The Indianapolis Museum of Art has landed a $200,000 grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. The attraction will use the funding to develop a five-year strategic plan based on the “evolving role” of art museums.

January 16, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today that it received a $200,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop an innovative and sustainable business model that will serve as the foundation for a new five-year strategic plan.

The planning project will explore the evolving role of the art museum in the 21st century through professional consulting, audience research and public programming. The expected outcome of the project is a long-term business model that more healthily balances earned income, philanthropic gifts and spending from the museum's endowment. The museum also expects that the project will lead to the development of exceptional and interactive experiences for a broad audience across the IMA's art galleries, historic homes, botanical gardens and art park.

“The IMA has a rich 130-year history in our community, and the generous support we have received through the years from Lilly Endowment has been critical to our development as a great museum. This new planning grant will greatly advance our efforts to create a financially sustainable business plan and ensure our ability to provide extraordinary experiences for our visitors for the next 130 years,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “With an encyclopedic collection of more than 54,000 works of art and 170 acres of land that feature gardens, a park, a lake, three historic homes, and a major museum facility complete with three theaters, a science lab, conservation studios, and numerous educational spaces, the IMA has huge potential to serve a larger audience through innovative programming that combines art, nature and science. This grant will help us harness our resources in innovative ways so we can reach our full potential in serving our community and region.”

With the aid of this grant, the IMA will work to enhance the museum experiences for loyal visitors and long-standing donors, in addition to pursuing the development of new audiences through the creation of more immersive and interactive experiences related to the IMA's collection, historic buildings, and expansive grounds. The planning project will guide the IMA through an expansion of its vision for the future through three distinct, but interconnected methods:

1. Professional Consulting – Beginning in February 2014, the IMA will employ the consulting services of Innovatrium, an organizational development firm founded by three University of Michigan professors. Innovatrium will guide the IMA's staff, board, and key stakeholders as they assess the museum's organizational culture and competency and develop a shared culture of innovation, create a common mission, and build a new, sustainable business model for the IMA. Innovatrium has worked with other art museums throughout the country on similar projects, including the Toledo Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Minneapolis Institute for the Arts, and the High Museum of Art.

2. Audience Research – Over the course of the next year, the IMA will conduct research both onsite and throughout the community to assess the perceptions, behaviors and needs of current and potential audiences in order to inform the operations, programming and marketing of the Museum. Through this process, the IMA will improve the current visitor experience while concurrently expanding its audience through innovative programming and outreach. The IMA will collaborate with Purdue University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management as it conducts onsite visitor research and customer service assessments.

3. Innovative Museum Leader Speaker Series – Throughout 2014, the museum will engage the IMA board, staff, and community in a dialogue about the challenges and opportunities that art museums face in the 21st century. Leaders from the museum field will share their stories of success through an ongoing speaker series that is free and open to the public. Scheduled speakers include:

a. Steven Koblik, President of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens / January 29, 6:30 p.m., The Toby

b. Marie McKee, President of the Corning Museum of Glass / March 6, 6:30 p.m., The Toby

c. Bonnie Pittman, Distinguished Scholar in Residence UT Dallas and former director of the Dallas Museum of Art / May 6, 6:30 p.m., The Toby

“The Indianapolis Museum of Art and its diverse array of resources are invaluable assets to our community,” said Ace Yakey, the Endowment's vice president for community development. “The Endowment is pleased to support the IMA's efforts to ensure the museum remains relevant and sustainable for future generations.”

About the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Encompassing 170 acres of gardens and grounds, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is among the 10 oldest and 10 largest encyclopedic art museums in the United States and features significant collections of African, American, Asian, European, contemporary art and design arts. The IMA offers visitors an expansive view of arts and culture through its collection that spans 5,000 years of history from across the world's continents. The collections include paintings, sculpture, furniture and design objects, prints, drawings, photographs, textiles and costumes.

Additionally, art, nature and science are featured at The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres and Oldfields–Lilly House and Gardens, a historic Country Place Era estate and National Historic Landmark on the IMA grounds. Beyond the Indianapolis campus, in May 2011 the IMA opened to the public Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana. One of the country's most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences, the Miller House was designed by Eero Saarinen, with interiors by Alexander Girard, and landscape design by Dan Kiley.

Located at 4000 Michigan Road, the IMA is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Lilly House is open until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The IMA is closed Mondays and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days. For more information, call 317-923-1331 or visit

Source: Indianapolis Museum of Art

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