A Look Ahead at the New DMA Friends Badge Program

The DMA launches its new membership program, DMA Friends, later this month. Until now, we knew only that it was a free public program offering general admission access to the community, hinged around visitor engagement.

On Monday they'll present the master plan to the Dallas City Council, so we looked into the meeting notes and got a better understanding of what's in store. Hint: It's a lot like Foursquare. Extra hint: I'm going to be the Mayor of the DMA.

With the new free admission program, you'll be able to pop in and out whenever you feel artfully frisky and while there, go ahead and collect a few badges. Those meritful designs are exchangeable for rewards in the gift shop, cafe and even tickets for events and larger-scale shows. I know what you're thinking: "That sounds like work. I hate work."

Stop stressing: You can get a badge for partying.

Check in at five Late Night events -- those monthly affairs with DJs, performances, films and art demos that run until midnight -- and collect an Insomniac Badge. It's a cute little thing that looks like an owl who just dropped psychedelics.

In celebration of the DMA's 110th birthday, there will be a limited edition prize up for grabs. It's designed like crossbones, sans skull, with a warring rattle and paintbrush. The first 110 folks who photobomb a piece of artwork in the museum collection that was created in the year of their birth, and upload the pic to Facebook will snatch this one up. This badge is especially interesting, not because of its gimmick, but for what it represents. There was a time -- not so long ago -- when that kind of behavior was taboo in many art institutions. Now the DMA is not only encouraging the act, it's rewarding it.

There will be others -- Social Butterfly, Storytellers, Creative Cat and a turntable labeled "I Got Rhythm" for jazz in the atrium programs -- as a start. They're also tracking the collective engagement in a cloud format to see what we're doing as a whole once we enter the building.

While the exchanging points for rewards system acts as an added lure, what's really thrilling is the gravity of the promise and the openness of the DMA's invitation. Soon, the entire museum will be at your disposal, regardless of how much money you have available that day.

Out on your lunchbreak but can't afford a fancy sandwich downtown? Go clear your head and learn something. Want to show your children the tremendous works of art housed in that big building? Enter it. They've broken down the barriers and are even rewarding you for your inquisitive nature. Soon, the DMA will be integrated into our daily routines, which feels quasi utopian. Get excited Dallas, it's all happening.

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