No Admissions Fee
No Admissions Fee
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has offered free admission since they dropped the $7 price in 2007, providing free access to culture, history, art and education in the exhibits inside and outside and the beautiful grounds and gardens.
However, starting in April 2015, the IMA will charge $18 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 17 for single day passes; the outsides exhibits will remain free and 4-9pm on Thursdays will be free as well.
According to the IMA reps, this change has been made in order to decrease the percentage of the museum's $360 million endowment spending from 6% to 5% annually. Their concern is in remaining financially stable and able to reach the public for years to come, but considering the downfall of the admissions charge limiting access to the museum for so many people, the small difference in 1% doesn't seem worth it.
As an educational institution, with the ability to provide access to culture and art to people who would not otherwise have that exposure, this admissions charge seems unfair. The IMA expects memberships to increase, considering the $55 per year membership is more enticing now with the increased daily charge, but those who cannot afford the membership or the daily pass are then excluded from visiting the museum. Lower class families and people have the least amount of access to art and culture as it is; taking away free access to the museum just increases the knowledge gap between classes - the higher class people have the money to gain more knowledge and exposure while the lower class is excluded.
One of the museum's purposes is also to encourage interest and investment in art, not only that which has already been created, but future generations experimenting and learning to create for themselves. Free admissions has provided those even a bit curious about art to go and explore without any downside, encouraging them to learn; with an admissions fee, that curiosity may be pushed aside to avoid the high costs, especially for those who can't afford to spend that money. This is especially true among children; unless they can persuade their parents to pay the admissions fee to visit, they may not be able to see the art. As many children aren't passionate about art museums in the first place, this completely cuts them off from that experience; art is sadly being taken out of many public schools, and this may be the only place they get exposure to it.
Maxwell Anderson, director of the Dallas Museum of Art, saw memberships rise from 18,000 to 50,000 when he instituted a free-admission and free-membership policy, showing a clear example of just how many more people can be exposed to culture and education when access is free.
As Anderson stated, "Fixed fees for general admission discourage spontaneous visits and make art museums de facto attractions rather than porous educational institutions...Museums should focus on building operating endowments and annual contributions to the point where they can afford to offer free general admission to the permanent collection, even if special exhibitions are ticketed."
I agree with Anderson; considering the 1% change in endowment spending per year the IMA wants to change, it seems reasonable that the small difference could be made by building endowments and raising annual contributions rather than charging the public, especially as these sources already provide over 99% of funds for the museum.
Sign and share this petition if you want the IMA to not charge an admission fee!