MISSION | The Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin connects people with art by engaging our community through exhibitions, education, collections and outreach.

Incorporated as a non-profit in 1977 and opened in 1985, the Ellen Noël Art Museum of the Permian Basin (ENAM) is the culmination of years of grass roots fundraising effort by Permian Basin citizens to build a fine arts museum. The Museum was renamed in 1995 to honor the leadership and philanthropy of Mrs. Ellen W. Noël.

The museum currently has four galleries, two classrooms, a self-directed family space, and a Sculpture & Sensory Garden. The Ellen Noël Art Museum is known for its active exhibitions schedule and outstanding education programming for all ages. As a non-profit organization, the Museum receives its funding from memberships, donations, grants, fundraising events and interest income from an endowment fund. Over 200 volunteers annually serve the Museum in many capacities, ensuring that the Museum’s programming remains dynamic, vital and responsive to community needs.



When the Museum was designed almost 35 years ago, museums were perceived as stewards that safeguard our cultural legacy. Today, museums are gathering places for social and educational interaction. The Museum’s solid brick façade and hidden entrance ways are psychological and physical barriers to entry. There is constant confusion as to where to enter the Museum.


A key factor in ENAM retention of AAM accreditation and Smithsonian Affiliation is meeting industry standards in terms of mechanical systems. The building’s mechanical systems have served the Museum well and many are original to the initial construction 35 years ago.

There is an expectation that certain systems be upgraded regularly and that new criteria addressed.


Configurable space that not only allows class rooms and meeting rooms but can also serve as one large venue that caters to a sit-down dinner for up to 500. This is a much needed community asset that can support local community programming by cultural organizations and serve corporate needs for signature events.


Arts & Economic Prosperity 5

$ 166.3 Billion in Direct Expenditures
4.6 Million Jobs

“A better reason why the economy needs a strong cultural scene is that it helps to attract and retain labor… Arts and culture are infrastructure for the mind.” Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial.

Americans Believe

89% | Arts institutions are important to quality of life, local business, and the economy

“In general, job opportunities pull individuals to cities, whereas specific aspects of quality of life retain them.” Catherine A. McLean, MA

Arts Institutions Add Value to Our Communities

91 % | arts facilities such as museums, theaters, and concert halls are important to their communities, regardless of whether they engage with the arts

70% | arts have a positive impact on communities stating the arts improve not only the quality and livability of their community, but also the image and identity.

The Arts Provide Meaning to Our Lives

73% | pure pleasure to experience and participate in

80% | positive experience in a troubled world

72% | attended an arts event last year

Arts are Part of a Well-Rounded Education

91% | believes the arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education

The vast majority of Americans (89 percent) also say the arts should be taught outside of the classroom in the community.

High arts participation and low socioeconomic status have a 4% dropout rate—5 times lower than their low socioeconomic status peers

Four years of arts and music classes average almost 100 points higher on their SAT scores than those who take only one-half year or less.

Low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.


The Ellen Noël Art Museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 2005. In 2010, the Ellen Noël Art Museum became the first Art Museum granted Affiliate status with the Smithsonian Institution in West Texas. The Museum celebrates its 34th anniversary this year.

AAM Accreditation and Smithsonian Affiliate designation signifies to lenders and donors that the Ellen Noël Art Museum operates at the caliber of a national museum service such as the National Gallery, MOMA, or any other first tier museum. The only major differences between these cultural organizations and ENAM is size and location. These designations attest that while ENAM may be small, it is also mighty. This gives confidence to potential lenders and donors.