Posted by: Mish | May 15, 2009

Budget Art Viewing

Strolling through while looking at paintings and sculptures is one of favorite past times. I love getting lost in the color, form, textures, and the feelings the pieces draw forth. But the cost of seeing art can be pricey or add up, for example, $20 for adult admittance into the Museum of Modern Art. If driving and parking, add another $15 or more, but that’s New York City. I love the MoMA and when I’m in the area I try to visit.

There are more economical ways to see the masters of classical and modern art. A number of museums will have a certain day when admittance is merely a donation or free. The Guggenheim, also in New York City, has Pay What You Wish on Friday evenings beginning at 5:45. Admission to the MoMA is free on Friday nights from 4:00 to 8:00. If one’s interested in checking out a museum or two, it can be worthwhile to see if there are reduced pricing days. One might be able to plan their visit accordingly.

Art Gazing

"Circe" and "Purple Wheat" by Red Dawg

If one isn’t tied to seeing works by Picasso and his peers, but just want to see art for art’s sake, that’s possible without paying a dime. Local art galleries are an excellent way to do just that. Along the cobblestone streets of Montreal’s Old Port there are a plethora of galleries that one can step into and just browse. Similarly, in Montreal every July there is an art festival, where artists line the street. Both make for a rather enjoyable day, and a pretty cheap one since all the art is within walking distance of each other. Even just passing by a gallery I have to at least look through the window. Tied in with galleries are often exhibits for a specific artist or two. Keep a look out for shows, bring a couple friends, and take a gander.

Where are some of your favourite places to go art gazing?

Photo copyright ©Misha Lee, 2008



  1. I used to live in Melbourne, and the National Gallery of Victoria would ticket their major exhibit — usually touring or international — whilst all the other “lesser” exhibits, both permanent and touring, were free. So if I didn’t want to see the ticketed exhibit (which cost about AUS$20-30), I could see the rest of the NGV without paying. This was a great arrangement as that meant I visited the NGV annually, to see their main exhibit and all the smaller ones — in total it was very affordable and worth that $30 for a day exploring the entire gallery.

    This was the same case for most of the museums and galleries around Melbourne – one major, ticketed exhibit (discounted for students and seniors) plus all the smaller free ones. I don’t think any galleries had free or cheap days (which seems to be commonplace in the US), but that may have changed.

    I try to get to as many art and craft festivals as I can, I like seeing what the local creatives are up to. Melbourne is an incredibly arty city, there are independent/artist-run galleries and collectives virtually everywhere, to the point where I can spend hours visiting the galleries on a single street. There is also a strong graffiti/street art presence in Melbourne, so you don’t even have to go into galleries to see art — but you need to know where to look. 😉 And I haven’t mentioned the independent launch events and shows put on by locals that are all free or have only nominal entry fees…

    I’m living in a different city (and country) now, and haven’t had much chance to visit the arts in my area, but I have been to whichever arts and crafts festivals I know about. All I will say is, I’ve been spoiled by living in Melbourne. *grin*

    It does take some investment of effort to find out what’s going on in your city, but there are tons of free exhibits and shows, if you look hard enough and in the right places. One thing I’ve discovered whilst living in Melbourne is: if you want to get into the independent art/music/culture scene, you have to do as the independents do: stay close to the ground. Keep an eye out for innocuous hand-made flyers. Get hold of small press news. Visit artist-run galleries. Walk on the streets, see things from the local standpoint. One name, place leads to another name, place. Most of the time, the highly-visible sources of arts/culture news — such as magazines, city newspapers — never hears of these events. Takes a bit of effort, but it’s loads of fun, and once you’re familiar with the independent and underground, that’s a whole new world opened up.

  2. Sometimes it amazes me how much of the arts is below the mainstream’s radar. I’m thrilled when “unknowns” get “discovered” and make it because it was that much harder for them. One of my reasons for starting this blog was to share the more obscure art and artists. Whether it’s something I see or can’t because of distance, maybe someone who reads my blurb can.

    Now that I’m older and can appreciate them more, I’d like to revisit a few places- Oz being one of them. Besides, I have a slew of cousins in Melb. The National Gallery’s been noted, thanks.

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