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Community Partners


Our community engagement efforts expand the ways we connect with community, deepen the SAM experience for our visitors, and strengthen our partnerships. We’re working to make the arts a part of everyday life for people of all backgrounds and cultures. We believe that by developing reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationships that contribute to strengthening a healthy community, SAM can stay relevant, be more inclusive, and create bridges for more people to see themselves and their stories reflected at the museum. ​​​


Working with members of our community in the planning of programming and exhibitions is part of SAM’s commitment to equity. We feel it is important that the voices and perspectives from across diverse communities are represented in the decisions that SAM makes. Learn more about SAM’s commitment to equity.


The Education & Community Engagement Committee is charged by the Board of Trustees at the Seattle Art Museum to make the museum a more inclusive place that welcomes diversity and reflects this diversity in all aspects of its operations and programming. The committee works with staff to meet this challenge by developing and implementing plans that encourage heterogeneity among trustees, staff, and volunteers of the museum. It also works to increase diversity in programming, membership, and visitors to the museum.

The committee supports the goals and objectives of the museum’s education and public programs, including those related to special exhibitions, teens, families, schools, educators, films, community outreach, and academic activities.

The committee includes community representatives, members of the Board of Trustees, the Chairman of the Docent Committee and the Chairman of the Volunteers Executive Committee. From time to time, it receives and reviews reports from the staff on the museum’s education, public, academic, and outreach programs.


SAM work closely with paid community advisors on every special exhibition at the museum. Advisors represent diverse communities and provide vital input on the exhibition planning, programming, marketing, and outreach. We are grateful to all the advisors who help make the museum an inclusive and relevant space for all communities. 


Get Involved

SAM loves to meet with community organizations to learn more about what others do, and how we might be able to connect across sectors to support one another’s work. Whether you’re planning a single visit or interested in developing ongoing interactions, SAM’s relationships with the community are vital to our mission of connecting art to life.

If you're interested in connecting with SAM, please email us! We'd love to hear from you.​


Community Celebrations at SAM

Community Days & Nights

SAM’s Community Celebrations are active events, full of art-making activities, performances, and unexpected art experiences—all in collaboration with community partners! These events are free and open to all.

Día De Los Muertos

Community Days & Nights

Every year at SAM, Fulgencio Lazo and a team of local artists design a unique tapete (sand painting) to celebrate Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). The art and traditions of Día de los Muertos a​im to help us accept death as a part of life. Traditionally, people make beautiful altars called ofrendas (offerings), which are usually decorated with candles, flowers, water, bread, and fruit. During the free celebration, you will experience live music, performances, participate in art-making activities, and get moving on the dance floor!​


Naramore Seattle Public Schools

SAM is proud to partner with Seattle Public Schools to showcase the tremendously creative artwork of 150 middle​ and high school student artists in the first floor Community Gallery every year. A time-honored tradition, this student exhibition bears the last name of Floyd J. Naramore, an architect who designed local public schools from 1919 to 1941. SAM and Seattle Public Schools are very proud to honor these students’ creative achievements with them, their families, SPS art specialists, and all of our broader communities.​


image of students looking at art in the Community Corridor

The Seattle Art Museum's first floor Community Gallery is a free public space dedicated to showcasing the visual art of youth (K–12), and community groups that use the arts to amplify their voices, perspectives, identities, and explore connections to other exhibitions represented at SAM. The Community Gallery is located on the first floor of the Seattle Art Museum and can be found off the 1st and University entrance.

SAM’s Community Gallery is currently closed and unavailable to the the public. We are not taking applications at this time.


SAM welcomes all communities to visit, especially those for whom the cost of a ticket is prohibitive, and groups who have been historically excluded from the museum space due to systematic oppression, including communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, low income communities, queer communities, and the disability community. In recognition of these barriers to experiencing art, SAM offers free entrance to any requesting individual, family, or group as passes are available. Email us, or call us at 206.654.3210 to reserve tickets.

Due to COVID and restrictions on museum capacity, free passes are very limited and we may not be able to accommodate all requests. We ask that all groups complete a survey yearly about their experiences visiting SAM, so that we can continue to improve our accessibility as an institution.

K-12 school groups, please note the museum is currently closed to groups. Learn more about our virtual offerings for school audiences here.

SAM is grateful to Amazon for supporting the Community Pass Program.

Tickets requests for auctions/events can be made through the Membership Department.


IMAGES: Photo: Catherine Anstett. Photo: Catherine Anstett. Photo: Catherine Anstett. Photo: Catherine Anstett. Photo: Catherine Anstett. Photo: Natali Wiseman. Photo: Natali Wiseman.​​​

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM