We connect visitors of all ages and backgrounds to their creative lives through imaginative art education experiences, including free school tours for more than 6,000 children every year, hosting informative gallery talks and lectures, staging innovative public programs and hosting meaningful, inspiring exhibitions featuring the work of significant regional, national and international artists.
Name: Bette Leff
What made you decide to become a Member of the Akron Art Museum?
When I married and moved back to Akron, I wanted not only to experience art, but also to meet people with like interests. I wanted to be more than just a member; I wanted to get involved.
How frequently do you visit the Akron Art Museum?
I try to view most of the exhibitions and have attended many of the Downtown@Dusk evenings.
What benefit of Membership do you appreciate the most and why?
The most important benefit of membership is supporting the museum. It’s a wonderful place to go with friends and family to see art and experience it live! The reciprocal arrangement with other museums is a bonus. As I can attest, being a member gives you the opportunity to meet new people who may share your interests in the world of art.
How has the Akron Art Museum impacted you?
Early on, my mother enrolled me in a Saturday program for children at the Akron Art Institute, and eventually I attended an art school in the East. As an adult member of the museum, I served as a volunteer and became involved in many fundraising projects. Those experiences led me to chairing and creating new events. And those led me to chair the Development Council, a devoted group of women who shared and developed ideas for events that not only raised funds but also drew the public in for exhibition openings, children’s programs, and a Holiday Boutique that showcased local artists. We widened the museum’s reach so that many people outside its membership could experience not only our own wonderful collection, but the many exhibitions that travel here from around the country. Broadening our membership base and providing many free programs for the city to enjoy were impactful experiences.
Are there particular works of art in the collection or current/past exhibitions that are special to you? Which ones and why?
Each exhibition stands on its own, and I have enjoyed so many. I admire the many outstanding talents that the museum has showcased over the years—from assemblage artists to painters.
Why do you feel art is important – for individuals, families, communities?
At every stage of our lives, art is with us. As 19th-century British politician and philanthropist John Lubbock once observed, “Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
Art and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities, serving as powerful tools for engaging them in various levels of change. That’s why Akron is such a great place to live in and raise a family. Many cities the size of ours are not so fortunate to have so much culture at their fingertips, or the dedicated people to work for it. The arts also are a means to share public dialogue, to contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning.
Akron encourages its schools to teach students about art at our museum so that they can return with their families to show them what they have learned. Our centrally located museum is easy for families to get to. Art is also important to people who choose to view it alone, perhaps seeking a spiritual experience, a provocative experience, or simply a different perspective.
Do you have a story or memory that you would like to share about the Akron Art Museum?
For many years the museum held its biggest fundraiser in the fall. Due to the museum’s space limitations, these events were held at different venues around Akron; formal attire was the norm. In 1993 I chaired the Beaux Arts Ball, determined to create a very different vibe. Above and beyond our regular volunteers, I enlisted local artists to create an evening reminiscent of the famous balls held at the École des Beaux-Arts. It all came together in the former Goodrich factory on South Main Street, covering three floors that re-created Paris in the 1900s. For the first time the ball included not only our black-tie crowd, but also our casual crowd and our artist community. The fun for me was working for months with so many talented people who came together to help, especially the artists who donated their time and talents simply for the love of art.
Membership at the Dual/Family level confers membership privileges at over 100 museums across North America, including ROAM, ModCo, and the list of Ohio art museums below
- Modern and Contemporary Reciprocal Membership (ModCo)
- Ohio Art
|Akron Art Museum|
|Allen Memorial Art Museum|
|Canton Museum of Art|
|Cincinnati Art Museum|
|Columbus Museum of Art|
|Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati|
|Springfield Museum of Art|
|The Butler Institute of American Art|
|The Cleveland Museum of Art|
|The Dayton Art Institute|
|Toledo Museum of Art|
|Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus|
|Zanesville Museum of Art|