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November 29, 2012

L.A. Museum Backers Decry Threefold Increase in Patron Fees

Leaders of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "art councils," which raise money independently for favored departments, said the groups' future is in doubt following the museum's decision to effectively triple council membership dues, the Los Angeles Times writes. The museum this week announced that the annual fee will rise from $400 to $1,000, and that council members must separately purchase a $250 museum membership.

Council membership offers perks such as access to private events with artists, curators, and collectors. Hollywood screenwriter Gloria Katz Huyck, who chairs the photography council, said the increase is "extremely short-sighted" and sends a message that "there will be no place for the small donor to participate any more."

Museum Director Michael Govan said the hike brings the institution in line with peer museums in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston and is part of efforts to simplify and professionalize fundraising. It is not "best practices for a large museum these days" to allow groups outside the museum's formal reporting structure to raise and allocate money, he said.