, and much more.

Emerging Arts Leader Internships at SAM grew out of SAM’s equity goal and became a paid 10-week position at the museum designed to provide emerging arts leaders from diverse backgrounds with an in-depth understanding of SAM’s operations, programming and audiences.