There’s a case to be made that cultural institutions are relevant now more than ever, in light of post-severe lockdown. Museums, libraries, archives and other institutions have the power to not only tell the tales of history, but also reflect and shape our society, and there’s so much you can do to help these institutions out and be inspired in the process.
Firstly, why, in a time when all organisations and people have been impacted by the devastating effects of COVID-19, should one support cultural institutions, the non-art passionate might ask?
- Access to cultural information
The arts are such a unique education, which most people in our country don’t always have access to. Places such as Zeitz MOCAA and the Two Oceans Aquarium, provide free entry days to citizens, as well as free entry to under-18s. This allows more people to enjoy and learn about history, culture, the environment and art.
- Unique experiences
Exploring the tunnels that were once used to transport grain at Zeitz MOCAA or discovering the stars at the Iziko Planetarium all make for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Additionally, many South African museums feature travelling exhibitions from other countries, which allows students and others to see great works from the UK, Rome and beyond!
- History and inspiration
When Zeitz MOCAA first opened in 2017, journalists and visitors from across the world visited the city to view the historical building and the inspirational artworks housed inside. Local institutions not only provide a look back at our past, but they also inspire future artists to get in touch with their creativity.
How to Support the Arts
- Buy a membership
Purchasing a membership, even at the entry level, provides you with unlimited access for a full year. Not only will you be able to visit at any time and enjoy all the new exhibitions, but you will also score discounts for the institution’s on-site shop and restaurant. An annual membership at
- Purchase from the on-site store or restaurant
Cultural institutions are more than just exhibitions. Many also have amazing on-site restaurants serving up delectable dishes and stores where you can take home a piece of your experience.
If you are not someone who regularly visits, you can also make a one-off donation for any amount you’re able to afford. Generally, the admission and membership fees of these institutions cover operational costs, such as staff salaries and administration, so really any small donation goes a long way.
- Attend exhibitions and programming
Most institutions have new exhibition openings and events each month. By purchasing an entry ticket or membership, you’ll be supporting the institute and will get the opportunity to meet like-minded people who enjoy arts and culture, too. Additionally, many institutions also offer free entry to programming with the purchase of a membership or ticket. You can make the most of this opportunity, where you’ll get to enjoy in-depth discussions and even workshops.
- Attend fundraising events
Event-based fundraising, such as galas, are a large part of museums’ business models. If you can afford to purchase a ticket, it’s a terrific opportunity to meet new people in a wonderful setting.
Sometimes there are roles for volunteers on specific projects like event planning, membership development and fundraising. If money is tight but you still want to help, you can enquire at the institution you’re interested in and help out in a different way.
Based on an article by an arts sector passionate: Zainab Slemang van Rijmenant
Picture: Instagram @alaninel_artdesign