2019 has been a historic year for MOCA. The 40th anniversary marked new beginnings for the museum. One of which was the challenge to provide FREE general admission at the museum for everyone. Thanks to a transformative gift by MOCA Board of Trustees President Carolyn Clark Powers, this will begin on January 11th, 2020, and serve to advance the museum’s role as a vital cultural space and a civic-minded institution.
Carolyn and I sat down recently and discussed the motivation behind her gift, with the hope that you will be inspired to play a role in furthering MOCA’s values as well.
Carolyn, what is your first memory of MOCA?
Carolyn Clark Powers: I’ve been part of the MOCA community since the very beginning. When the museum was founded I was working with the Lannan Foundation and they were early supporters of MOCA both financially and through gifts of art—including Vija Celmins, Kiki Smith, Jim Shaw, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Robert Irwin, among many many others. This long history with MOCA makes my gift all the more meaningful to me.
How did the idea of underwriting free general admission occur to you? What is your hope with it?
CCP: For the last decade I have been a MOCA Trustee and have gotten to know the organization and the museum field, more broadly, in a much deeper way. It became very clear to me that museums should be open, like a library, where ideas and experiences are free for everyone and anyone. This is about equity, accessibility, and responsibility. The more I thought about it, the more I was inspired by the number of people that this will impact. My hope is that it expands and broadens the museum’s audience and that the museum will become more porous to our city.
It really is transformational for the museum, isn’t it?
CCP: Yes, it repositions MOCA for the 21st century and the future. It is a way for MOCA to generously open up, literally and metaphorically, to Los Angeles and the world beyond. I also hope to inspire others to embrace their own sense of generosity and support the museum. My gift only accounts for the loss of revenue from the box office with going free. 85% of the museum’s budget has always come from donations. We still need to raise that money and this is a great time to celebrate MOCA and to give!
Carolyn, do you have a favorite artwork at MOCA?
CCP: Oh, there’s so many!! I’m thrilled to see the iconic Larry Bell on the Sculpture Plaza at MOCA Grand Avenue. To me, it demonstrates how the museum can continue to evolve, be contemporary, and pay homage to Los Angeles artists.
Thank you, Carolyn!
I hope you enjoyed reading excerpts from our conversation and hope you will help us build on this momentum by making a 100% tax-deductible donation before December 31st. Support from the annual fund helps advance the museums’ core mission. Thank you for your continued generosity and partnership with the museum.
Sincerely, Asa Hursh
Membership & Annual Fund Manager