1stfans: Brooklyn Museum builds giving membership

I don’t know much about museum or gallery membership in Ireland. I do know that the arts community needs to build private support funding streams to buoy through the next couple of brutal years with the impending budget cuts to arts.

Building Arts Audiences in Ireland: fresh approaches needed.

The Arts Council of Ireland has set up a site specifically to explore the way in which arts audiences can be built in Ireland: artsaudiences.ie They have alo of territory to cover, from visual arts to architecture. I hope they are talking to their counterparts in Northern Ireland: www.audiencesni.com

In addition to just getting people to show up, we should help the new audiences feel ownership/membership by ‘investing’ in the arts. Business events offer ‘micro sponsorship’ at low costs like €10-30; at Kiva, they call it microfinance. These international loans are small, but conglomerated- they make a significant contribution.

Museums do this with museum memberships. For example, IMMA has their first tier of membership at €50/yr (€30 concession).

Brooklyn Museum offer a special membership at a low cost $20/yr “a socially networked museum membership“. One of the bonuses is “1stfans will be the only ones with access to the Museum’s new Twitter Art Feed, an extremely awesome way of engaging contemporary artists.”

“The goal of 1stfans is to make our membership base reflect our audience as a whole, and with young patrons groups the goal is to attract a very small subset of folks within a certain age and income demographic. Both efforts are critical to securing the future of museum membership; we as institutions just go about it in different ways. For many 1stfans, their $20 membership is the first membership they’ve ever had at any museum.”

via Brooklyn Museum: Community: bloggers@brooklynmuseum » Why 1stfans is not a “young” Membership.

There’s something fresh about the idea of 1stfans besides that they’re getting people used to the idea of ‘giving’. Their twitterfeed http://twitter.com/brooklynmuseum has 24,798 followers. So far 1stfans has 213 followers. $4260 is a nice chunk of change.

It’s hard to say if this would work here in Ireland. Barriers might be: the lack of critical mass enough to have a ‘subsection’ of a social networked group; less per-capita on social networks in Ireland than Brooklyn? But I don’t think their 1stfans membership is limited to just people in Brooklyn & its surroundings. No point thinking about the barriers someone should try and adapt this idea here.

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