PostHeaderIcon Buy a Dot by Seurat

AdoptDotThe Art Institute has devised an imaginative way to both honor your mother this Mother’s Day and support the museum at the same time. It’s a fund-raising gimmick called “Adopt a Dot”. It lets you adopt a dot from probably the signature masterwork of its collection, “La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat.

For each dot purchased at $10 (3 for $25 and 6 for $50), the honoree receives a button featuring a dot from the painting in one of 6 chosen colors: Red, Light Blue, Pink, Light Green, Orange or White.  As of last weekend, the museum had raised at least $70,000 as approximately 7,000 dots had been adopted.

The adoption sale is ongoing but button delivery by Mother’s Day next Sunday cannot be guaranteed. To buy a dot, go to the museum’s website at Perhaps the museum, come Summer, can declare some Sunday “Seurat Sunday” and have all button-buyers show their colors in a recreation of “La Grande Jatte” on the walkway leading to the roof of the new Modern Wing.

This clever marketing ploy should spur wider emulation by other Chicago arts organizations who might employ greater imagination in raising support than endless letters of appeal, usually offering nothing tangible in return. While sports teams have sold off seats, bricks or goal posts prior to demolishing old stadiums, I can imagine Lyric Opera selling a tiny swatch of gold thread from its curtain. Steppenwolf might sell off a page of August: Osage County, Ravinia could offer one of James Conlon’s discarded or autographed batons and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra might offer anything incoming Music Director (or is the proper title Messiah?) Riccardo Muti has touched. The list is limited only by local arts’ organizations imaginations. And isn’t imagination the art world’s leading brand?

So, I raise a glass to the originator of “Adopt a Dot” at the Art Institute and wish to see more of the same spirit of all around town. It’s time for arts leaders everywhere to wean themselves slightly off the unstable, unpredictable and begrudging state and federal dole as well as diminishing levels of corporate and foundation funding.

4 Responses to “Buy a Dot by Seurat”

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