Thursday, May 27, 2010

A telethon to save your art museum

Tyler Green: Modern Art Notes - A new way to support your art museum: A telethon: "As economic troubles have hit Michigan and southeast Michigan in particular, the Detroit Institute has struggled. It has slashed its operating budget from the tens of millions into the teens, laid off staff and taken other austerity measures. No major American art museum has been more affected by the nation’s economic downturn than Detroit.

In recent years some of the museum’s biggest sources of revenue have all but dried up. (Example: the state of Michigan has cut its funding to the museum by more than 85 percent). So the DIA is fighting back on multiple fronts. A couple weeks ago Mark Stryker at the Detroit Free Press reported that the museum plans to seek a local property tax millage — not dissimilar from the one St. Louis city and county has to support St. Louis cultural attractions — to support the DIA. The Freep reported that the museum’s polling shows that 70 percent of voters would approve such a measure.

Today the museum tries something a little more direct: A telethon on Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV. Throughout the day WDIV will feature stories on the museum and its collections. The telethon will encourage Detroiters to give to the DIA and to become members of the museum — and at special rates. WDIV is also running some web specials on the occasion of the telethon, including this slideshow which features Cary Grant visiting the museum. If you’d like to support one of America’s great collections, click here or call 1-888-YEAR125.

(And if a telethon increases awareness of the museum and its needs ahead of a process that ends up with a property tax-for-the-DIA being on the ballot…)

Wikipedia: A telethon is a fundraising event broadcast on television that lasts many hours or even days, the purpose of which is to raise money for a charitable, political, or other allegedly worthy cause. Correspondingly, the term is a portmanteau of "television" and "marathon".