The West Valley Museum of Art, which today is located at Peoria City Hall, 8401 W. Monroe St., was originally created by several art enthusiasts in Sun City and Sun City West.
The Sun Cities Art Museum, its original name when incorporated in 1980, was initially to be built at the corner of Thunderbird Boulevard and Emerald Drive in Sun City. That land was eventually traded for property located between Sun City and Sun City West — just north of Bell Road and within the city of Surprise. The site was near what was originally intended to be an Arizona State University west side campus.
The facility opened in 1984 and was later expanded. For many years, it sat as the only structure constructed between Sun City and Coyote Lakes, and clearly visible from Bell Road. Its prominence led to Surprise officials renaming the street as Avenue of the Arts.
The organization’s name was later changed to the Sun Cities Museum of Art, and eventually West Valley Museum of Art to reflect the interests of the larger West Valley audience.
Facing mounting financial challenges caused by the “great recession,” the organization was forced to close the museum in 2009 and move to Peoria in 2010.
Today, the building, 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts, Surprise is home to the Sun Cities West Valley Corps of the Salvation Army.