I just received the request to renew my membership to MoMA and was reminded of a funny story.
I have been a MoMA member for probably 20 years. I feel it's important to support the institutions that are valuable to me (and of course the discounts, members' previews and avoiding the long ticket lines are a plus). When I moved my studio to Massachusetts, I was able to get an "International" membership for $70 instead of the $85 I had been paying as an "Individual" here in New York. Same benefits. (I'd had an "Artist" membership for years, but when I got a raise at a good job I had at one point, I decided to be bit more financially supportive and paid extra for the Individual.)
Somewhere along the line "International" got changed to "Global" and with it the ability to enter the museum early during members' hours was curtailed. When I went recently, I was asked to wait until regular museum hours to enter.
"Can artist members get in early?" I asked.
"Yes," replied the woman at the desk.
"Great. I'm an artist."
"Well, can you prove that?" she asked.
"Sure. Here's my business card."
"No " she said, arching her back slightly. "We need proof from a gallery."
"I can do better than that," I said. "You can hear from the dealer herself."
I introduced Marcia Wood, owner of the gallery that bears her name in Atlanta. She had just arrived to meet me for early entry.
"I'm sorry, said the membership person, whose back by now was so arched she could see the wall behind her. "We'll need written proof on gallery letterhead."
At this point it was 10:30 and the general public was being let in, so it became a non issue.
But here's the thing: When I renew next month it will be with a $50 artist membership--I have proof--so generosity be damned, I'll actually pay less for a membership that gives me more.
Artists: You do know about the Artist Membership at MoMA, right? You have to ask for it. And you have to provide documentation, such as exhibition postcard or catalog. You can be an artist from anywhere. You just have to be "documented." Info here.