AKRON, OH.- The Akron Art Museum
and The J.M. Smucker Company announced a $1.125 million gift in support of the museums endowment and Free Thursdays. The gift provides important financial assistance and will help to make the museum accessible to more people, supporting both enhanced programming and extended hours of operation in service of the museums mission to enrich lives through modern and contemporary art.
Smucker Company President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Smucker said "We are proud of our long-standing partnership with the Akron Art Museum and are pleased to provide support that makes arts and culture available in our communities. We are honored to make world-class art accessible to more people."
The generous gift from the Smucker Company builds upon their legacy of supporting the museum, said John S. Knight Director and CEO of the Akron Art Museum, Mark Masuoka. The museum is transforming itself, and we will continue to provide spectacular modern and contemporary art exhibitions. But now, more purposefully, we are providing programming that attracts people from all over the community. Our commitment to being a community asset inspires us to invest in making what we do accessible to everyone, and this gift helps break down one important barrier.
With financial support from Smucker, the Akron Art Museum has offered free admission to its galleries on Thursdays, along with extended hours of operation from 11:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. since 2013. Free Thursdays often includes elements of free or discounted museum programming, including childrens activities, artist talks, music performances and more. The museum has seen an increase of 35% in overall attendance during this time, many of whom are first-time visitors.
The Smucker gift will also make it possible for visitors to join the museum at a discount. On Thursdays, visitors interested in becoming new members of the museum will be able to join at a 25 percent discount. Museum Director of Advancement Bryan de Boer said, Being able to offer new memberships at a discount allows us to start new conversations with people who want a deeper museum experience. Thanks to Smucker we hope to welcome many more people as members to the museum, and share the special experiences and wide variety of benefits members have access to every day, all year-long.