In 1961, the Boise Art Association incorporated as a non-profit organization under the name Boise Gallery of Art. In the mid-sixties, the first professional staff members were hired and exhibition programming became more ambitious. The need for additional space quickly became a priority, and in 1972, construction began on a year-long expansion program. The building, which encompassed more than 10,000 square feet, re-opened to the public in 1973.
In 1986, the institution successfully completed a fundraising campaign to support a second renovation for expansion of its galleries as well as the establishment of an Endowment Fund. Upon completion of the expansion in 1988, the organization was renamed Boise Art Museum to reflect its focus on developing its Permanent Collection and education programs as well as the display of significant traveling exhibitions.