Housed on the Modesto Maidique Campus of Florida International University, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum (formerly The Art Museum at FIU) opened in 1977. Initially a small gallery of less than 3000 square feet, the Museum grew to achieve local, national and international recognition as one of South Florida’s key cultural institutions. The Frost Art Museum’s extraordinary programmatic growth during the 1980s and 1990s, qualified the Museum for designation as a Major Cultural Institution by both the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County. Grants from both sources, complimented by endowments, membership and private and corporate giving, provide stable funding for annual programs. In 1999, the Museum received accreditation from the American Associations of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums) and reaccredited in 2011. In 2001, the Museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
Following the groundbreaking for its new facilities in 2003, the Art Museum at FIU was officially renamed The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. The museum gained a respected reputation for its innovative exhibitions, outstanding lecture series and educational outreach programs for South Florida’s diverse audiences. Through generous support from private donations as well as state and local government agencies, the Frost Art Museum is able to offer free admission to all exhibitions and public events.
The Museum’s growing collection has several notable donations of important groups of work. In 1989, the FIU leadership and the board of the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center in Coral Gables, ensured the intact survival of this important collection by transferring its ownership to the Frost Art Museum when the private museum closed.
Student and faculty exhibitions, an important component of the Museum's academic function, present the work of artists who have achieved significant state and national recognition, including NEA, MacArthur, Guggenheim and Florida Visual Artist Fellowships. The Betty Laird Perry Emerging Artist Collection was established with work acquired through the Betty Laird Perry Purchase Award which is granted to selected BFA and MFA students graduating from the FIU programs in visual arts.
The Frost Art Museum has recently begun to present exhibitions in Latin America and is working on future collaborations and partnerships with leading art institutions in these regions. These efforts to foster cultural, educational, and artistic exchanges compliment Florida International University’s commitment to its ever-growing international audiences.
The Frost Art Museum complements its exhibitions with a wide range of regionally unique and nationally recognized educational programs. The Steven and Dorothea Green Critics' Lecture Series directly connect South Florida's audiences with important artists, critics and art historians living today. The Wednesday After-Hours programming is designed to complement the Museum’s exhibitions and give visitors the chance to engage with the contemporary and confront the controversial via gallery talks, films, live music and performance art.
Long limited by space, the Frost Art Museum’s innovative exhibitions and broad range of educational programs are unparalleled in their quality and the diversity of audiences they serve. With the transition to the new 46,000 sq. ft. museum facility in 2008, the Frost Art Museum has the opportunity to better serve the University and the South Florida community. Reaffirming its commitment to the excellence of its collections, exhibitions and educational programs, the Frost Art Museum continues to broaden its base of support and serve an increasingly larger and more diverse constituency.