Help the Mich Get Lit!

The James A. Michener Art Museum first opened its doors in 1988. Since that time, the galleries have gone through three major expansions—the last of which took place in 2009. Now, from the cusp of our thirtieth year, we look upon these beautiful gallery spaces—full of remarkable artwork—and see this amazing legacy as a strong foundation on which to build the next 30 years.

Well…hopefully. Hopefully, you can continue to see in the galleries. As the galleries expanded, the Museum purchased additional light fixtures for the larger space based off of the original specs from 1988, so that everything would be interchangeable, and give us maximum flexibility. It made sense fiscally, and besides…light bulb technology had remained pretty constant for over a century.

But, in the last decade, the market has drastically shifted towards more energy efficient bulbs. This shift has been so definitive that the bulbs which we need to light our galleries are no longer made, and the fixtures which we currently use are not compatible with the new types of bulbs on the market. Currently, our curatorial staff has sourced a supply in Texas of these dated replacement bulbs, but this is not a sustainable solution. We need new lights!

Replacing all of the light fixtures in the Museum is a daunting prospect. To complete the project we will need to procure not only bulbs, but new light fixtures as well: 250 standard fixtures, and an additional 25 spotlights. At an average cost of $290 per piece, it is a high hurdle to clear. But—in the long-term—the savings will be substantial. Over the next ten years, switching to LED bulbs may save the Museum as much as $100,000 in energy costs. This is good for our bottom line AND good for the environment! Savings in terms of staff time and effort would be an additional bonus: currently, we are so short on lighting fixtures that our preparators are forced to quite literally rob Peter to pay Paul, pulling light fixtures off of one artwork to better illuminate another in a different space.

Above all else, updating the lighting in our gallery spaces will have an enormous impact on our ability to show the artwork on display to its very best advantage. Light has a remarkable ability to shape the way in which we experience the world around us…impacting how we perceive space, color, perspective, distance. One only has to take a brief stroll through George Sotter: Light and Shadow to appreciate how the masterful use of light can change the very essence of a scene.

Please, help us keep our lights shining for generations to come. The Michener needs your help to update our gallery lighting system. Please, tonight, join us in raising your paddle to contribute during the live auction.

Thank you for your enduring support and participation!
Item #: 1
Please note that the bid amounts during the live auction will start at $10,000 and will close at the $365 level in the interest of time. Please feel welcome to give at any level you feel most comfortable via our website 501auction.com/MichenerAoW.

This special appeal will support the purchase of new light fixtures, bulbs, and the necessary accessories to make certain the fixtures fulfill our needs. The amount of gallery space impacted will be contingent upon the funds raised tonight; if necessary, the work will be done in stages.