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Art Partnerships

Library community partnerships are important in many ways. One way that a library can establish a partnership with its community is through art. Art is essential to a community. Art enhances people’s lives and the library can be a source to do so. There are many ways that a library can bring art or awareness of art to the patrons, whether through craft workshops or having artwork to view. This special partnership can stimulate conversation about art. This post will investigate different cases locally and across the country. It will also examine how these types of partnerships benefit the community and patrons.

Art is an essential element to any society. The library is one venue that can expose its patrons to art. One great aspect to some of the art programs is that admission to museums and art institutions is provided free or at a discounted price. Through this, patrons of all economic backgrounds can visit various organizations. With library partnerships such as with the arts, libraries are able to provide even more information to patrons. It is one thing to see art or learn history in a book, but the library’s partnership can bring the art and history to life. The library is helping society become better educated by partnering with museums and art institutions where they immersed in culture.

In Minnesota the Hennepin County Library implemented many art programs geared towards all age groups. Christina Endres describes the program’s success by stating, “It’s clear that the Library’s arts programming is a major draw, both for area organizations and patrons.” The achievement of the program can be summed up by the following, “a program, called ArtsySmartsy, there was attendance of 163 patrons for 12 workshops” (Endres). Also interesting to include is that, “99% of patrons created art, 97% learned something new about art, 62% planned to check out related library materials, and 100% rated the quality of the program as good or better” (Endres). Some of the other programs that were offered in 2012 included the following:

  • Art Out of the Box: This program is for kids in grades K-6 in which they learn about a piece of art from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Afterwards the kids create their own piece as a response.
  • Crafty Minnesota-: A textile workshop for adults.
  • Make This: For teens where they explore topics such as anime, manga, comics, fashions, and bookmaking in a hands- on workshop.

Another program to examine is one in Chicago, the Kids Museums Passports. Fifteen cultural institutions are participating, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, DuSable Museum of African American History, and Museum of Contemporary Art, just to name a few. Patrons can also go to gardens, zoos, and aquariums. The way Kids Museums Passports works is this: patrons use their library cards to check out a Museum Passport and the passport is loaned out for one week. Only one passport may be checked out at a time. Only two adults are allowed per pass and the group must include at least one child under the age of 18. Under these passes a family of four is allowed admission into the museums. There are fees associated with the pass if they are overdue. Overdue fines for late passes cost $2/day, with a $20 maximum fine. If the pass is lost it costs $60 plus any overdue fines. When finished with the passes they must be returned to the library where they were checked out.

Another program to look at is the Michigan Activity Pass, which rolled out May 24, 2013. This program looks similar to Museum Activity Pass (MAP) and could have possibly replaced it. The Library Network, along with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library of Michigan Foundation, and CultureSource, are responsible for designing the program. Activity passes can be printed from the patron’s home or local library. The passes are either free or offered at a discounted price. Patrons can also receive discounts at participating gift shops at the various places. The passes expire within one week. Five passes will be available at Michigan libraries. A sample of the participating organizations include: PuppetART, Detroit Institute of Arts, Arts & Scraps, Scarab Club, and Cranbrook Art Museum. Organizations are located throughout the whole state, including the Upper Peninsula.

Lastly, local ties are important to examine with art and libraries. Such a partnership exists at the Novi and Warren Public Libraries. The Novi Public Library has some amazing art on display. There are actually 1,600 life tiles for viewing throughout the library. The tiles are made by local artist Connie Lunski and tell the story of the universe from its beginning to present day. Other pieces of art include hand-blown glass apples, a glass mosaic, a mural, and sculptures for the patrons to enjoy. The Warren Public Library had a partnership with the DIA. This year on August 19 the Miller Branch held a puppet show titled, Puppet Art with the DIA. A volunteer came to the library and gave some history on puppets and puppeteers.

All of these programs are vital to a community and its library. These art partnerships get patrons in their communities to engage discussions about art. Perhaps even these partnerships can bring art to patrons who might not otherwise seek it out.


Chicago Public Library. (n.d.). Kids Museums Passports. Retrieved from http://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/kids/grkids_museumpass.php

Endres, Christina. (2012, July 23). Arts programming and partnership at Hennepin County Library. Retrieved from http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/?p=5415

Loutit District Library. (2013, April 25). Michigan Activity Pass to debut May 24 to Loutit District Library’s valid card users. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/grand-haven/index.ssf/2013/04/michigan_activity_pass_to_debu.html

Novi Public Library. (n.d.). Art in the Library. Retrieved from http://www.novilibrary.org/AboutUs/ArtInTheLibrary.asp

Warren Public Library. (2013, August 1). Puppet Art with the DIA. Retrieved from  http://www.warrenlibrary.net/tag/detroit-institute-of-arts/


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