Since the BMA offers free admission to the collection every day, we rely on the support of our Birmingham community to keep our doors open and our daily operations running smoothly. Here are 6 simple ways you’ll contribute to the Museum through your donation to the annual fund:
1. Looking Its Best
When you look at Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, it’s hard to notice anything else but the sheer beauty and expanse of the piece. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll notice the hard work that goes on around the frame to make it look its best.
So much work influences the beautiful work of art you see: the paint color on the walls, carefully selected by our Exhibitions Designer Terry Beckham and our curatorial staff; how the piece is hung on the wall and carefully lit by many light fixtures, thanks to our preparators; the distinct glow of the paint, made more vibrant by conservation efforts; a bench so visitors can look longer and more closely; and informational wall panels and our Museum app for further learning, provided by our Education department.
While looking at our Big Picture, you quickly see the many little aspects of daily Museum life that make a visitor’s experience great. With your help, we can continue presenting our art in the most beautiful and fulfilling way.
2. On The Road
In 2013, our Bierstadt traveled to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To travel to Washington and then on to New York City, the Bierstadt required 80 hours to build its crate, 8 people to take the painting off the wall, 10 people to move it, and 12-14 people to get it in its crate. While this took a bit of work from our staff, it was so rewarding to know that thousands of people were able to see this incredible piece.
Just this year, we loaned 77 works of art from our collection to 19 institutions. This work is vital for both the visibility and appreciation of our Museum and city. Even if you don’t see a work of art in our galleries, it can be traveling, in storage, or being conserved. There’s always something happening behind the scenes that is part of the Big Picture!
3. With A Little Help From Our Friends
Our docents and volunteers are invaluable to us. With a small staff and a huge Museum, the volunteers are always here to lend a helping hand. This past year, our docents recorded nearly 500 touring hours, where they brought our works of art to life through stories and conversation.
While the Big Picture is about the hundreds of little things that happen at the Museum daily, it is also about those in our community – especially you! – and all the ways you give back to us.
4. Connecting With Art
In 2014, the BMA provided 1,105 public programs. Each of these opportunities allows our visitors to connect with art in a new, inventive way. From our weekly ArtBreaks and Slow Art Sundays to exhibition openings and special lectures, we are always looking for new ways to make art come alive. If you’ve attended a program or special event at the Museum, you may have learned something new about art, a different culture, or even yourself. The Big Picture is about looking beyond ourselves and learning what the world has to offer.
5. Something For Everyone
With 140,000 visitors to the Museum this past year, we strive to offer a new experience for people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of art understanding. Free, daily art activities in Bart’s ArtVenture provide children opportunities to enjoy art, which is continuing to be cut from school curricula. Junior Patron events, like the annual favorite Art On The Rocks, give networking and social outlets for young professionals in our area. And programs like our nationally recognized Visually Impaired Program, which offers tours for those with visual impairments, go beyond the traditional Museum experience to make an impact on our visitors. Taking a look at the Big Picture means considering every visitor, every time they enter our doors. Who will be impacted by your gift?
6. One Of Many
While we have focused on our big picture (our beloved Bierstadt), the Big Picture is about so much more. With more than 27,000 objects in our collection that require just as much care and attention, we are quite busy at the BMA! Our collection, however, isn’t solely the Museum’s job to protect. Take ownership of our city’s collection today: give back in honor of your favorite artwork, a favorite memory at the BMA, or for the future of our city’s Museum. Support the arts and Birmingham here.