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.
The Museum was established in 1970 by Warren Hall Coutts, II., who was an El Dorado attorney. Coutts had originally bought our building, which had formerly been 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 to practice law together. Unfortunately in January 1965, Bud and three of his friends were killed in a plane crash and while he did keep his law practice here, the third floor became the Coutts Memorial Museum of Art, in memory of Bud. Over the years the museum has expanded past the third floor and throughout the entire building and this year the museum will be celebrating 50 years.
Warren Hall Coutts II
Warren Hall "Bud" Coutts III
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 Directors, and 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: the Makk family, Frederic Remington, Prairie Printmakers, and many local Kansas artists such as Bill Walton.
The Coutts Museum of Art engages the community by getting people involved though volunteer opportunities, Coutts Club After School Program, Student Art exhibits and awards, annual Festival of Arts, 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.
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. In addition to displaying its permanent collection, local artists are given the opportunity to schedule an exhibition of their works or a group exhibition. This opportunity provides artists the opportunity to interact with local community members they may not have had the opportunity to meet.