While free admission to the Swope Art Museum opens doors to many who might not pay for an art museum visit, it does remove one source of guaranteed income for the museum. The Swope serves more people, but together we must also raise more money.

This is a trade-off that has happily been made since 1942. We believe that Sheldon Swope’s free-to-all policy has opened our doors to generations of families and children who otherwise might not be able to be frequent visitors to our esteemed collection. The Swope has extended free admission to the weekly Art Start program for children 2-5 years of age. Every Tuesday during the school year, the Education Center hums with the energy of kids enjoying making art!

When they enter school and start taking classes, some have works entered in the annual School Art Exhibition featuring works from elementary, middle school and high school. And each year, all fifth grade students in the Vigo County School System come to the Swope to see this exhibition, as well as the Swope’s permanent collection.

But of course, we learn in life that nothing is really free. Each year the Swope must ask you for support to ensure that free admission to the museum and the programming offered each week may continue.

So, did Sheldon Swope make a mistake when he declared that the Swope Art Museum would be free to all?

No. Sheldon Swope believed in the power of community…a community like ours!


Donate now to support the Swope!Donate Button with Credit Cards

The Swope gratefully accepts donations in several other ways:

    • Memberships provide the foundational and unrestricted support for the museum and extend Sheldon’s Legacy by offering free access to other museums.
    • Sponsorships are gifts that underwrite specific exhibitions, programs and activities.
    • In-Kind donations are non-monetary gifts that extend goods and services to the museum.

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact the Swope Art Museum at (812) 238-1676.