The sad truth is that most art venues need financial help. Paid admissions provide one source of revenue but not enough. So at this time of year, museums come to us hat-in-hand to ask for your help. You may make an outright gift or you can join as a member of the museum.
What do you get in exchange for your membership? Check out this overview of some of the best known museums, but don’t forget to look into lesser known but equally appreciative local venues.
MoMA NY offers free admission to the museum, special exhibit times for members and discounts on shopping in the museum store and cafe. Members can even purchase guest tickets at a discount.
As San Francisco’s MoMA begins a major remodeling in June, 2013, membership will provide entry to numerous venues across the Bay area. Exhibits by SFMoMA will be displayed in other locales during the reconstruction period and members will be welcome at all of them with free or reduced admissions.
Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art features several levels of membership support, with varying benefits. Members receive special opportunities to view exhibitions, attend educational programs and enjoy the core collections.
Join the New Orleans Museum of Art and gain free admission to NOMA during regular public hours, a subscription to Arts Quarterly magazine and discounts in the Museum Shop. Higher membership levels receive even more benefits.
The Art Institute of Chicago includes parking discounts, a member lounge and special travel opportunities along with admission perks and discounted non-credit classes.
In searching for art venues to support, don’t overlook those affiliated with a nearby college or university. Membership opportunities may begin at lower prices than those of independent museums. The level of benefits will probably be different, as well.
Here are some questions to ask in deciding on a museum to support:
- Is the museum’s mission in line with your own philosophy?
- Are the benefits offered with membership of value to you?
- Does membership in this museum allow you access to others in a reciprocal arrangement?
- Will you be able to take advantage of the benefits you earn? Is the location and the scheduling of events convenient for you?
For some, the benefits are less important than the philosophy or art school supported with their funds. Other supporters want a specific return on their donation. Check out the membership page of the organization for full disclosure of the benefits and membership levels in your decision making process. Most importantly, support the arts at some level!