Lilly gives $1 million for art museum initiative

The Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to help fund a five-year program focused on bringing more visitors and improving their experience.

IMA Director and CEO Charles L. Venable announced the grant at the museum's annual meeting on May 14. The program, named "The Visitor Centered Approach: Reimagining the IMA," is designed to “increase and strengthen local and regional participation in museum programming,” according to the museum.

What does that mean, practically?

“Greater emphasis on understanding our visitors,” said Preston Bautista, the IMA’s deputy director for public programs. “And more participatory experiences.”

Included in the first year of the grant will be enhancements to the “Matisse, Life in Color” exhibition scheduled for October through January, including iPad-based technology, in-gallery musical performances, and teacher packets.

With help from the grant, efforts will be made to broaden the exhibition’s reach through partnerships with other community groups.

“We’re really trying to strengthen our relationships from K-12 and with higher education schools,” Bautista said. “Building direct relationships with teachers has been and will be a primary goal.”

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