The Gibbes Museum of Art is home to the foremost collection of American art that incorporates the story of Charleston. The Museum connects the city and region’s artistic past to a vibrant contemporary art scene. This is what we believe.
A bustling seaport in the 1700s, Charleston was a melting pot of cultures, religions, and traditions. Powered by the rice and indigo trade, and slavery, it was the 4th largest city in America in 1790 – and the wealthiest. Like Philadelphia, Boston and New York, what distinguished Charleston then – was art.
While we were home to some of America’s earliest art, collectors, artists, who made the City both muse and subject – and taken our turn as one of the nation’s richest cities – in money and culture – so were we also home to America’s original sin, slavery – and a war that divided our nation.
In 1888, when Charleston was financially and culturally on its knees, benefactor James Gibbes left a bequest to the City to build an art museum.
When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, revel in our experience, rebuild what’s broken, nourish our souls, and release all that holds us back.
Through our complicated history, through light and shadow, we have persevered – humanity intact.
Art is the reason Charleston will endure.
In Charleston, we believe art is the difference between merely existing and being truly alive.
That’s why we immerse ourselves in every part of it – from fine art to craft – from nurturing its creation and celebrating its multicultural presentation – to inviting its interpretation and ensuring its preservation.
Because when we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to people and ideas, to beauty, craft, process and detail, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, to questions, expression and emotion, to truth and transcendence.
In the presence of art, we have the opportunity to see inside someone’s heart, mind, and soul and feel what they felt. That understanding and compassion make us more understanding, compassionate people, who, in turn, create a more compassionate, understanding world.
The Gibbes Museum of Art Board of Directors is made up of a diverse and dedicated group of business and community leaders, educators, collectors, and philanthropists.VIEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Gibbes Museum of Art is recognized among the oldest arts organizations in the United States. Home to the Carolina Art Association, established in 1858, the Gibbes has played a significant role in both enriching the aesthetic and cultural lives of its visitors and shaping the careers of American artists for over a century.VIEW TIMELINE
We actively encourage sustainable practices and implement small but lasting actions to conserve natural resources. Sustainability allows us to meet the needs of the present, build an environmentally conscious culture for the future, enhancing both our mission and the community’s experience. To learn more about our sustainability efforts, download our PDF of current and future initiatives.
Join a group of young professionals supporting the museum with social and educational programs made for up-and-coming art patrons.LEARN MORE
Volunteer time and talent for events and programs that benefit the Gibbes and support its mission of enhancing lives through art.LEARN MORE
See how our multidimensional renovation helped us increase our exhibition, studio, and programming space – and bring more art to more people.LEARN MORE
We believe art is a calling – and a career.LEARN MORE