Explore an Italian Renaissance-style villa designed by Milwaukee architect David Adler and built on the bluffs of Lake Michigan.
The Villa Terrace Art Museum was originally designed as a family home. After returning from a trip to Italy, Milwaukee socialites Lloyd and Agnes Smith commissioned architect David Adler to design a family home in the style of an Italian Renaissance villa. Its lakefront location inspired the name Sopra Mare (“above the sea” in Italian).
After Lloyd passed in 1944, Agnes remarried and moved to the East Coast. In 1966, she donated the former family home to Milwaukee after learning the Milwaukee Art Museum needed space for their decorative arts collection. Rechristened as the “Villa Terrace” the Museum opened in 1967. The Villa Terrace operated under the Milwaukee Art Museum for seven years before parting ways.
Today Villa Terrace and its Renaissance Garden are zoned as Milwaukee County parkland. Together, they serve the citizens of Milwaukee through the creation and promotion of local, regional and international visual and decorative arts, and a wide range of intergenerational community arts programming that includes live music, yoga, art workshops and lectures. The Villa is home to the world’s largest collection of Cyril Colnik ironworks. The Museum hosts several contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year highlighting craft and material exploration. The Museum launched the Villa Art-in-Residence Program in 2023 to support local artists.
2220 N Terrace Ave
10 am - 2 pm
10 am - 2 pm
Fully wheelchair accessible