City Museum Boosts Membership With Second Summer Bash

Taking advantage of the summer's shortage of fund-raising events, the Young Members Circle of the Museum of the City of New York hosted a second cocktail party for junior patrons and potential members.

By Anna Sekula August 11, 2009, 4:26 PM EDT

Some 260 guests attended the museum's Big Apple Bash, held on the outdoor terrace facing Fifth Avenue.

Photo: BizBash

Young Members Circle of the Museum of the City of New York's Big Apple Bash
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Events for younger museum patrons have typically taken place during the city's busy months in the fall, spring, and winter seasons. The Whitney Contemporaries host the Whitney Museum of American Art's Art Party every May, the Frick Collection has its Young Fellows Ball in late February/early March, and the Guggenheim previously held its annual Young Collectors Council gala in December. But the Museum of the City of New York's Young Members Circle chose to throw its gathering last Thursday, the second time the nonprofit organization has targeted a younger demographic with a mid-week summer reception.

In fact, the event—dubbed the Big Apple Bash—serves more than one purpose. In addition to taking advantage of the slow season when guests are less likely to have busy calendars, the party is also designed to boost membership among twentysomethings and provide an incentive to get more people in to see the institution's new spaces. Currently under renovation, the Museum of the City of New York remains open and last May completed its first phase, which includes the 4,700-square-foot terrace where the event was held.

Started by the Young Members Circle's Brooke Heidecorn and Liza Eaton (daughter of the museum's president, Susan Henshaw Jones), the Big Apple Bash has been a surprising success for the museum. Last year and this year, the event attracted approximately 260 guests and raised $11,000. Even more importantly, the membership drive has increased the number of young patrons to 150. The planning team attributes much of the event's success to the active participation and promotional efforts of the committee, who played a big role in securing sponsors and donations. Companies including the Sullivan Street Bakery, Teton Glacier Potato Vodka, and Whole Foods provided food and drink, keeping expenses to a minimum, while the rest of the event's production was handled in house.

Other components, such as reasonably priced tickets ($35 for members, $50 for nonmembers, or $125 for membership and a ticket) and an informal dress code (“festive attire") provided added appeal for the guests. Matching the tone, DJake, spun summertime tunes, including reggae music.

Although Heidecorn and Eaton will be attending graduate school in the fall, the museum expects to host the Big Apple Bash again next year.

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