Photos by Ella Gonzalez
Living in Los Angeles can rack up fees of its own: parking tickets from an unforgiving parking enforcement officer, overpriced dairy substitutes purchased at the behest of your new year’s resolution to be more “health conscious,” and swamp-colored pressed juices to cultivate your Southern California Instagram aesthetic.
For a college student bound to the stereotype of having little money and feasting on ramen, it can be difficult to keep up with the fees accrued from a Southern California lifestyle. Luckily, more than 30 museums in the Los Angeles area have tapped into the psyches of the modern college student.
More than 30 museums in the Los Angeles area partnered with Metro to offer free admission to their general exhibitions on Sunday, Jan. 29, using the moniker “Museums Free-For-All” Day. Encouraging visitors to use the Metro to go to these various institutions, Los Angeles proves itself to be a nexus between art and culture with its sprawling cultural terrain.
The list of free museums includes the likes of the popular Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), as well as museums that already offer free admission including The Broad, The Getty Center, and Pepperdine’s own, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art.
While big names like LACMA and MOCA dominate the list of museums participating in Museums-Free-For-All Day, it is the more obscure and lesser-known museums that offer a fix that rivals the big names, and are heartier than a Cup Noodles (leaving you money to buy some more).
Located on Museum Row near LACMA, the Craft and Folk Art Museum brings a medley of distinctive artistic mediums and styles that cross the quirky with the serious, and the experimental with the more austere and refined. True to its namesake, CAFAM displays craft, folk art and design. One of its current exhibitions, “Chapters,” explores book arts in California beginning in the 1960s and the interplay of “conceptualism, feminism, process and community building” in the displayed works. CAFAM is also a playground for those interested in art, offering workshops and events for visitors, including music and hands-on activities in the courtyard for Museums-Free-For-All Day.
Money saved for ramen: $5 to $7
Also on Museum Row, one can flout convention and kill not two, but three birds with one stone by going to LACMA, CAFAM and the Peterson Automotive Museum in one day. Though a niche museum, celebrating the California culture of traffic and worship of shiny objects, the museum unites the artistically and historically indifferent through this Los Angeles hallmark: the automobile. Visitors can explore the museum’s three floors (History, Industry and Artistry), including the new exhibition “The Unconventional Canvasses of Keith Haring,” and admire the building’s recently renovated façade.
Money saved for ramen: $12 to $15
Descanso Gardens escapes the traditional label as a museum, but still combines art and culture with its artfully landscaped gardens that bring more than 300,000 visitors from around the world each year, forming what the garden refers to as a “museum of living collections.” Art is mediated by nature through the extensive botanic collection that features a rose garden, Japanese garden, and a camellia collection that canvases the grounds.
Money saved for ramen: $6 to $9
The Pasadena Museum of California Art is an ode to the diverse landscape of California, and the rich tapestry of people and art that comprises its life-blood. The visitor’s artistic experience begins in the parking garage where spray-painted murals by California-born artist Kenny Scharf comprise the “Kosmic Krylon Garage.” The museum’s collection merges contemporary and historic California works to display the diversity of California’s history and art.
Money saved for ramen: $5 to $7
Explore the archives of more than 100 years of television and radio history at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. The Paley Center for Media is also responsible for hosting the PaleyFest, featuring panels of celebrities from shows like “The Walking Dead,” and quirky animated hits like “Bob’s Burgers.” The Paley Center also hosts free screenings of TV shows on Saturdays and Sundays that will evoke your childhood nostalgia with family-friendly shows like “Lizzie McGuire” and “That’s So Raven.”
Money saved for ramen: $5 to $10
Other museums that participated in the Museums Free-For-All Day include the Hammer Museum, the Fowler Museum at UCLA, the California Science Center, Annenberg Space for Photography, Museum of Tolerance, Orange County Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. For a full list of museums that participated in the Museums Free-For-All Day click here.
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