A few weeks ago we spent the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). We heard it was free day Monday sponsored by Target, and while we’d never taken T before considering he thinks a mess all over the living room floor qualifies as fine, we figured with it being free entry for all we’d give it a shot.
What learned upon arrival, however, is that EVERY DAY before a child’s 18th birthday is free day at LACMA, both for them AND the adult who chaperones. Yes, you read that right. There is an ongoing program called ARTS FOR NEXGEN where minors – when accompanied by an adult – can enter for free any day of the year up until their 18th birthday. No annual renewal necessary, no one-time fee, just straight-up free admission to all of the regular galleries once you sign up with Arts for NEXGEN with your child(ren)’s name, address, telephone number, and email. Here’s to 13+ more years of a beautiful friendship, LACMA!
Now having learned about that free program, I truly have no idea what we were waiting for as LACMA is an artistic playground for all-ages, beginning with the outside lawn areas and sculptures. The quad in front of LACMA’s main entrance is a wonderful place to meet up with your group or just accidentally bump into friends you didn’t plan on seeing.
The kids also enjoyed this hands-on acrylic-rope sculpture in one of the interior patios. It is a “please touch” (and run through) exhibit, so don’t worry about all those people inside of the artwork, including your own child running rough-shot over and over through the strands. I think we spent close to a half-hour here before the doors opened to go inside. We parents were thankful it was there to keep our antsy kids occupied!
Once the doors opened, the first exhibit we visited was the Boone Children’s Gallery. This is another FREE hands-on gallery, which features a painting and drawing studio (unlimited times on regular weekdays; 30-minute timed admission on holidays and weekends) where kids can get their hands dirty and put their creative minds to play.
T painted a couple of pictures with his friends in the 30 minutes we had during our visit in the Boone Gallery, and it was simply amazing once again to see what he’s capable of doing with very little guidance. Again, I don’t know why I worry so much… oh yeah, because I am a mom.
Oh I forgot, but did I mention LACMA was a great place to bump into friends? We managed to run into some other friends from our hometown play group (nearly 30 miles away) who coincidentally changed their schedules to come up to the museum, too! We literally crossed paths with them as we exited an elevator and they came through another doorway. What a small world and happy surprise for T!
As for why LACMA was even on our radar, I had seen a report on the local news about a new kinetic art exhibit featuring small model cars, trains, and other vehicles looping through tracks and roads at a scale model 150+ MPH. I immediately thought, wow, T would LOVE this!
The piece is Metropolis II by Chris Burden, and while it opened as a special exhibit in January, this is part of LACMA’s regular entrance galleries with no additional fee required. There was a line to see it up close, but it went fast – just like the art piece! I think we waited behind about 100 people for 10 minutes or so, so it’s doable with a few preschoolers in tow. Also, you can see the exhibit from the line at a distance so parents can use that as a carrot to keep the kids’ interest and anticipation.
I loved Metropolis II and so did T. He could have stared at it for hours, and yet we only stayed there for about 30 minutes to give some other folks a chance (and we probably overstayed our welcome, oops). It reminded me a lot of “the balls” at the Discovery Science Center, but on an obviously much larger, much faster scale.
LACMA is also adjacent to the Page Museum and La Brea Discoveries and several local eateries. On the day we went to LACMA, we also took a quick trip next door to the Page since we’re members, and we broke up the day with lunch. It was lovely to spend an entire day outside (and inside with so much light flowing in) and walk everywhere nearby, and we enjoyed it all while surrounded by so much creative energy and inspiration (yes, that includes you, too, C and T).
The next free Monday for everyone at LACMA is just a couple of short weeks away from today on the President’s Day holiday, which is Monday February 20 (opens at Noon). Why not pencil it in on your calendar, RMT’ers?