FA Founder, Pat Nicholson, has begun to reach out to key philanthropists who regularly donate to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“Museum” or “Met Museum”)
- to ensure that they are aware that an 1878 Lease requires the City to provide rent-free tenancy of buildings to the Museum in Central Park;
- to ensure that they are aware that the same 1878 Lease requires that the Museum provide free admission to New Yorkers four days in the week in reciprocity for free rent;
- to ensure that they are aware that unamended and unrepealed Ch. 476 of the Laws of 1893 expanded the days and times New Yorkers were provided free of charge access;
- to ensure that they are aware that the Museum’s current admissions policy — which requires New Yorkers to “pay an amount [that] is up to you” — in effect is in violation of unamended and unrepealed Ch. 476 of the Laws of 1893 mandating that the Museum be open free to New Yorkers [see FA’s Expanded Efforts section];
- to ensure that they are aware that in giving dollars to organized sponsor programs containing free admission as a benefit [“courtesy cards”], they in effect are “unwittingly” supporting what FA considers to be a deceptive admissions policy, [see FA’s About Us section];
- to ask these key philanthropists to please urge the Museum’s “stewards” to comply with New York State law by following the steps FA recommends below;
- to show appreciation for their assistance.
FA is beginning by reaching out to the Met Museum’s Real Estate Council [names listed on the Met Museum’s website (with Corporate Patrons to follow [names listed on the Museums’ website])] to encourage them to broker change from within. Through this blog and direct outreach, FA is recommending that these generous philanthropists do the following:
- Pause for a moment to consider the terms of Ch. 476 and its provisions for Free Admission; [see FA’s About Us section]
- Contact the Museum’s development office and request to re-negotiate their company’s current [or future, if expiring] sponsorship package; and
- Support Free Admission by also letting the development office know that their company/philanthropy will continue only if the Museum changes its admission policy to [a] comply with Ch. 476 and [b] ensure its on-site signage and print material (and any related policies/procedures) reflects Free Admission for all New Yorkers.
FA regularly monitors the Museum’s procedures/signage to assess and report on its progress towards Free Admission. [Please note, FA explains on this website, that in May of 2018, Judge Shirley Kornreich of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Museum’s signage was “confusing.”] We are now urging these generous and supportive benefactors to support all New Yorkers – including their own employees – by asking the Museum to make signage accurate per the state’s laws so that it does indeed read “Free Admission For All New Yorkers”. [see FA’s About Us section]
We at FA support and thank all of these key benefactors to the arts in this city and state for what they do and the help they already give and simply ask them to ensure that the Museum complies with laws that make it possible for all New Yorkers to enter the Museum “free of any charge” because without rent-free tenancy, the Museum could not survive. [As has been reported in the media, the signage now makes it appear that admission is $25 for adults and many New Yorkers are too embarrassed to give less than that – including school groups, families, etc.]
As a “thank you”, FA will add the names of assisting philanthropists/philanthropies and/or such companies to an “honor roll” list to launch shortly on this website. [For their convenience, FA will direct them to its contact page, asking them to put “sponsor” in the subject line and to describe the results of their interaction with the Museum in the “your message” section.]
FA is hopeful that those who choose to invest philanthropic dollars, care that those dollars fund legally-compliant institutions.
Pat Nicholson is available to answer your questions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org