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Public Programs

Public Programs at SAM

There is always something happening at SAM that you don’t want to miss. Across SAM's three sites, our programs amplify important voices in our communities and participate in critical conversations. Ask questions, get creative, and explore art across time and place the next time you take a trip to the museum.

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SAM Creates

SAM Creates

Get creative, play with materials, and don’t be afraid to make a mess as you get hands-on with art making and the many meanings of art in our everyday lives. You'll learn about artistic processes and develop your own creative practices during drop-in workshops, open studios, and focused sessions with contemporary artists.

SAM Films

Due to ongoing concern for our visitors’ healthy and safety, we do not plan on presenting our film series at SAM in 2020. We will continue to assess when we can present films at SAM in the future. Thank you for your ongoing support and interest.

Get your ticket, grab your seat, and explore a diverse roster of film series and individual screenings that present everything from feature releases to rarely seen prints For more than 30 years, SAM has offered dynamic film programming recognized nationally for its comprehensive and genre bending exploration of artists and stories associated with this important medium.

French Pleasures: The Films of Eric Rohmer

January 9–March 12, 2020

Eric Rohmer film still

Join SAM and Alliance Francaise de Seattle to celebrate the centennial of renowned writer-director Eric Rohmer (1920-2010), the comic, romantic moral philosopher of French cinema. Rohmer and his frequent collaborator, cinematographer Nestor Almendros, paint French life in tones of lyrical realism in this series of acclaimed films.

SAM Films are generously supported by the Bagley and Virginia Wright Endowment and The Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Film and Education Endowment.

SAM Performs


Pop-up performances, outdoor concerts, and partnerships with diverse performing arts organizations add movement and music to your museum experience. SAM Performs responds to art and activates the galleries.

Art of Jazz

Art of Jazz

Every Second Thursday of the Month
In partnership with Earshot Jazz, hear some of the best local and national jazz live in the Brotman Forum and during the summer in the Gates Amphitheater at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Sponsored by

earshot jazz

Tea Ceremony Demonstrations

Tea Ceremony

Third Thursdays, 5:30 pm & Third Sundays, 2:30 pm. Note: there are no tea ceremonies in January, August, or December.

Experience chado, "the Way of Tea," in the superbly crafted teahouse in the museum galleries at the Seattle Art Museum. Since the 16th century, chado has provided artistic inspiration and spiritual reflection. This time-honored living art brings a fresh paradigm for thoughtful and harmonious living.

No two Remixes are the same. Live DJs and bands fill every corner of the museum with music. Local luminaries share their favorite works of art with you. Contemporary performance and dance of all kinds respond to art from across time and place. Remix the museum, meet artists, get creative, and become part of Seattle’s creative community at SAM's unique after-hours art experience.


Held three times a year—get out under the stars at the Olympic Sculpture Park during the summer edition. Ages 21+


SAM Remix is an inclusive program highlighting the best of our region’s creative community. SAM acknowledges and expresses gratitude to the Coast Salish peoples on whose ancestral lands the museum resides.

Program Sponsor

Delta Airlines

Supporting Sponsor
Thompson Seattle

Media Sponsors

The Stranger



SAM Talks

Join the dialogue and reflect on important topics related to art and culture. From regular series like free First Friday Lectures to special exhibition programs, compelling conversations related to SAM’s exhibitions and critical contemporary topics offer a chance to think deeply with scholars, thinkers, artists, and curators.

Conversations with Curators

SAM Curators

January – June
6:30 pm Happy Hour, 7 pm Lecture

Hear directly from the engaging creative forces behind SAM’s exhibitions and installations as our curators share rich stories about art, history, geography, culture and more. This popular members-only lecture series always packs the house.

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Not a member? Join today to take advantage of these unique conversations.



Tour times and topics vary throughout the year. Tours are FREE with museum admission.

A Closer Look: Highlights from SAM's Collection
View creatively installed galleries and discuss outstanding artwork from SAM’S collections.

In Focus Gallery Talks
These gallery discussions focus on a single gallery, allowing the visitor to experience works of art in-depth. Topics rotate regularly. 30 minutes.

My Favorite Things
My Favorite Things tours bring some of the most opinionated, brilliant and fascinating artists, cultural producers and community figures into the galleries to discuss their favorite works of art. 30 minutes.

Special Exhibitions
Explore the special exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum on these tours designed to illuminate exhibition themes and present diverse perspectives on the art on view. 60 minutes.

Art Beyond Sight Tours​
The Art Beyond Sight program provides regular tours of the museum’s collection to visitors with low or no vision. Tours are held at all three SAM locations and are free with advance registration. Private tours are also available upon request. For more information, please email us.​​

Upcoming Art Beyond Sight Tours​​​​​



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School Tours​

Are you an educator? You can find school tour information here.​​​​​​


Gardner Center

Gardner Center events explore the vast diversity of Asia and its presence in the world. From history and culture to contemporary art and literature, we exchange ideas that include dialogue on challenging contemporary issues. We also invite you to experience a range of artistic expression—in literature, performance, film, and visual arts—related to Asia.

The Gardner Center has long-term partnerships with the Jackson School of International Studies, the Department of Art History, and the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington; the Elliott Bay Book Company; and Tasveer.

Learn More​​​​


Image of smiling person sitting in the grass with their dog

When the rain goes on hiatus and the sun comes out to glint off the Puget Sound—that’s when you know, it’s summer season at the Olympic Sculpture Park! Get outside, play, picnic, and create. SAM presents activities and experiences that combine visual art, music, and community. Summer programs feature a range of virtual and in person activities and experiences that explore place-making, cultural confluences, and learning from our local environment.

When you visit the park on the weekend, be sure to swing by the South Terrace to pick up a Park Pack, a tote bag filled with tools and activities to facilitate learning at the park and at home. Park Packs are free and yours to keep. While at the park, get inspired by Look & Make lessons and sketch what you see using the included sketching materials. At home, plant PNW wildflower seeds and create art inspired by your park visit, using supplies at home. Park Packs are set out on Saturdays and Sundays and are available on a first come, first served basis. Free and open to the public.

Winter in the Park

Winter Weekends

The Olympic Sculpture Park is open 365 days a year, and no matter the season, Seattle loves its monumental sculptures and dramatic views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. This year, our programs connecting you to the park’s collection get you moving, making, and thinking year-round! 

Winter Residency

Art Encounters

During the winter months, an artist residency activates the Olympic Sculpture Park and supports the artistic practice of a contemporary Indigenous artist living in the Pacific Northwest.

You are invited to become a part of the process through two participatory programs led by this year’s artist-in-residence on select Friday evenings in January and February. Get inspired by learning about meaningful artistic practices and participating in experiences that respond to the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Seattle region.

SAM Lights

SAM Lights

Light up your winter with SAM’s free program connecting all ages to art and the environment. Experience the wonder of the iconic sculptures lit with the glow of luminaria. Art making, live music, hot beverages, and sweet treats will offer everyone a way to enjoy the glow of the park.

The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.