The Starving Artist’s Guide to Bay Area Museums

Change for the new Biggers' exhibit, sir?

For all the vulgar excess and catering to the 1%, art love can be relatively friendly for the cash strapped (though being cash strapped in itself isn’t all that friendly).  Gallery receptions and exhibit openings are generally classy yet free affairs – something that can’t exactly be said regarding film or music.  The museum visits may require prying the wallet open.  If well-timed, however, you can stroll several local museums with your wallet pleasantly tucked away.  With that said, here is a quick museum guide for the frugal art nerd.

Tampa Museum of Art – every Friday evening – This is the first program I learned about and perhaps my favorite.  Every Friday TMoA presents Art on the House – free admission between 4pm and 8pm.  I should give a mention to Hill Ward Henderson for making the program possible.

Museum of Fine Art St. Petersburgfirst Saturday and Sunday of each month…sort of – I should start by saying that this deal also applies to the MFA as well as the TMoA and the Florida Holocaust Museum (which has respectable art exhibits of its own from time to time).  You can get free admission to the museums on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month by presenting your Bank of America debit or credit card (or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card) and a photo ID.  If the Saturday or Sunday falls on the last day of the month, the deal will apply the following weekend.

Ringling Museum of Art – every Monday – $25!  That’s how much you don’t have to pay if you visit the Ringling on a monday.  This includes free admission to their permanent collection as well as the special exhibition galleries which currently houses Sanford Biggers’ new installation.  Call in sick to work, bring two dollars for the Skyway, and how about some falafel for lunch – sounds like a rad Monday.

Polk Museum of Art – every Saturday morning –  Not to be left out is the runt of the museum bunch.  You can save your five bucks if you stop by on Saturdays from 10am to noon.  Interestingly, local favorites Theo Wujcik and Krik Ke Wang will be exhibiting at the PMoA in a couple of months.

I’m obligated to mention that visiting the museums at these times is free of charge but not free of cost to the museum.  I’m sure any of these venues would appreciate a donation if you find yourself less poor than usual.  Regardless, whether you plan on making your way to a gallery or museum, it can be done on the cheap.  Being sans-cash shouldn’t be an obstacle to enjoying art in and around the Bay.

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