The Art Center Association of Sioux City was first incorporated in 1914 as the Sioux City Society of Fine Arts by John C. Kelly, John McHugh, W.P. Manley, T.A. Black, Alice K. Lawler and Cora E. Henderson. From its inception to the opening of the Sioux City Art Center in 1938, the Society sponsored art classes and exhibitions. Classes were held in various community buildings, as well as in Grandview Park during the summer months. Exhibitions were displayed at the Sioux City Public Library and the Woodbury County Court House.
In 1937, the Art Center Association of Sioux City along with the Sioux City Junior League and other community supporters petitioned the United States Government to establish a W.P.A. Art Center in Sioux City. They received a grant of $3,000, of which only half was used because citizens, businesses and local union members volunteered their creativity and labor to create their art center.The continuity between the original Sioux City Society of Fine Arts and the later Sioux City Art Center is also apparent in the Society’s mission to “promote and cultivate the fine arts, and foster art in all its branches; to promote the welfare of art in the City of Sioux City.” The Board of Trustees are appointed by the City of Sioux City.