Before the renovation, the Eskenazi Museum of Art welcomed almost 90,000 students and guests annually. Visitors enjoyed a host of special exhibitions, lectures, musical programs, and publications, all of which were provided free to everyone! Only a third of American art museums can afford to offer free admission, so we are grateful and fortunate to be a truly public service.
Behind the scenes during the renovation, museum staff worked diligently to study and care for the artwork in our collection. After we reopen this fall, we hope to welcome more guests to our amazing museum and offer more programs and activities that engage our community with our extraordinary collection.
Only a third of American art museums can afford to offer free admission, so we are grateful and fortunate to be a truly public service
While the museum is free, our work and activities take time and money. Where do those funds come from? The lion’s share (60 to 65 percent) of monies to operate the museum come from Indiana University, which pays for a large portion of the museum’s staff. Although IU provides a solid foundation of support, it is a common misconception that the university pays for everything. The museum’s operations are also supported through monies generated by endowments (approximately 20 percent), which help to underwrite certain positions, such as the Beverly and Gayl W. Doster Paintings Conservator, and key functions like exhibitions. These endowments were generously created by donors who want to ensure that these core activities of the museum are supported into the future.
The remaining funds needed to present exhibitions, host lectures, produce publications, conserve works of art, and so on, come from funds that are donated each year by engaged and far-sighted individuals. These activities are crucial to the museum’s success and can only happen through the annual generosity of hundreds of museum donors. Overall, in 2018 the museum raised $8,011,659 in gifts and bequests that will significantly impact our future activities.
We know that we can do more and greater things if we have sufficient resources, so we are creating a strategy to increase support for our key priorities with the ultimate goal of being one of America’s great university teaching museums! The following are some of the ways that we are reshaping our fundraising tactics.
The museum’s development department is working with the new IU Strategic Campus Advancement (SCA) office to determine how best to leverage resources and receive help with annual giving, grants, and high-level donor engagement and events. While SCA and IU’s grant and research offices offer great resources, we have determined that increasing our own capability will be essential to advancing the many opportunities for foundation and governmental grants. In 2018, we successfully secured funding from The Henry Luce Foundation for $250,000 to hire a temporary assistant curator who will research our incredible photography holdings in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive. A resulting publication will help draw attention to this amazing collection.
Through an assessment of strategies and best practices, the development department determined that some restructuring was in order. We are now in a position to increase our efforts toward reaching out to individuals who may be interested in the museum. A new Associate Director of Development position will be dedicated to fundraising, and we have hired Joii Cooper as Assistant Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship. She will help provide leadership, strategy, and project management for our development programs, including communications and events that inform, inspire, and involve current and potential future donors.
Building awareness, the museum’s brand, and how we communicate with alumni and the public also have a great impact on our ability to fundraise. We are delighted that Mariah Keller has been promoted to Director of Creative Services, and under her leadership, we have already made a lot of headway toward the creation of a communications plan that will help us advance our fundraising goals. In addition, we have hired a new Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Kristin Londergan, who will play a key role in our re-opening and our ability to inspire museum guests to become donors.
For All: Bicentennial Campaign Update
Significant progress has been made toward our new goal of $60.1 million for the For All: Bicentennial Campaign. In the IU Foundation campaign report summary, which was updated on February 28, 2019, we raised $55,721,387. The museum is on track for surpassing this new goal by 2020. In large part, the campaign constitutes estate and planned gifts, funds for the renovation, and gifts of important works of art. These generous commitments signal a bright future ahead, and we hope they inspire more people to help with our annual fund and operating needs.
Annual Giving and Director’s Circle
In 2018, the development department focused its efforts on our Director’s Circle, a group that strongly believes in our vision and mission and gives $1,000+ annually. The department also took advantage of this period of temporary closure and renovation to restructure, with a focus on transitioning our fundraising goals for reopening and beyond. Last year, we had 255 donors (at all gift levels), and our Director’s Circle membership included 59 households. We are also fortunate to have sustained support from our highest level of donors. For the annual fund, unrestricted support, we raised $79,978.