As part of a monthly program, a couple weeks ago the Development staff of the Brooklyn Museum came together to hear a presentation by Radiah Harper, the Museum’s Vice Director for Education & Program Development. These presentations, from various curatorial and non-administrative departments, serve to inform the Development office of any recent or upcoming initiatives from other departments around the Museum. When I think of our Education department, I tend to focus on those programs—Target First Saturdays, Creative Art Making, Arty Facts, and Meet the Museum—that have a direct membership component. When I heard Radiah speak, it reminded me that the education department produces just as many ambassadors and supporters of the Museum as any other department, Membership included. The fruits of that work often reach the Development office in surprising ways. At the end of January, we received a letter from a Patsy Glover stating the following:
Dear [Development Staff]
I spoke with you briefly last year regarding my experience over 50 years ago as a recipient of an art scholarship [to the Brooklyn Museum] I received at Graduation from P.S. 83 in Brooklyn.
I was exposed to many wonderful things that, up until then, I had no idea existed. I was a student for four years and met many wonderful people also. My interest in the arts around the world remains varied, to my betterment. When I think of the Brooklyn Museum it is with extreme proprietary comfort.
It is with much gratitude that I present this token of my appreciation to the Museum and its continuance.
Included with the letter was a check for $250 and two photographs. The first photograph is of Ms. Glover in front of the Museum in 1959, and the other one is of Ms. Glover with a painting of hers in 2003. Ms. Glover’s art classes here at the Museum contributed to a lifelong love of art and a career as an artist herself. Once we received the letter, we invited her to attend the Members preview in February for To Live Forever and Kiki Smith: Sojourn. She reiterated in person how much she enjoyed the Museum, and how she is grateful to have an institution with such remarkable education opportunities for people of all ages.
It’s cynical to think of the people that we educate and the public that we serve as being the next donors and supporters of the Museum, but in this case it’s true. It’s a testament to the great work of our Education department that people like Ms. Glover can make art a central part of their lives as a result of their educational experiences at the Museum, and we are grateful for her support.
Will Cary was the Brooklyn Museum's Membership Manager from January 2008 to May 2010. In addition to making sure all Brooklyn Museum Members got the most out of their Membership, he also developed the 1stfans Membership program in order to grow the Museum’s community of supporters. Before joining the Brooklyn Museum in January 2008, Will worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Will graduated from Williams College with a degree in Art History and Economics. Will now works in Membership at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.