Mission and Scope
The Coutts Museum of Art aspires to provide a stimulating and inspiring cultural and educational environment. The Coutts is dedicated to affording a unique visitor experience, and is committed to continuous improvement in every aspect of its collections, programs, interpretation, and presentation. The Museum aims to serve its diverse public as a dynamic, innovative, and welcoming cultural arts center of learning for all ages, heightening public discovery, understanding and appreciation of the arts world.
The Coutts Museum of Art is a unique regional destination museum and historic gathering place for people to experience the arts through significant and engaging exhibitions, innovative educational efforts and entertaining programs. The Coutts Memorial Museum of Art is located in El Dorado in an historic, three-floor museum, at 110 N. Main. The museum is located in Butler County, which has a population of 67,025 according to the 2016 Census. El Dorado is 25 minutes from Wichita in Sedgwick County, where the population is 511,995, according to Census statistics.
The museum was established in 1970 by Warren Hall Coutts, II., who was an El Dorado attorney. Coutts died in 1988 at the age of 88. He made known his wishes for the continuation of the museum, including new acquisitions and a vision of expanding in the future. The museum Board of Trustees, and new Executive Director Tim Howard, now oversee the operation and development of the museum, and efforts for expanding into two adjourning buildings through capital campaign efforts.
The museum’s artistic focus is to collect, preserve, and exhibit fine art. The museum's collection boasts more than 1,500 pieces of art, including: Makk, Renoir, Thomas Hart Benton, Picasso, Degas, and Frederic Remington.
The Coutts Museum of Art builds social capital by getting people involved though volunteer opportunities, Coutts Club After School Program, Family Art Night, Student Art exhibits and awards, an annual bus trip for any resident to travel with the Museum to visit other museums within a 6 hour radius, and art classes through the year for children and adults. Audience participation at our free, Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series offers the opportunity for people to come together who might not otherwise come into contact with other on a monthly basis. Individual and community cultural outcomes include pride, ownership, and sharing culture and history.
The Coutts also offers rentable art studios for artists who may want to ‘get away’ and privately paint, sculpt, draw, or write. In addition, the Coutts also offers the opportunity for private parties to be held within the Museum for a minor fee/donation.
The arts have a long history of bringing people together across boundaries -- increasing understandings across disparate and historically unequal groups, and supporting the agency of underrepresented communities to create, maintain, and share their own stories. Artists and arts organizations are an important resource in our path to building stronger connections within communities. Through rotating exhibits, the Museum offers the general public the opportunity to come and learn about art, and interact with other members of the community.
Finally, local artists are given the opportunity to schedule an exhibition of their works, a group exhibition, and/or the sale of their own private collection on consignment. This opportunity provides artists the opportunity to interact with local community members they may not have had the opportunity to meet.