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Fulfill Your Role In The Arts: Become A Member

By Jamie Larson

Now, as you’re receiving seasonal brochures to the region’s arts organizations, is perhaps the best time of year to consider becoming more than just a visitor to these institutions. Consider membership. Your support is vital to the enduring legacy of the museums, theaters and sites that comprise regional culture, so they’ve designed membership benefits that offer more than just a tote bag. Most organizations have curated benefits packages that foster a community around the institution, turning audience members into contributors and, at some levels, even collaborators.

We’ve done the homework for you on some of benefits available to members at the Berkshire’s preeminent arts venues, and we encourage you to pick one (or more) to champion.

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is the premiere performance space of our region. As such, the membership levels are significant, starting at Friend ($100), which includes the opportunity to order tickets early, a 10-percent discount at the Glass Houses and Symphony Shop, Talks & Walks advance registration, and discount admission for most Tanglewood Music Center Fellows’ recitals, chamber music performances, Festival of Contemporary Music performances and more.

In between Friend and the Koussevitzky Society Virtuoso membership level ($5,000) which includes all benefits plus an individually specific all-access experience, is a long list of benefits worth exploring. At the Advanced Ticket level ($500) you receive free admission for two to both Friends-only symphony working rehearsals. Join the Tent Club ($750) and receive dining privileges at the Tent and a season parking pass. Highwood Club members ($1,500) get additional donor-exclusive experiences and dining club privileges at Seranak (the former home of conductor Serge Koussevitsky) as well as a closer parking space. From there, higher levels of donation allow members to interact directly with musicians and even the opportunity to name a BSO Prelude concert performed during one BSO Shed performance.

MASS MoCA provides its individual members ($65) unlimited admission to the gallery as well as exhibition opening events, plus purchasing discounts at the museum shop, café and nearby Porches Inn. The dual/family memberships (starting at $95) cover admission for two and children under 18. The Contributor level ($200) grants all the same plus free admission to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The Director’s Forum level ($1,000) has a lot of value: you can bring four guests free to the museum and openings. Higher donation levels allow members to include even more friends and family in these and more museum activities for free, which seems an excellent way to not only support but expand the community around the unique museum. 

At The Clark Art Institute, an individual membership of just $65 gets you unlimited year-round admission, access to members-only exhibition previews and events, discounted tickets to concerts, films, public talks and other special events, as well as discounts at the museum store and café.

Higher levels of donation get members complimentary admission for increasing numbers of guests as well as invitations to events like the Clark Society dinner, events around and about exhibitions and the museum’s programming, and participation in the North American Reciprocal Museum program and the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums.

For dance lovers, Jacob’s Pillow is as good as it gets. Memberships start at just $50 and already includes invitations to free members-only events. The acclaimed venue has many benefits that focus on providing personal connection to performances and performers. At the $250 level you get your first invitation to a Saturday evening cast party and higher levels mean more exclusive invites to to intimate Creative Residency showings ($500), all Saturday parties and personal guided tours ($1,000).

Members of the Ted Shawn Circle ($2,000 to $10,000) are invited to all Ted Shawn events, the annual Visionary Leaders event, a morning talk series with the director of preservation, and observation of select rehearsals. Those fortunate enough to be able to donate beyond $25,000 get to sponsor parties and an opening night performance as well as a number of select VIP perks. 

The Norman Rockwell Museum is a celebration of an icon who captured life in the present while looking forward to a better America. Membership to the museum begins at $50 and a family membership for two adults and four children is only $75. At the $150 level members get admission privileges to more than 800 North American Reciprocal Museums (NARM). Benefits at increasingly higher levels include two unlimited guest passes, special invitations to exclusive parties and learning opportunities, private collection tours and a lunch with the director or curator of the museum.

Berkshire Theatre Group members at the introductory level ($50) receive first option ticket purchase privileges with season announcements and a 20-percent discount on BTG gift items. Subsequent levels add complimentary tickets and theater tours. At the $1,000 membership level you’re invited to the President’s Circle Supper and receive a VIP parking pass for summer performances. The highest level ($10,000+) entitles you to dinner with the BTG board president, complimentary meals at Jane’s Café and other personalized benefits.

The Williamstown Theater Festival gives all members (starting at $50) priority ticket handling. Higher level “WTF Friends” memberships ($300) provide advanced access to tickets for Fellowship Projects. These are new works created by up-and-coming playwrights, directors and members of the WTF Non-Equity Company.

“WTF Friends with Benefits” ($600) receive access to a donors-only lounge where they can mingle with Festival artists before all Main and Nikos Stage productions. Invitations to other events come with higher levels as well. “WTF Lovers” ($2,500) receive “guaranteed access to a pair of the best seats in the house for all Main and Nikos Stage productions,” ticket concierge service through the development office, an invitation for two to an exclusive WTF Lovers cocktail reception and other special events with Festival leadership and artists throughout the season. WTF also adds two free drinks per production. Donations surpassing $10,000 afford members personalized access to the Festival house seats and more.

Barrington Stage Company has an enthusiastic member base; their fun events bring folks together from all over. All members ($50+) are acknowledged in the season playbill and “Angel” members ($250) get 20-percent off in the lobby shop.

Starting at the Benefactor Level ($500+), members get complimentary passes to new play readings. At the Founders Society level ($1,995+), members receive season access to the Patron Lounge, personalized concierge assistance for priority seating, invitation to all summer Boyd-Quinson Mainstage opening night parties and complimentary scripts to all Mainstage shows. As donation levels increase, the benefits get even better and include guided backstage tours, meetings with the casts, complimentary combo passes, opportunities to attend rehearsals and much more.

The Berkshire Museum is as busy as any community center, and that’s really what it is. Basic membership, just $50 for an individual or $75 for dual/family, offers a general admission pass for a guest and free admission to science and technology centers worldwide. Supporters ($250) get additional guest passes plus invitations to exclusive events and travel opportunities. For $1,000, you join the Crane Society, which gets you behind-the-scenes access to the museum’s collections, unlimited free admission, season passes to the Little Cinema, a place at the annual Crane Society gathering with the executive director and other social events.

The Berkshire Botanical Garden offers unlimited access memberships that start at $50 for individuals, $30 for students and $100 for a family. Members also enjoy advance notice and member prices on classes, lectures, workshops and more. A $150 membership also comes with two guest passes. A $500 “Patron” gets an added escorted tour of the garden for up to 10 people and invitations to special receptions. Members who donate $1,000 or more join the Fence Club and receive all benefits and invitations to garden exhibition previews and special privileges at year-round Fence Club events. Additionally, that package promises a one-hour, on-site consultation with a member of the Garden’s horticultural staff.

Other Berkshires Cultural Organizations To Consider:
The Mount
Hancock Shaker Village
Shakespeare & Company
Chesterwood

Next week: Cultural organizations in the rest of the Rural Intelligence region.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 03/06/17 at 10:04 AM • Permalink