The Taubman Museum of Art says its financial future is now secure, and as of today, general admission is free every day.  WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

(Continue reading for the full Taubman Museum of Art News Release.)

 Here is the full Taubman Museum of Art news release:

Taubman Museum of Art secures its fiscal future
New board of directors makes personal commitments to keep museum open; contribution from Advance Auto Parts to provide free general admission to public

ROANOKE, Va. (October 8, 2012) – The Taubman Museum of Art will remain open with  free general admission under a plan announced today by a new board of directors led by Nicholas Taubman and Heywood Fralin.

The new board, representing some of the region’s leading business and community leaders, has personally committed to securing the museum’s fiscal future with significant financial contributions. In addition, a $150,000 contribution from Advance Auto Parts, founded by the Taubman family, will enable the museum to offer free general admission effective immediately.

“The Taubman Museum of Art is a vital part of the fabric of our community. Every day, it touches the lives of children, college students, art lovers, visitors, fellow cultural institutions and non-profit organizations throughout the Roanoke Valley and beyond,” said Taubman, the new board chairman.

“This museum has made great strides over the past few years, expanding its programming, welcoming new exhibitions, growing its membership, offering more classes, and reaching out to build partnerships and relationships. The plan we are announcing today ensures a viable financial future for this special place while continuing to enhance Roanoke’s vibrant cultural scene.”

As a result, effective immediately, the museum will offer free general admission to the public. Special exhibits and events and private functions will continue to have applicable fees.

“The new board is committed to guaranteeing that this museum will remain open with adequate annual operating funds,” Taubman said. “The current board has done an outstanding job reducing a deficit while operating on a bare-bones budget, but we recognize that a more solid financial platform is needed to ensure our long-term success.”

Many members of the existing board of trustees will continue to serve the museum in a new capacity as an advisory board, sharing their expertise to help raise funds, increase awareness and shape the museum’s future.

“Both the new board and existing members are united in their support of this plan,” said Fralin, the new board’s vice chairman. “They know that this change will have a profound effect on our community. The Taubman Museum experience will now be even more accessible to everyone.”

In addition to Taubman and Fralin, the new board of directors consists of: David Wine (treasurer), William J. Lemon (secretary), Bittle Porterfield, Garnett Smith, Kent Greenawalt, Leon Harris, Nancy Agee, Stan Lanford, Tammy Finley, Debbie Meade and Jenny Taubman.

David Mickenberg, the museum’s current president and CEO, is leaving the museum to pursue other opportunities.

“David has done everything the board has asked of him to implement our vision during a most difficult financial environment,” Taubman said. “We commend his tireless efforts and thank him for helping to make the Taubman Museum of Art a showcase that touches so many people’s lives.”

“These changes will alter the scope of the museum and its relationship with the Roanoke Valley and at the same time ensure that the Taubman remains a fixture in the Star City for generations to come,” Fralin said. “Today’s announcement helps to stabilize the museum financially, provides much-needed confidence to our loyal donors and supporters, and makes the museum more accessible to the entire community. The changes we are announcing today ensure the financial resources needed to sustain and grow the museum.”

Over the past few years, the museum doubled the number of exhibitions, created an adjunct curatorial program that other museums have begun to emulate, expanded the scope and origins of the art placed on view, and allowed the community a voice in what we presented and how it was presented. The museum also:

  • Expanded the experiences in the museum and increased the ability of all ages to explore their own creativity as well as that of others.
  • Created a museum school.
  • Rebuilt ArtVenture into one of the most successful spaces for the young to explore the museum and art.
  • Creatively explored ways for artists in the community to engage the museum, from atrium installations, to curated exhibitions, to designing and installing much of what occurs in the galleries.
  • Implemented new technologies to transmit information and engage audiences.
  • Attracted major traveling exhibitions from museums throughout the country.
  • Developed a series of site-specific installations in the museum’s atrium that highlighted international and regional artists.
  • Opened the museum free on Saturdays and reduced admissions and membership fees
  • Developed an educational partnership with public schools.
  • Hosted Town Hall meetings to share its financial information.

“Clearly, the Taubman Museum of Art has redefined the possibilities for a museum, and for the cultural community as a whole,” Taubman said. “We thank the many in our community who have supported the changes we have introduced to make art viable, exciting and relevant, and we look forward to working with all of our patrons, donors, sponsors and volunteers to build on our accomplishments and create a place like no other.”

The Taubman Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional hours include First Fridays for Art by Night from 5 to 8 p.m. and First Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. To learn about current and future exhibits, please visit, or call 540.342.5760.