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Yoga: The Art of Transformation | FAQ


with responses from the Freer|Sackler

Now that the "Together We're One" crowdfunding campaign is over, am I still able to donate to the Yoga exhibition? In a word, absolutely! Donating to this exhibition will truly make you part of yoga and art history. The scholarship in Yoga: The Art of Transformation opens up a new field of study, looking at what yoga's visual culture tells us about its meanings, philosophies, and potential for change. And while we are unfortunately not able to include new donors on the “Together We're One” digital plaque, helping to bring such a landmark exhibition to the world is a powerful feeling!

Why does the Smithsonian need money? Don't our taxes fund the museums? While federal taxpayer funding covers some of our costs (mostly operating costs, such as keeping the galleries clean and the lights on), private and public support—whether from donors, sponsors, or grants—cover the majority of expenses related to exhibitions and programming. We rely on public and private support to offer our programs and exhibitions free of charge to the public. Private and public support for the Yoga exhibition will help us create videos, publications, and pamphlets; print catalogs (and sell them for a much more reasonable price than through a bookstore!); offer yoga classes during the exhibition, and more.

The cost of putting on a major exhibition like this one is high—but not unusual for the Freer|Sackler. It is simply necessary for keeping the artwork and visitors safe and ensuring a quality experience for both.

How will my money be used? Yoga: The Art of Transformation, a longtime labor of love for the Freer|Sackler, will bring more than 130 artworks from around the world to Washington, DC. The associated costs are high. All donations will fund the unexciting but expensive logistics (shipping, mounting, lighting, paint, cases, labels), plus the fun aspects that allow us to better share the exhibition's content with the public: workshops for adults and families, yoga classes in the exhibit space, a yoga festival, pamphlets and other takeaway materials, honorariums for speakers and teachers, a comprehensive website, and videos. It will also support a public symposium that will bring international art and yoga scholars to DC, and the production of a full-color exhibition catalogue, the first on yogic art.

Why crowdfunding? We're trying a new (to us, at least!) and innovative fundraising approach worthy of a new and innovative exhibition. Crowdfunding is not too different from our other fundraising efforts; we're just asking more people for a smaller amount of money, rather than asking a few people or corporations for a large amount of money. Since so many people practice and are enthusiastic about yoga, we're choosing a format that allows everyone to get involved, not just those who have the means to make large donations. And the positive community response was overwhelming—we surpassed our ambitious goal of $125,000 to raise more than $174,000 for Yoga: The Art of Transformation!

Will you have yoga classes at the museums? Due to the support we received from “Together We’re One,” we certainly will! Please check our exhibition page for a schedule of events as we approach the exhibition's opening.

I can't make it to see the exhibition. Why should I donate? The exhibition will be at the Sackler from October 19, 2013–January 26, 2014, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum from February 21–May 25, 2014, and the Cleveland Museum of Art from June 22–September 7, 2014.

While there's no substitute for seeing artwork in person, we'd like to make as much content as possible from the Yoga exhibition available online, through such features as an interactive website, a video walkthrough, recordings of lectures and symposia, and image galleries. In addition, we're creating an incredible catalogue, also titled Yoga: The Art of Transformation, which will be available for sale in October and may have free excerpts online.

Back to Yoga: The Art of Transformation

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.