Being a Friend of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the story of a friendship

Toni Mata

We at the Friends of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya Foundation endeavour to compile the testimonies that we are sent by our members. We are happy about, and at the same stimulated by, the fact that they appreciate the activities we organize, the treatment they receive, the crowd-funding actions that we initiate from time to time and, above all, what being a Friend of the museum represents for them. Today we publish a text that we have found particularly motivating and refreshing.

Three special moments in recent years

The visit to “La Ricarda” one sunny Saturday morning with the planes flying over the house every few minutes. The route visiting the old Indianes factories in the Sant Pere quarter in the rain. The stroll around the Modern Art rooms that reveals the shortage of women artists in the permanent collection. Three moments that could be three hundred, as many as the days on which I have enjoyed the programmed activities. But none of them can compare to the anonymous gesture of contributing to a crowd-funding action or the time spent conversing with Vicenç, Montserrat, Laura, Ferran, Martí … and all the people that I have met within the walls of the Palau Nacional. That’s what friendship should be: savour it, do the right thing, come what may.

I have never wondered what the museum can do for me, only what I can do for the museum. The extensive, attractive programme of activities compels me to renew my membership card every year, but it would be too weak to base enrolment only on the quarterly offer. If I did that, I would feel like a customer of the museum. And that doesn’t interest me. For me, being a Friend is belonging to a project, an idea, values. Culture and citizenship. Public-spiritedness. Meeting people, visiting places with them. No, I don’t ask what the museum gives me, but what it provides me with and what I can contribute to it. That’s friendship, isn’t it?

The values of the Friends of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

A feeling

One day, about 15 years ago, I became a member of FC Barcelona. And when I say this, people always ask, “Do you go to the matches?” And I reply, “I don’t have a seat at the Camp Nou.” “So what’s the point of being a member?” I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. I don’t wonder about the usefulness of being a member of Barça. There are two sides to it: one sentimental and the other irrational. I feel the same way about the museum. I don’t ask what I can get out of it but what it provides me with. And what I can contribute to it. If it stopped organizing activities tomorrow, I would still renew my membership card every year. It’s called friendship.

Toni Mata
Journalist and Museum’s Friend since 2005
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