Just five minutes from downtown Wichita and nestled in the heart of the Museums on the River district, the Wichita Art Museum is home to a nationally renowned collection of American art. As one of the largest art museums in Kansas, WAM houses one of the country’s premier collections with 10,000+ works among their art holdings.

It’s difficult to narrow down such a wide-ranging collection to a handful of must-see artworks, but we’ve attempted to do the impossible with the list below. Be sure to explore the museum’s outdoor Art Garden and then take time once inside to notice the two dramatic and large-scale works by Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly as you make your way to the main galleries (Persian Seaform installation at the museum’s entrance and Confetti Chandelier hanging in the S. Jim and Darla Farha Great Hall).

In alphabetical order by artist:


An image of the Viola Andrews painting on display at Wichita Art Museum
Benny Andrews, Viola Andrews, 1986. Oil and collage on linen, 68 X 48 inches. Wichita Art Museum,
Museum purchase, Burneta Adair Endowment Fund

Viola Andrews

by Benny Andrews (1930-2006)
on view in the Elizabeth S. Navas Gallery

Andrews completed this oil and collage on linen portrait of his mother in 1986. He said she encouraged his interest in art that led to his career as an artist, educator and activist. He was born in Plainview, Georgia, in 1930, earned a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then lived, worked and painted in New York City for nearly five decades. Andrews co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, which agitated for greater representation of African American artists and curators in New York’s major art museums in the late 1960s and 70s.

A photo of the Kansas Cornfield painting on display at Wichita Art Museum
John Steuart Curry, Kansas Cornfield, 1933. Oil on canvas, 60 3/8 x 38 3/8 inches.
Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection

Kansas Cornfield

by John Steuart Curry (1897–1946)
on view in the Louise Caldwell Murdock Gallery

This 1933 oil on canvas was the first work acquired for the museum’s founding collection, the Roland P. Murdock Collection, in 1939. At approximately the same time, the Kansas native was finishing his work on the murals at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka.

According to WAM: During the early 1930s, Curry became associated with other artists who had similar painting philosophies, most notably Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. These three men comprised the heart of the Regionalist movement. The Regionalists were committed to creating scenes of their immediate surroundings, often in a search for inspiring images during the bleakest days of the Great Depression. 


A photo of the Conference at Night painting on display at Wichita Art Museum
Edward Hopper, Conference at Night, 1949. Oil on canvas, 28 1/4 x 40 5/16 inches.
Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection

Conference at Night

by Edward Hopper (1882–1967)
on view in the Excel/Cargill Cares Gallery

Considered one of the greats of twentieth century painting, Hopper completed this oil on canvas in 1949.

According to WAM: This painting is classic Hopper in its theme of voyeuristic glimpses of the city at night and its masterful exposition of such favored compositional devices as an open window, a near-empty room in a utilitarian structure, strongly-directed light from an unseen source, and anonymous figures engaged in some undefined yet intense social exchange to create an arresting psychological drama.


Living History Exhibit at Wichita Art Museum

Living History

by Beth Lipman (1971-)
being installed April 2022 in Boeing Foyer entry

The Wichita Art Museum commissioned this new, 14 feet long by 8 feet wide by 10 feet tall public sculpture by Lipman, considered a star of the contemporary art world. Consisting of nearly 3 tons of glass, wood, ceramic and metal, the piece is designed to reference the history, ecology and culture of Wichita and surrounding areas.

According to WAM: Living History recreates plants, grasses and rock formations found in the nearby Flint Hills. It also nods to iconic artwork in the museum’s collection, including barber poles from WAM’s Americana collection and vertical forms from artist Louise Nevelson’s Night Sun III sculpture on view in the Sam and Rie Bloomfield Gallery on the museum’s second floor. Combining ancient and modern forms, Living History explores issues of time—the fleeting impermanence of human life contrasted with the unimaginable expanse of geologic time—to depict the past, present and future of the Southwest Kansas prairie.


A photo of the East River painting on display at Wichita Art MuseumGeorgia O’Keeffe, East River No. 1, 1926. Oil on linen, 12 1/8 x 31 ⅛ inches.
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, 
Friends of the Wichita Art Museum

East River No. 1 

by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986)
on view in the Excel/Cargill Cares Gallery

The acquisition of this 1926 oil on linen painting holds a special place in the hearts of the Wichita Art Museum volunteer community. The volunteer alliance raised the funds for the 1979 purchase of a significant painting by O’Keeffe to fill what was considered a painful gap in the museum’s otherwise excellent representation of the Alfred Stieglitz circle of artists.

According to WAM: One of the reasons that Georgia O’Keeffe is recognized as a premier American modernist was the voracity of her genius, her eagerness to grasp so many dimensions of modernist vision and the range of her curiosity in her search for the essence of American experience. East River No. 1, depicting the view from the window of her 30th floor apartment in the new Shelton Hotel, Manhattan, New York, and the series of six images to which it belongs, represents one of the most realistic approaches in her stylistic spectrum.


A photo of the Smoking Cattle Out of the Breaks painting on display at Wichita Art Museum
Charles M. Russell, Smoking Cattle Out of the Breaks, 1912. Oil on canvas, 30 ¼ x 33 inches.
Wichita Art Museum, M. C. Naftzger Collection

Smoking Cattle Out of the Breaks

by Charles Russell (1864–1926)
on view in the Charles M. Russell Gallery

Charles Marion Russell is one of the premier artists of the historic American West. The Wichita Art Museum holds a prized collection by Russell, thanks to the generosity of passionate collector and museum leader M.C. Naftzger (1884–1972) and his family.

According to WAM: Russell’s firsthand experience outdoors as a ranch hand and with Native Americans lends important authenticity to his distinctive realism, and it contributed to his strong reputation for careful accuracy.


Note that the Wichita Art Museum rotates what pieces from its collection are on display and occasionally loans out works of art; be sure to check the museum’s online Collection Explorer tab to verify the display status of specific art you’re traveling to see.