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 Museum of Art is located in El Dorado in an historic, three-floor museum.
The Museum was established in 1970 by Warren Hall Coutts, II., who was an El Dorado attorney. Coutts had originally bought our building, formerly the Butler County State Bank, with the intent of turning it into a law office for him and his son, Warren Hall ("Bud") Coutts, III. Unfortunately, in January 1965, Bud and three of his friends were killed in a plane crash. In memory of Bud, Mr. Coutts transformed the third floor into the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art. Over the years, the Museum has expanded throughout the entire building and in 2020 the Museum celebrated 50 years.
Warren Hall Coutts II
Warren Hall "Bud" Coutts III
Mr. Coutts died in 1988 at the age of 88. His wish: the continuation of the Museum, including new acquisitions and a vision of expanding in the future. The Museum Board of Directors, and Executive Director Thea Howard-Dickson, now oversee the operation and development of the Museum, as well as efforts for expanding into adjourning buildings through capital campaign efforts.
The Museum’s mission is to support art, artists, and art education in the community, in the region, and to its visitors because experiencing and creating art taps into the very experience of being human and is something that should be available and accessible to all.
The Museum's collection boasts more than 1,500 pieces of art, including: the Makk family, Frederic Remington, Prairie Printmakers, and many local Kansas artists such as Bill Walton.
The Coutts Museum of Art engages the community through its exhibits, youth and adult programming, and by getting people involved though volunteer opportunities. The Coutts Club After School Program, Student Art Show, Festival of Arts, monthly Brown Bag Lunch Concert, and art classes throughout the year for children and adults are just a few of our programs, many of which are offered for free. Individual and community cultural outcomes include pride, ownership, and sharing culture and history.
In addition to displaying its permanent collection, local artists are given the opportunity to schedule an exhibition of their works or a group exhibition. These rotating exhibits provide artists the opportunity to interact with local community members they may not have had the opportunity to meet, and offers the general public the opportunity to come and learn about art and artists, and interact with members of the community.