Dedicated on December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day), the McGuire Memorial Fine Arts Building became the current home of the Art Association of Richmond (Richmond Art Museum). Four galleries, an auditorium and classrooms for art and music were built as part of the Richmond Community Schools campus. The building cost of $100,000 was paid in part by a generous Richmond industrial family. Charles McGuire, owner of Dille & McGuire lawnmower manufacturer, another prosperous industry in Richmond, gifted $50,000 to the school to permanently house the Art Association of Richmond. The building was dedicated as a tribute in memory of his mother, Esther Elderkin McGuire. John Leonard Hamilton Jr. (1904-2002) from Chicago Illinois served as the architect.
The building housed the Richmond High School orchestra, the first high school orchestra in the United States, as well as the Richmond High School band. Will Earhart organized the first orchestra in 1900. The first orchestra was comprised of mandolin, violin and guitar along with a section of the boy’s glee club.
In 1993, Civic Hall Performing Arts Center was opened in the old high school gymnasium, providing new space for both the Richmond High School Band and Orchestra. Civic Hall Performing Arts Center also houses the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.
In 1996, the Art Association of Richmond changed its name to the Richmond Art Museum. The partnership between the Richmond Community Schools and the Richmond Art Museum remains intact, adhering to the original agreement set in 1915.