Embracing the Future: 2010-2017
Reports in the 2010s
In 2011, echoing the message of the annual reports throughout the year, President Maggie Walker wrote about the activities and exhibitions which "strengthen the museum’s bonds with the community and speak to SAM’s commitment to reaching a broad audience," noting that "Our aim is to nurture within our community a lasting relationship with the arts" (2010-2011). A variety of noteworthy exhibitions and educational programs helped actualize this goal. Of note, this fiscal year saw "the first major exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work in the Northwest," which proved to be the most popular exhibition in the history of SAM Downtown, and the fourth most-attended exhibition in United States in 2011 (2010-2011).
The 2013-2014 annual report saw Winifred Stratton, President of the Board of Trustees, and Kimerly Rorschach, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, reflecting upon eighty years of SAM. The occasion was marked by an exhibition that harkened back to the museum's beginnings:
We celebrated our 80th anniversary with the exhibition "A Fuller View of China, Japan, and Korea" at the Asian Art Museum, which told the story of our collection’s beginning with a focus on SAM’s founder—Dr. Richard Fuller.
This report also introduced the three-year strategic plan for 2014-2017, which outlines a dynamic vision for the upcoming years of development and growth at SAM, and affirms the foundational core values that have been a part of the museum’s identity from its earliest days: Creativity, Excellence, Engagement, Diversity, Accessibility, and Stewardship. In serving these core values, SAM fulfills its role “as an anchor institution in a forward-thinking global city” and “aspires to embody and inspire the Seattle region’s dynamism and enhance its global profile while contributing to a healthy and vibrant community and enriching the lives of its citizens” (2014-2017 Strategic Plan).
Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 "brought program growth across many areas for the Seattle Art Museum, with a notable increase in activities related to modern and contemporary art, both exhibitions and acquisitions, as well as our vibrant education and community programs. Over 873,000 people visited our three locations in 2015–16, a significant increase over the 691,000 visitors in 2014–15."
Aesthetically and stylistically, the reports have changed drastically from their modest beginnings, but the clear underlying desire to establish Seattle as an international center for culture while promoting “recreation, inspiration, and education” of the public is still very much as present as it has always been, and guides the vision for the future of the institution. Driven by the mission statement that was crafted in 2001-2002, SAM continues to Connect Art to Life.