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The Pioneer

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco offers free admission to SF residents

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Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco offers free admission to SF residents

OURTESY OF STEVEN RAMIREZ/FLICKR

OURTESY OF STEVEN RAMIREZ/FLICKR

OURTESY OF STEVEN RAMIREZ/FLICKR

By Shoib Ahmadzai, CONTRIBUTOR

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A free admission program by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco could soon be offered to all residents of the Bay Area.
The Fine Arts Museums announced a new initiative on Jan. 29 which states that they will offer free Saturday admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums starting Apr. 6 beginning with all San Francisco residents.
Miriam Newcomer, director of public relations for the Fine Arts Museums, said the free admission is a pilot program for now but the plan is to expand it.
“Our goal is to expand to the entire Bay Area and eventually all of California,” Newcomer said.
Non-residents who visit the museums will continue to pay the full price of $15 for general admission. Residents will need to show an ID or any postmarked mail to get free admission. However, free admission will be available to all minors and people with disabilities.
“I think museums should all be free, always, and this is at least a step in the right direction,” said Oakland resident Aaron Harbour, a frequent museumgoer.
Harbour said he is both excited and a bit disappointed about the announcement because he believes that museums should be open to all San Francisco Bay Area residents.
“Still, this is something versus the non-existent free admission at other institutions,” Harbour said.
While free museums are not typical in California, the move comes at a time of ongoing high costs affecting all the Bay Area.
Raises in the overall cost of living persists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A 2017 poll showed that 51 percent of San Francisco Bay Area residents considered moving because of soaring costs in housing, according to the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
Fine Arts Museums CEO and Director, Thomas P. Campbell, stated in a press release that this program intends to build on the museums’ foundation and role as San Francisco’s community museum.
“In this time of rising costs, we are looking back to our roots and recommitting to our most loyal audience: the residents of San Francisco,” Campbell said in the statement.
The Fine Arts Museums hopes that this move will serve the community in San Francisco.
“We must serve the city that we represent. Step one is making sure that every resident can step foot in its museums.”
Campbell remarked that this new move is about accessibility and “removing barriers.”
San Francisco Mayor, London Breed also acknowledged the cost of living and the need to make city services affordable.
“San Francisco is an increasingly expensive place to live, and that makes the cost of museums prohibitive for many,” she said. “Exposure to the arts should not be limited by the price of admission.”
The Fine Arts Museums anticipate an increase in visitors to their museums with this new initiative and are “hop[ing] to see visitors from a wide range of circumstances,” Newcomer stated.

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