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New York’s 19 Most Exclusive Young Patron Groups in the Art World

Unlike the hoards of tourists that flood the city throughout the year, most New Yorkers don’t have the patience to wait in long lines to see their favorite artworks (ain’t nobody got time for that)! If you’re a young art enthusiast who likes meeting people and could use a drink every now and then, joining a Young Patron’s Group should definitely be next on your to-do list!

As a member, there are thousands of resources at your disposal that bring you closer to the art and luckily, there’s a membership program for everyone. By joining a Young Patron group, members help preserve a museum or Foundation’s collection as well as support exhibitions, cultural celebrations, and educational programs. In return, members have a selection of exclusive programs and events to choose from, which usually includes behind-the-scenes tours, talks with the curator, exhibition previews, shopping discounts as well as cocktails and private opening receptions. The millennials that make up the Young Patron groups have the opportunity to network with other young professionals who are also passionate about the arts. We think at least one of these groups will suit your fancy.

Young International Circle  

Museum Affiliation: El Museo del Barrio

Membership: $250 for Individuals and $350 for Couples

El Museo del Barrio’s Young International Circle is a membership group composed of young, philanthropic art lovers who share a passion for bilingual education and Latin American and Latino arts and culture.  Members of the YIC enjoy exciting benefits such as visits to artist studios, passes to national art fairs and opportunities to volunteer during El Museo’s cultural celebrations. The museum also has a Young International Circle Executive Committee that is invite-only. They are a group of professionals who represent a variety of sectors and backgrounds, offering their professional experience to develop fun, entertaining, and enriching programs on the museum’s behalf. Through participation in this select group, members of the YIC Executive Committee build their leadership skills and advance their personal and professional networks.

Young Folk

Museum Affiliation: The American Folk Art Museum

Membership: $150

Young Folk is the official young supporters group (ages 21 to 39) of the American Folk Art Museum. Through dynamic social-educational programs, like intimate private-collection and studio visits, as well as creative, blow-out parties and engaging social media, Young Folk provides a community for exploration of traditional and contemporary folk, self-taught, and outsider art. Inspired by the diversity, craftsmanship, and originality of these art forms, Young Folk is much more than a “fresh take on folk art.” It is redefining the way in which twenty-and-thirty-somethings engage with art and museums through its low membership fee and out-of-the-box programming.

Young Folk photo // by Travis Keyes

Young Fellow

Museum Affiliation: The Frick Collection

Membership: $500

Young Fellow is the group of supporters of The Frick Collection. Members are young (aged 21 to 39) and engaged in all aspects regarding the art in the museum. They receive unlimited free admission for four people for one year and are invited to participate in the annual Spring Garden Party for Fellows. Offering a singular and memorable experience for the public, Young Fellows are frequently participating in unexpected and dynamic programs such as workshops and special exhibition viewings, as well as two to three gallery talks with curators each year. Not only do Fellows get discounts on concerts and educational programs as well as a subscription to the Members’ Magazine, but they also receive a specially selected Frick exhibition catalogue and an acknowledgement in the Annual Report.

The Met Apollo Circle

Museum Affiliation: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Membership: $1,200

The Met Apollo Circle is made up of young friends of the Museum (aged 21-39) who get express admission at all Met locations, special viewing hours and invitations to all Young Members events, such as the Annual Met Apollo Circle summer party on The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Members of this community are supporting the Met’s mission of making art accessible to all and in return, they are invited to a special evening receptions with the Museum’s Director, ten to twelve private receptions, curator-led gallery talks, and exclusive events. SAVE THE DATE! This year’s Young Members party is on July 7th. You can purchase tickets here.

Junior Associates

Museum Affiliation: MoMA

Membership: $675

The Junior Associates have established themselves as an essential part of the dynamic community supporting the MoMA. These young members (aged 21 to 40) have an array of events to enjoy including curatorial walkthroughs, exclusive tours and visits to private collections and artists’ studios. The Associates are avid participators in the curatorial departments and education programs, and they help cultivate a well-rounded and inclusive community.

Whitney Contemporaries

Museum Affiliation: The Whitney Museum of American Art

Membership: $750

The Whitney Contemporaries are a group of young members (aged 21 to 40) of the Whitney Museum, who support artistic innovations and enrich the museum’s community. Membership allows for core benefits for two along with artist studio visits, after-hours tours, express admission, and invitations to select contemporary art fairs and for two opening cocktail receptions for major exhibitions. This membership does not come short of benefits, and the Contemporaries can count on multiple gallery walks as well as discounts at the Museum Shop, the Whitney’s restaurant, Untitled, and the Studio Café.

photo // Filip Wolak Photography
Whitney Contemporaries photo // by Filip Wolak Photography

Art Council

Museum Affiliation: Dia Art Foundation

Membership: $5,000 (members 35 years of age or younger are invited to join with a contribution of $1,000)

DIA Art Council members engage in a series of events and lectures focused on the collection to enhance their connection to the Museum. Members get public recognition on the Dia:Beacon’s donor wall and on Dia’s website and along with that, invitations to special exhibition previews and an annual gallery tour, two studio visits, and free admission to the Artists on Artists Lecture Series and the Readings in Contemporary Poetry. Council members are valuable resources to promote the museum and provide essential support for the Dia Art Foundation’s artists, exhibitions, public programs and special projects.

Young Collectors Council 

Museum Affiliation: Guggenheim

Membership: $600*

The Young Collectors Council brings together young professionals (aged 21 to 40) who wish to support the Guggenheim Museum and take leadership positions in the expanding network connecting artists with prominent collectors and leading figures in the art world. Benefits include free admission to the Museum as well as invitations to monthly curator-led YCC programs and events, such as day trips and special evening opening receptions before the exhibitions open to the public. Members work closely with curators and as a part of the YCC’s Acquisitions Committee*, meetings are held twice a year to vote on the acquisition of works for the museum’s contemporary collection.

*Pricing for the Young Collectors Council’s Acquisition Committee will vary.

Guggenheim YCC photo // Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com
Guggenheim YCC photo // Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

Junior Council Friend 

Museum Affiliation: American Museum of Natural History

Membership: $400

The Junior Council is a young group of art enthusiasts between the ages of 22 and 45 that have the privilege of being active members of the American Museum of Natural History in a dynamic environment that promotes science and discovery. The JC Friend Individual member is entitled to unlimited complimentary general admission and special exhibition tickets for two, discounts on tickets for Space Shows and live animal exhibits, four complimentary tickets to LeFrak Theater films, invitations to special exhibition previews and member-only events, and opportunities to participate in special tours.

Young Patron

Museum Affiliation: The Jewish Museum

Membership: $180

Young art supporters (ages 21 to 40) who are interested in art and Jewish culture can join the Jewish Museum’s Young Patron Program to enjoy specially curated events. Members are invited to exclusive programs including artist studio visits, curator-led private tours, and receptions at leading galleries and museums. Their dedication and support is awarded with an annual recognition in the Museum’s Newsletter and their personalized membership card allows them unlimited free admission to the Jewish Museum.

Young Fellows of the Morgan

Museum Affiliation: The Morgan Library & Museum

Membership: $500

The Young Fellows of The Morgan Library & Museum are young professionals (aged 21 to 39) who are interested in art and wish to support the Morgan. The Young Fellows engage in various programs ranging from a private docent-led tour to select Association of Fellows events. Members get unlimited free admission to the museum and discounts on lectures, concerts, and other public programs to deepen their understanding of art and culture. They are invited to private members’ receptions for select exhibitions and have the opportunity to host a private event in one of the historic parlors in the Morgan House. The Young Fellows Summer Soirée is June 21st. You can purchase tickets here.

MAD Contemporaries 

Museum Affiliation: Museum of Art & Design

Membership: $250

Young professionals (ages 21 to 40) who wish to be associated with the Museum of Art & Design can join the MAD Contemporaries. This is a special membership level in support of the MAD and benefits include exclusive access to Wine & Design events, invitations to all exhibition opening receptions, unlimited free admission to the museum for two adults, and the opportunity to participate in curator-led day trips.

Museum of Arts and Design photo // Jenna Bascom
Museum of Arts and Design photo // Jenna Bascom

Visionary Circle Membership

Museum Affiliation: Rubin Museum

Membership: $200

The culturally engaged individuals aged 21 to 45 associated with the Rubin Museum are members of The Visionary Circle. Members are encouraged to connect with other art enthusiasts and deepen their understanding of art and culture through a series of events and programs. Exclusive social, educational and fundraising events are only a few of the benefits included in this membership. The Visionary Circle also invites its members to a full calendar of tours, networking events with curators, speakers and artists, Visionary Circle gatherings and gallery visits and passes to select art fairs throughout New York City.

Young Garden Circle

Museum Affiliation: New York Botanical Garden

Membership: $500

Members of the Young Garden Circle, aged 21 to 40, come together at the New York Botanical Gardens for private viewings and special programs throughout the year. Members are engaged with volunteer opportunities and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours with curators and environmental scientists to enrich their knowledge of art and nature. Benefits also include invitations to private evening receptions and the annual Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture, as well as free admission and morning access to each exhibition during the Muffins and Mimosas event.

Junior Council

Museum Affiliation: Neue Galerie

Membership: $275

The Junior Council is a young group of individuals (aged 21 to 40) who are interested in early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design and who are committed to supporting the Neue Galerie and its mission. Members are invited to participate in exclusive programs inside and out of the museum including behind-the-scenes tours of the Neue Galerie’s current exhibitions and permanent collection, visits to galleries and auction houses, wine-tasting dinners, artist’s studio visits and gallery talks and a complimentary unlimited yearly admission for the card bearer and one guest. Providing networking opportunities with like-minded professionals, the ultimate goal of the Junior Council is to help secure the future growth and development of the museum.

Young Lions

Museum Affiliation: New York Public Library

Membership: $30/month or $350-$749 annually

Young Lions is the group of young supporters of the New York Public Library. These professionals in their 20’s and 30’s are interested in literature and art. By providing critical support to the Library’s Book Fund, members benefit by engaging in forums and intimate discussions with emerging writers, as well as attending pre-release film screenings and behind-the-scenes tours of the NYPL. They also receive exclusive access to special events of the NYPL. Contributions to NYPL ensure that all New Yorkers have access to books, e-books, and other essential resources.

Young Lions photo // Joe Schildhorn, BFA
Young Lions photo // Joe Schildhorn, BFA

Young Patrons Circle

Museum Affiliation: New York Foundation for the Arts

Membership: $250

NYFA’s Young Patrons Circle is a group of socially and culturally involved young professionals (aged 21 to 40) who support and empower artists of all disciplines. Through fundraising efforts and private events, Patrons have the opportunity to network and entice professional development. Benefits include invitations to intimate salon events and cocktail receptions with artists, a subscription to NYFA’s Donor Circle e-newsletter, private visits to the studios and rehearsals of important and emerging artists, and recognition on NYFA’s website as a member of the YPC.

Young Members Circle

Museum Affiliation: Museum of the City of New York

Membership: $100

The Young Members Circle of the Museum of the City of New York are professionals aged between 21 and 39 who wish to be in touch with the city’s social and cultural spectrum. These supporters of the MCNY get a first look at exhibitions and are invited to special members-only evenings. They have access to Museum Public Programs for free or for discounted prices. To get you started, members get 365 days of FREE admission and savings of over 30% on tickets to the end-of-summer Big Apple Bash and Annual Winter Thaw.

The Armory Avant-Garde – Young Membership Program

Museum Affiliation: Park Avenue Armory

Membership: $350

The Avant-Garde, as the name suggests, is a forward-thinking group of young individuals from their 20’s to 40’s who are affiliated with the Park Avenue Armory and connect deeply with its creative concepts. Throughout the year, members attend special Armory events, studio visits, architecture tours and private collection visits. They enjoy free admission for guided tours of the Armory and have exclusive access to the best seats during Armory performances. Members make invaluable contributions to programming and support the Armory’s mission: to create unconventional work that cannot be mounted in traditional performance halls and museums.

Photo // Park Ave Armory Avant-Garde
Photo // Park Ave Armory Avant-Garde

Young Contemporaries

Museum Affiliation: Children’s Museum of the Arts

Membership: $50

The Young Contemporaries (aged 21 to 40) of the Children’s Museum of the Arts support children with physical disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. Members are invited to exclusive YC events such as gallery tours, studio visits, and exhibition openings as well as special events like the annual Art Walk and yoga at the museum. Through YC, young corporate professionals have the opportunity to network and get involved with a non-profit organization that brings hands-on art programming to children throughout NYC.