IMA to Charge Admission

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The Indianapolis Museum of Art will begin charging $18 for general admission tickets in April. The venue says the change is part of a plan to enhance the campus and improve visitor experiences. The museum says it will provide new and diverse programming, like Family Days, and new classes and summer camps for kids.

December 12, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) announced today new strategies that will focus on enhancing visitor experiences and long-term financial stability. The comprehensive strategies will create changes to the museum to foster new and diverse programming for all audiences, renovations to IMA facilities and campus, and long-lasting relationships with IMA guests. These plans were approved unanimously at yesterday's IMA board of governors meeting.

"Throughout our year-long strategic planning effort, we asked ourselves what we can do to make a visit to the IMA a more relevant and memorable experience for guests," said Tom Hiatt, chair of the IMA's Board of Governors. "The changes we have identified will allow us to grow in new ways, better learn from and connect with our patrons, provide exceptional experiences that leverage all of the IMA's strengths, and help ensure a strong financial foundation for years to come."

The IMA currently receives less than 1 percent of its annual budget from government sources and therefore relies on membership, fund raising efforts, public support and its endowment for more than 99 percent of its revenue.

New and Diverse Programming

The IMA is launching an exciting menu of new programs, including the exhibition Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas opening next May. Also, a new curatorial position to manage audience experiences and performance has been added. In this role, Scott Stulen utilizes the IMA’s great art collection, garden and nature resources, historic buildings, research capabilities in art and science, along with innovative technologies, in ways that will engage and delight a broad range of patrons.

"Our programming lineup grows stronger every day," said Dr. Charles L. Venable, the IMA’s Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO. "We have been enhancing our programming for children as well as adults, and have been holding ‘listening sessions’ with our community neighbors to see what kind of activities they would like to see at the IMA. This opportunity to get to know our visitors better and to be more engaged with our community is extremely exciting."

Highlights will include:

-A new ARTx series offering a robust menu of highly interactive programming that will appeal to a broad range of audience interests. This series is made possible by a $1 million gift from the Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). Examples of upcoming programming include: Avant Brunch, ART X FIT and IMA’s first performing artist in residence Know No Stranger.

-Family-friendly programming including monthly Family Days, new classes and summer camps for children and teens.

-Additional new programming focusing on experiences in nature and use of the IMA’s gardens, Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse, and Gene and Rosemary Tanner Orchard.

Renovations to IMA Facilities and Gardens

Research into IMA’s visitor experience indicated the need to change the way many visitors enter the campus so more patrons are aware of all the opportunities available at the IMA, both inside and out. To improve customer service and way-finding, the IMA is adopting the one-entry policy commonly used by public gardens and museums across the country. While visitors to the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres will enter as they do now, the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion will become the welcome center for guests attending the original 52-acre museum and garden property. Enhanced plantings and access gates will be installed in certain areas to guide visitors into the welcome center. By welcoming all visitors through a single entrance, IMA staff and volunteers will maximize their opportunities to engage with new and returning guests. Maps, guides and daily listings of special events both on and around the campus will be given to visitors, while everyone will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on their experiences at the IMA. A new "Garden Path" will guide guests from the welcome center to the Showalter Pavilion where they will begin their garden experience. Beginning in April 2015, a new eco-friendly tram will offer visitors easy access to the extensive gardens and sites, including the Lilly House and Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse and Shop. While on their tram ride guests can listen to a guide highlighting features of the National Historic Landmark site, including its gardens and historic buildings.

The museum plans to improve navigation and programming on its 152 acre-campus. Additional plantings are being made for greater season color, while new easy-to-read signage and more sidewalks will enable easier access to the attractions of The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres and the Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin Mall where Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes and Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculptures are installed. In addition, vehicular traffic will be eliminated on roads meant for pedestrians.

Long-Lasting Relationships

To build stronger relationships with guests, ensure quality programming through customer feedback and to guarantee long-term financial sustainability, the IMA will be refining its admission pricing policy. Visitor research has shown that IMA guests do not like paying for parking and key programs like exhibitions separately. Starting in April, an adult general admission ticket of $18 will include the cost of both parking and exhibitions. ($10 for children ages 6-17; ages five and under are free). Annual membership prices will remain at $55 for individuals or $75 for families. Purchasing a membership will allow guests to enjoy unlimited admission into the museum and gardens (including special exhibits like Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas), early access and reduced or free admission to IMA events, free parking and discounts in the Museum Store, Greenhouse shop and the IMA Caf?.

Experiences that will continue to be free for the general public include:

-Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres

-The Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin Mall (Five Brushstrokes and LOVE sculptures)

-Museum Store

-IMA Caf?

Admission will also be free for:

-Scheduled Marion County public and charter school field trips

-College students from four-year, non-profit and public colleges and universities in Marion County

-General public every first Thursday of each month from 4-9 p.m.

Instituting a new admission policy will also help to further extend IMA’s reach into the community. The IMA recognizes the strong economic impact arts and culture have in a community, and the museum will continue to build significant and sustained partnerships with other local arts, education and community organizations that strengthen each institution and impact the community in relevant, positive ways. Income from admission and membership revenue will help to support this community engagement effort.

"To build and enhance the IMA, it is critical we improve the relationships we have with our local community. While we want people to come to the IMA, we also want to take the IMA out into the community," said Venable . "Being more active in our community will allow us to reach a more diverse group of people than have traditionally come to the IMA’s campus. Having more relevant and financially-sustainable programming will ensure the IMA’s place as a cornerstone cultural and educational institution in central Indiana."

About the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art serv