3 Lessons Learned From Museums


To fund these education programs, the museum has done some creative fundraising of its own. This May, the museum will hold its inaugural live art auction, which will feature 25 original works of art from artists who have been featured in recent exhibitions. The artwork will form part of a special exhibition prior to the auction. With auction tickets starting at $100 and many of the pieces of art expected to go for thousands, this unique fundraiser brings together artists and patrons in support of MOLAA. All proceeds will benefit the museum’s 2012 exhibition program. The museum will also be holding it an annual gala in conjunction with the art auction; gala sponsorships range from $2,500 to $25,000.

Please italicize: Lesson learned: Sell your strengths.

MOLAA’s fundraising strategy is a classic example of monetizing a business’s greatest strength. In this case, MOLAA is directly connecting contemporary Hispanic artists with the greater Los Angeles art community. These artists all were featured in popular museum exhibits. Now, big donors have an opportunity to purchase a personal piece of artwork. By playing the role of gallery after already exhibiting the artists’ work for free, MOLAA guarantees that it will receive top-dollar for these pieces. MOLAA has also generated substantial buzz for its auction (called “The Wave”) with a marketing campaign aimed at “art enthusiast in the know”.





Lessons for Businesses


With El Museo del Barrio, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and MOLAA are not for-profit businesses, the success of these institutions hinges on their ability to adapt sound business principle for a changing non-profit world. By thinking creatively about funding and marketing, the museums are staying true to their broader cultural mission–despite a challenging economy. These three museums offer important lessons for today’s Hispanic market.




About the author