As the Gibbes Museum prepared to close in August of 2014 for renovations, staff had planned for years to make the transition flow as seamlessly as possible. Artwork was packed and stored offsite, funds were raised, locations for programs and events were secured, in-school programs were organized and membership benefits were altered. Myself and others in the Development department set to work designing new benefits that would continue to engage our members even though we did not have a museum to offer. This required some creative thinking from the entire staff as to how each department could expand their outreach towards our members. We understood that we would lose some members as a result of not having the museum open, but hoped that many members would continue to support the institution through this period. I’m happy to report that the continued support of our members, even while closed, has been overwhelming! Not only did we retain a vast majority of members, but we’ve welcomed many new members who have joined since we closed!
For the past 18 months, one of the main benefits of membership that the Museum emphasized was our extensive schedule of educational programs, classes for adults and children, and legendary parties. Members receive discounted tickets to these events and were the first to hear about them. Not only did we retain the same number of programs hosted when the Museum was open, but we added dozens more, including the Insider Art series which featured exclusive art viewing opportunities around town. Exploring these new venues and meeting all of our wonderful members and supporters is one of my favorite parts of being the Membership Coordinator at the Museum. Whether it’s at events, on the phone or via email, I get the chance to interact with our members on a daily basis and share in the excitement for these programs and the artistic community in Charleston. I feel honored and blessed to share in the excitement surrounding the reopening of the Gibbes.
If you’ve been a member of the Gibbes family for years, or are just hearing about the Museum for the first time, there has never been a better time to become a member or renew your membership! New membership benefits and prices will go into effect on May 1st, so renew now to take advantage of our current pricing. All members will receive free admission to the Museum, discounts on programs and classes, and those at the Family level and above receive reciprocal (free or discounted) admission at over 800 museums throughout the United States and Canada. The Museum is scheduled to reopen to the public on May 28 and we have a wonderful lineup of exhibitions and programs that you will not want to miss.
Gibbes on the Street: The Year of the Gibbes: May 12, 7:30-10pm – Please join us for our annual celebration in front of the Gibbes Museum on Meeting Street for a night filled with delicious bites from some of Charleston’s best restaurants. (Members $150, Non Members $175)
Museum Members Preview: May 27, 3-6pm – All museum members are invited to tour the renovated building and exhibitions before the Museum opens to the public on May 28. (Free)
http://www.gibbesmuseum.org/explore/upcom_exhibit2.php?id=114: May 28–October 9 – This exhibition celebrates George Gershwin’s famed opera, Porgy and Bess, as interpreted by visual artists since its creation. The exhibition includes a number of paintings from the 1930s era, including works by American realist George Biddle and paintings by Gershwin himself. The 1930s works are paired with more recent interpretations by contemporary artists Kara Walker and Jonathan Green.
The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South: May 28–October 9 – The Things We Carry features paintings, sculpture, photography, and mixed media works by a diverse group of contemporary artists. This exhibition addresses the difficult history of the south and the ways it is manifest today and provides a place where the Charleston community and visitors alike can come together to discuss the city’s past and the impact of the tragic 2015 Emanuel AME Church shooting, as well as celebrate the community’s response to social challenges.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Reopening: May 28, 10am – Please join the Gibbes Board of Directors, elected officials, and distinguished guests on the front plaza for the Grand Reopening of the Museum! (Free for Members. Included with Museum Admission for Non-Members)
Not sure if you’re a member or if your membership is current? Give me a call at 843.722.2706 x221 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you, and from all of us at the Gibbes, we hope to see you this summer when we officially reopen!
—Amanda Breen, Membership Coordinator, Gibbes Museum of Art