Art museum to charge for parking

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The Indianapolis Museum of Art will charge $5 for parking starting Sept. 1.

The new fee comes a year after the museum opened an outdoor sculpture park that drove up attendance. General admission to the museum and the new park, 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, is free.

The parking fee will cover all but 170 spaces in peripheral lots on the main campus and at 100 Acres.

IMA plans to put the revenue in a "green" fund to pay for any expense related to environmental sustainability, whether that be soy-based printer ink or the use of geothermal energy at 100 Acres, for example.

Members of the museum will get free parking, as will anyone who buys $50 worth of merchandise at the IMA store or Madeline F. Elder greenhouse.

Other midwestern museums that charge a fee for parking earn $500,000 to $1 million a year, but IMA does not expect its first-year revenue to be that high,  spokeswoman Katie Zarich said. The IMA's fee is expected to generate at least $100,000 in the first year.

Zarich said museum officials don't expect the fee to affect attendance, but they do expect to sell more memberships. The IMA now has 8,100 member households.

The price of an individual membership, which costs $50, will rise to $55 on Sept. 1. Family memberships will remain at $75.

Chief Operating Officer Nick Cameron said in a prepared statement he hopes the fee will encourage visitors to use carpools and alternative transportation, which would delay the need for additional parking. He also thinks paid parking will enhance security, which was a concern after a string of car break-ins last summer.

“We’d like our visitors to join us in our efforts to be better stewards of the environment through their transportation choices," Cameron said in the statement.

Zarich said attendance last summer jumped 67 percent, largely because of the opening of 100 Acres. The museum counted 170,706 visitors from June 20 to Sept. 30, 2010, a 50-percent jump over the same period in 2009.



  • Reply
    I think the parking cost is justified more for the security needed, rightfully so, to watch your car while your are in the museum.
  • Reply
    I would rather people pay general admission even if voluntary than have the parking be charged for. People love the grounds. Parking essentially makes it difficult to use them. And it will cause unintended results.
  • what took so long?
    We (residents of Indy) feel entitled to have free parking. It's not free. My only complaint is, what took you so long?

    Also, I would suggest to everyone (especially residents of Broad Ripple or Meridian-Kessler) to ride a bike from BR to IMA via Central Canal trail. Then take a break at 100 acres. One of the best things this city has to offer.
  • Gone
    I really have to believe that this new will essentially wipe out business for the cafe and for the extended hours on Thursday and Friday evenings. It can't help but hurt attendance on most everything that IMA does.

    As a member this means that the museum and its grounds will be much less crowded which is good for me, I guess, but I've always felt that IMA is an oasis within this troubled world that can refuel an individual's, student's or family's spirit. Now, that dimension of IMA will be limited and therefore will have less of a positive impact on the community. This news is really too bad. I would much rather have seen a small admission charge.

    We've always supported IMA with our membership because it is free for the community. We couldn't think of a better investment.
    • seraiously RIck?
      Rick - why do you keep stating that you're a police officer? who cares? Are you trying to impress us? there are many great police officers that dont' have to state it every time they comment on something.....
    • Go for the green
      I don't care one way or another whether the museum charges for parking but the "green" spin is laughable. In same spirit, I'd like to offer some suggestions for what to do with the revenue.
      1) reduce the negative environmental and social impact of security operations by providing non-motorized transportation for the cops. Remove the squad cars and build a paddock at the museum's entrance.
      2) Reduce waste and improve efficiency by repurposing staff ids as handcuffs.
      3) Reduce the museum's carbon footprint by providing one-way tickets for all official travel by IMA management.
      4)Divert waste from landfill by composting the museum's strategic plan.
    • Rick, Get Over It!
      Rick, if you are a police officer (and most officers I know wouldn't have your lame attitude), then you should know that your position does not entitle you to break the law. The Museum buildings and grounds are private property. As a private property owner, the Museum can certainly restrict use of its parking lot to only its patrons. As for the Canal Path, there are other places to park if you wish to use it, and no, the Canal Path is not part of the Museum and your use of it does not make you a Museum patron.

      Furthermore, your position does not make you immune from criticism. Josh told you where he thinks you should not park, so just get over it. If you want to disagree, fine, but don't try to pull out some trump card with your "law enforcement official" status (if it is even true), as it just makes you seem insecure and pathetic.

    • Why Would The Police Put You Off?
      Josh/Goethe, I am a bit perplexed why police would scare you?? Most people feel safer when they see the police. Also, it is a museum with very expensive art work in it, and like most museums it has heavy security to prevent thefts.

      I am not trying to be argumentative, but your comments seem to me to make about as much sense as saying, "I was shocked there was an armed guard at the bank!" Well, yes, museums, banks, and other institutions with valuable things to guard have high security.

      In any event, the issue is parking. I see no problem with charging for most spaces. Cheap people can always park a little further away in the remaining 170 free spaces (that is plenty of free spaces). This is a non-issue, except for people who love to complain for the sake of complaining.

    • Wayne, Get Over It.
      Wayne, the IMA is consistently recognized as one of the best general art museums in the country. It is not, nor has it ever been in the premium tier of museums such as the Metropolitan or the Chicago Art Institute, but it is very well-respected nationally, and it even has good international recognition.

      The only thing "third-tier" is your attitude. Providing parking costs money, and furthermore, the parking is supposed to be only for patrons of the museum, not a general lot for just anyone to use. Paid parking will reduce the number of non-museum goers who use the lot, and it will help defray the costs of providing parking. There will still be 170 free spaces, which is plenty. If you want to park in the garage, then you can pay for it, like one does at most museums (including most art museums in the Midwest)and other institutions.

      • Josh/Jay
        Yeah, when "people like me" park there we keep "people like you" from parking there! I believe the museum pushes the fact that the Canal Path is by the museum, at least it did when I was there, so parking there to ride it is being a "patron" of the museum. Wayne has it correct, the IMA is not a "world class" museum, and the security has changed. It was "in house" back in the early 90's. I preferred the layout before it changed too. And Josh, PLEASE do not tell me where to park, leave that to law enforcement officials such as myself.
        • Totally agree...
          on the heavy police officer presence. Not a very welcoming feeling when you walk in. What's worse is the empty cop cars parked near the entry EVERY time I go. Makes me feel like I'm about to see someone getting arrested as soon as I walk in.
          • Yikes
            As a regular visitor I'm more put off by the heavily armed police presence and the obstacle course the gallery spaces have become than the prospect of a parking fee.....just sayin :)
            • How did I know...
              that the moment I read the article heading it would begin another round of IMA bashing from folks who have an axe to grind with IMA management.

              If you take up space in the museum's parking lot for non museum activities and don't like paying for parking then that's your problem. Find another place to park and free up space for those of us that are actually going to museum events. I've been there when 3 or 4 events are going on at the same time and its impossible sometimes to find a parking spot (probably in part because people like Rick have taken up a spot to ride the canal path. Rick, just park in one of the outer lots or down in 100 acres...that's still going to be free according to the article).

              Honestly, I'm surprised parking was ever free to begin with. How many museums offer that? Everytime I visit a museum outside of Indy (and even some here in indy) parking is usually not free, nor is admission.

              • wow....
                Rick - sorry you are so angry about something. I agree that "you should only park there if you want to walk around the grounds or if you actually go inside to look at the artwork, etc." -- parking is provided for patrons of the museum.
              • Museum of Greed
                First, fire staff and get low payed interns. Next, charge for parking. Watch attendance drop dramatically. Those of us who supported the museum in the past are running away in droves. We wanted a first class first rate museum in the city. What is happening is a money grubbing third tier museum which will never amount to anything. Sad, the city deserves better. Hmmm, more attendance alone is not raising revenue in the shops, or garnering more patrons? That should say something right there. Bad management and the public isn't buying it.
                • Seriously?
                  Rick - If you're just parking there to ride the canal path, we're all happy you won't be parking there anymore! What made you think you should park there in the first place?
                  • Not going to IMA again
                    I visit there quite often, park there sometimes to ride the canal path, but I won't again. I'll drive up to Broad Ripple and park there for free. The IMA does not need to make any more money, they are not in debt, nor will they ever be. Paying for parking there is the worst idea ever. Maybe they will chage for entering each gallery too!

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