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Yellowstone Art Museum: Free Entry for Three Years Due to National “Access for All” Initiative Funding



Billings, Montana – Starting on Friday, October 13, 2023, admission to the Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM) will be free for all visitors.

Through the Art Bridges Foundation’s “Access for All Initiative,” YAM was awarded a $240,000 grant, which it is utilizing to remove museum admission fees.

The funding period for the Art Bridges Foundation is 2024–2026. The YAM’s funding will cover the income from entrance fees that was previously received, as well as a portion of the salary of a new Membership Coordinator and the cost of marketing materials to draw in new visitors to the museum.

The goal of this grant is to expand museum attendance and contribute to the creation of more accessible environments. The YAM received 12,000 visits a year on average before this effort.

With the kind sponsorship of Jon Lodge and Jane Deschner, free entry to the YAM will start right away, even if the grant funds won’t start until January 1, 2024.

In support of the Access for All mission, Lodge and Deschner are kindly extending the deadline for free access.

The YAM will keep providing a selection of yearly museum memberships.

Discounts in the YAM store and café, savings on tickets to special events like SummerFair and Masquerade, and registration savings for the YAM’s Summer Art Academy and YAM Camp are just a few advantages of membership.

Extra perks of higher-level memberships include access to behind-the-scenes activities, artist talks, and special events for members only.

The philanthropist Alice Walton launched the national nonprofit Art Bridges Foundation, which today announced the launch of “Access for All,” a $40 million fundraising initiative that will support 64 museums around the country.

The initiative’s goals are to boost access to museums nationwide and promote community engagement through funding free admission days and extended hours, as well as through outreach, programming, and community collaborations that will remove the typical obstacles to entry.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, deserves access to art. That’s why we started Art Bridges: to support museums in deepening their connections with local communities, and to pave the way for new audiences to experience the creativity and joy that comes with seeing art,” said Alice Walton, founder and board chair of Art Bridges.

“Access for All is our biggest and most ambitious effort to date, dedicating $40 million toward bridging gaps between museums of all sizes and their communities in order to foster meaningful connections and expand arts access in every region, from Peoria to Puerto Rico.”

A broad initiative called Access for All aims to revive museums following COVID-19-related drops in income, staffing, and attendance. The new project will work to bring museum attendance back to pre-pandemic levels, as many of them are only seeing 71 percent of what it was before the epidemic. By lowering barriers to entry and fostering stronger community ties, it will also provide an opportunity for everyone to experience American art.

“We are thrilled to launch Access for All, a historic partnership with cultural institutions across the country to make it easier for people in every U.S. region to see and experience art. At Art Bridges, we can’t wait to see our trusted partners get creative and deliver impact to their communities,” Alice Walton said. “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident Access for All will not only help to rebuild museum attendance but also bring more people than ever into museum galleries and reshape the art world as one that is open to all.”

Eighty percent of the 64 participating museums—all current Art Bridges partners—have yearly operating costs under $10 million. Most of them have entry prices, but with Access for All, they will be able to offer additional chances for free admission. The Access for All money will be utilized by others to maintain or expand the current free admissions initiatives.



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