To Bring Joy

My heart is full of gratitude for your messages during our end-of-year appeal. Yes, I’m grateful for your donations and would welcome more. However, your messages took me by surprise. First, to those who wish they could donate more: Know we are grateful for whatever you are able to give. Then, to those who offer apologies for not being able to give: May your life be filled with abundance.

Finally, to those who wish us well but can’t give because they “only donate to critical charities that help the sick or the underprivileged”: We understand. That’s one reason it took m six years to write my first appeal for donations.

It took me six years to write my first appeal for donations.

From our beginning in 2016, we’ve been overwhelmed with in-kind donations. Our business model (yes, nonprofits have business models) was self-generated funding through exhibits and selling extras like multiples or items that don’t fit the criteria for the permanent archives. That worked for the first few years with the help of deferred salaries and discounted consulting fees. Then came 2022, our year of abundance.

Our plan was to find a warehouse so we could consolidate our storage units. The pandemic brought different options. With guidance from some business-savvy people like Kate Wendel at JEDCO and a generous gift from renowned collector Morris Everett, Jr., we opened our first public space–Movie Poster Archives Gallery & Gifts, a retail store and research center. It doesn’t hold all 1.5 million assets, but it gives the public a way to engage with us through exhibits, screenings, classes, and a gift shop full of posters, lobby cards, celebrity photos, and more.

We can’t pay the rent with movie posters, so I’m finally learning to ask for help. The light dawned when I remembered a conversation between the late legendary diva Beverly Sills and the late Cong. Barbara Jordan. It was a tv show around New Year’s in the mid-1990s. Cong. Jordan was summarizing her efforts in human rights, healthcare, and hunger. Ms. Sills gasped and said that the human need made her life’s work of singing and entertaining seem unimportant. Now, Beverly Sills was widely acknowledged as the greatest operatic performer of her time.

Cong. Jordan raised her hand and pointed at the diva with passion in her voice. “Music is important to the quality of life. Why are we struggling to live if we can’t be fulfilled by beauty and art? Do not diminish your contribution!” The words are as I remember them. The meaning is true to that moment.

Movie posters bring joy and wonderful memories. People find solace, comfort, excitement, surprise, and even love (or at least memories of it) in posters. Here’s my appeal: Help us bring joy to a world that needs it so badly right now. Come to our exhibits and screenings. Visit the Gallery and Gift Shop. If you can, please donate now.

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