If you’re a Member of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, chances are you may be familiar with our Development Officer, Annual Giving & Membership, Peter Herriman. Peter started in February 2021 with an AGH that was closed due to COVID-19, and saw this as an opportunity to learn and enhance the Member experience. Peter is responsible for all things Membership and Annual Giving – everything from managing Memberships, to securing new partners for our popular Member Advantage program, and it has kept him busy since he joined us!
In celebration of our Give the Gift of Membership campaign for the holiday season, we sat down with Peter to discuss his role at the AGH.
AGH: To begin, tell us how you got started at the Gallery, and what your current role entails.
Peter: I’ve always been aware of the AGH, but I got involved with the Gallery when I moved to Hamilton from Oakville in 2019. One of my immediate actions, along with decorating the new house with art, was subscribing to the AGH mailing lists, especially “What’s On”. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Classical Civilisations from the University of Toronto, my degree focused heavily on the impact of the arts on history. After that I completed the Fundraising Management post-graduate program at Humber College, which opened my eyes to the possibilities of the non-profit sector. Many fundraisers have degrees in the humanities, and I felt a lot of the work intersected with my natural skill of building relationships.
I am responsible for Gallery Memberships, Annual Giving, and Visitor Services primarily. Like many arts organizations, we were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our numbers fluctuated but we are now seeing steady growth in new and renewed Members coming back to the Gallery.
AGH: Speaking to as many Members as you do, what are the big reasons folks sign up for a Membership to the AGH?
Peter: There are many reasons and advantages to support the Gallery with a Membership but the main benefit is free admission to all exhibitions, along with fostering the collection and its complimentary programming. In addition to benefits at the Gallery, Members receive reciprocal admission to various galleries and museums in Ontario (OAAG), as well as special discounts from restaurants and businesses around the city. Benefactor level and above Memberships also receive wider ROAM (International) and NARM (North American) reciprocal benefits as well.
AGH: Do you have a favourite Membership perk?
Peter: The Member Advantage Program is an amazing way to affordably interact with the city. If you want to save on a sandwich from That’s My Jam, get 40% off framing at Earls Court Gallery, get a discounted Hamilton Spectator subscription, or if you need to purchase a custom suit from Charles and Hunt, there is an advantage for that! I recommend that our Members check out our website to see what they can take advantage of, especially for this holiday season.
AGH: Since you began as Development Officer in the middle of the pandemic, what do you see in store for the Gallery as we open back up?
Peter: There are many new and upcoming initiatives from the Development Office. On the Membership side, I am excited to announce that the AGH is transitioning out of our paper Membership cards into plastic cards with scannable barcodes for an easier admittance to the gallery and accurate record keeping. In consultation with The ROM and The McMichael Gallery this will allow us to improve turnaround time, and enhance the quality of our Membership card experience. This is set to launch in the new year, so if Members want to update their cards to new and improved ones, they should contact me in January 2022.
From the donations side, we have improved our donation platforms at the gallery for visitors with the introduction of digital donation boxes through our partnership TipTap. With a tap of your debit or credit card, you can donate to the AGH in $5, $10, or $20 increments. There’s much more to come in 2022, and a Membership is one of the best ways to stay in touch!
AGH: It’s the holiday season, what does the Membership office have in store for this year?
Peter: As we lead up to the holiday season, we’re running a Give the Gift of Membership promotion which allows for 25% off Friend of the Arts Memberships and gift Memberships with the code AGHGift25. At a time when we are anticipating global supply chain delays with online orders a Membership is a convenient gift, and one that will continue to give to the receiver all year around! This is an amazing way to get involved with the Gallery and begin your journey with us.