16 reasons why free artwork should be given with every art museum ticket

Erik Maldre Ginny Gaura Carissa Rose Kristina Gosh Kynda A. Betz

(artwork by Chicago artists: Erik Maldre, Ginny Gaura, Carissa Rose, Kristina Gosh, Lynda A. Betz)

With admission prices rising at the Art Institute, this would be a great time for them to employ an extra incentive for people to come to the museum. A special bonus could be given with every ticket bought. Each person going into the Art Institute would receive a piece of art that is on a 2.5-inch by 3.5-inch piece of board.

Reasons why the Art Institute should give away a free Artist Trading Card with every admission:

  1. People would love it. You are getting free art.
  2. Artist Trading Cards (ATC, also known as ACEO: Art Cards, Editions and Originals) are already a thriving format with over 22,322 ACEOs and 21,496 sketch cards available right now on eBay.
  3. Artwork of local chicago artists could be featured.
  4. By featuring local artists, it reinforces that the Art Institute cares about Chicago.
  5. The natural instinct is for people to collect these.
  6. The Artist Trading Card program at the Art Institute would encourage people to come back more and more.
  7. These items would start to become collectibles.
  8. Since the Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned museum, these handouts have a legitimacy.
  9. With the legitimacy, attractiveness, collectibility; these items would start to increase in value.
  10. The cards would start to develop a market where some artist’s cards are worth more than others. Over 40 sketch cards have sold over $500 in the past two months on eBay.
  11. The Art Institute could employ random "hit" cards by famous artists. Imagine going to the Art Institute and having the possibility of getting a Damien Hirst card or a Jeff Koons card! As the program gets bigger and more popular, more famous artists will want to participate. How can an artist not want to participate? You get your art in a big museum. AND you are helping to get more people to attend art museums.
  12. All the cards given away could be accessed in a website. That way, people can see the range of art being given away. The website will serve both as a promo to get people excited to go to the museum to get free art, but it will also serve as the central catalog of all the cards.
  13. Every card can have a QR code that brings you to the webpage of that particular card. Information about the artist can be given on the webpage.
  14. People can sign into the website, and add the cards they own. Each peron’s page will proudly display all the cards they got.
  15. A ranking system could be employed to feature top collectors of the Art Institute Artist Trading Cards.
  16. As art is given away, people start to realize the fun of collecting art. Some Artist Trading Card collectors will also start to collect the larger pieces of artwork by their favorite artists.

With this program everyone wins. Visitors win. The art museum wins. The artists win. The galleries win. More value is created. The Art Institute of Chicago should start this program.

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