The University of Arizona has had an Art Department and mounted art exhibitions since the early 1920s. In 1955, they broke ground on the dedicated museum facility that is still in use today. Over the years, alumni bequests and an important Kress Foundation donation have helped establish an impressive collection.
The Samuel H. Kress Collection features religious and secular works from the 13th through 18th centuries. In 1961, the Kress Foundation made a permanent gift of 64 objects to UAMA, including 26 panels from a monumental 15th-century Spanish altarpiece. The Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo is a jewel of the UAMA collection, and the paintings are arrayed in a dedicated gallery adjacent to the space where the remainder of the Kress collection is displayed.
In addition to the Kress Collection, Museum holdings also cover 20th century and contemporary painting, drawings and photography, including work by Inness, Pollock, Rothko, Kerry James Marshall, and Edward Hopper.
Special temporary exhibitions are mounted in the ground floor galleries.