Another Year of Free Public Programs
Posted on November 12, 2015
Dean Sobel, director of the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM), announced today that the Clyfford Still Museum will present all of its educational and public programs free of charge in 2016. The announcement follows a pilot year of free programs during which the Museum presented more than twenty public events at no charge, and all but two free events requiring advance registration were booked to capacity. Sobel also announced that the Museum will continue to offer free general admission on Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., an offering that has made Friday the Museum’s busiest day of the week.
To celebrate with the community, the Museum will offer free general admission all day on Black Friday, November 27, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests can enjoy the critically acclaimed exhibition, Repeat/Recreate: Clyfford Still’s “Replicas,” which features masterworks by Still from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and more of the world’s most renowned collections. The Denver Post calls Repeat/Recreate “the most ambitious exhibition in the Museum’s four-year history.” ARTnews describes the exhibition as “a once-in-a-lifetime occasion,” and Westword calls the exhibition “marvelous.”
“We have learned a great deal from the spirited engagement with both new audiences and our core membership in 2015,” says Sobel. “The popular response to our free programs over the last year demonstrates our potential to better serve more citizens in Denver. As we approach our fifth anniversary next fall, the Museum is excited to rise to the challenge of further participating in this city’s thriving civic and cultural dialogue.”
Fall and Winter Keynote lectures at CSM experienced the largest gains in participation overall, with attendance that nearly tripled for those newly free programs. The Museum’s signature gallery program, “One Painting at a Time,” drew 69% more participants as a free program, compared with 2014 when participation required paid general admission. Even CSM events that had always been free experienced gains in 2015: attendance grew by 35% at the Museum’s series of summer lawn concerts; CSM’s architectural presentation for the Denver Architectural Foundation’s Doors Open Denver weekend experienced a 60% increase in attendance; and attendance at the Museum during Visit Denver’s Night at the Museums evening increased 74%, making it the most popular Night at the Museums event in the Museum’s history.
Along with presenting free programs and events, the Museum offers more than one hundred hours of free general admission annually in recognition of taxpayer support for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Admission is also free at all times for youth 17 and under, a new policy announced by the Museum in August. CSM’s inStill Gallery Experiences for schools—an education program for grades four through 12 offered at no cost to all schools, with bus funds also available —entered its fourth semester this fall, and has now welcomed nearly 4,000 participants.
The Museum has created three new full-time positions in the last year in order to better support increasing public interest: a manager of education and programs for schools and youth, to help build on the successful launch of the inStill program and support the Museum’s new policy of free youth admission; a director of digital media, to expand the Museum’s potential for broader and richer interactions both within and beyond its walls; and a director of audience and community engagement, to discover new ways to serve core audiences as well as historically underserved communities, and better incorporate their voices in Museum planning and programming.