Keeping Art Alive (and well)
Article by Celia Gold
If you work in the arts (or education, or publishing, or various areas in manufacturing, you get the idea), you’re likely no stranger to fundraising. Whether your organization has a great big budget or whether that budget more closely resembles a piggy bank minus one ear, the role that fundraising plays in long-term sustainability cannot be overstated.
So when you find a model of generating support that works for you, you’d be well advised to stick to it. First launched in 1981, Art Alive is San Diego Museum of Art’s largest annual fundraiser; merging floral design, permanent collections, and current exhibitions into a weekend from which blossoms lush aesthetic hybrids and—if past events are any indication—a type of green that will help fund exhibition, education, and outreach programs for SDMA during the coming year.
How has SDMA maintained its 34-year track record of success? Elizabeth Kaplan, Director of Development and Membership at SDMA, explains, “Each year we try to do something new that the public hasn’t seen before and keep the fans coming back year after year while also striving to attract a new audience each time.” That latter emphasis on expanding audience stewardship by reanimating tried-and-true praxis is undoubtedly a vital principle. In many ways, sustaining (and influencing) the arts is not a solitary act: it takes a village.
Perhaps this is why Ben Lucero, who along with Jim Lennox of Pacific Event Production and a skilled team of floral designers is responsible for transforming SDMA’s iconic rotunda (to include a free-standing dragon climbing the museum fountain), cited audience reaction as the most generative moment of Art Alive: “I love to stand back and hear what people have to say, especially when they don’t know who you are. I live for the ‘oooohs’ and ‘awes.’ When it’s all [said] and done, and all I have to do is watch people’s reaction… it’s that first glance shimmer in their eyes… [t]hat’s what makes this all worth it!”
This year’s Art Alive takes its inspiration from current exhibition Brush and Ink: Chinese Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art Selected by Pan Gongkai and from the museum’s Asian art collection. Tickets for the opening celebration, Bloom Bash on Friday, April 29th are available for $200 (members) or $250 (non-members). If you can’t spring for the opening, (say your piggy bank is missing a tail, too), you can offer your support by attending the exhibition for a more nominal fee (Free for members, $20 nonmembers) anytime from 9am – 5pm Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 1st.
In the famous words of Henri Matisse, there are always flowers for those who want to see them. In addition to supporting the arts for Art Alive weekend, you’ll also be able to catch one of his paintings while you see them.
For tickets and more information click HERE.