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A No-Fee Art Museum

June 16, 2002

Hurrah for Christopher Knight ("Why Pay to See Our Own Art?," June 9)! He wrote for the art-loving public, poor and not-so-poor alike. A county institution, supported by our tax dollars, should by all means be available free of charge to all ... just as the libraries are (as Knight so ably pointed out).

Among our friends, cultured and concerned people, there are rumblings of discontent about the enormous expense involved in tearing down the existing museum and erecting a new building, which Knight considers "exciting" (open for dispute).

If all that money can be spent on the facility itself, not put to public vote, what gives the institution the right to assume that we should be willing to support it with admission fees?


Santa Monica


I couldn't agree more with Knight's call to eliminate the admission charge for LACMA's permanent collection. Letting us in for free may even convince me to reinstate my membership in an institution that I had begun to perceive as imperious when it decided unilaterally that another face-lift was more important than the mission to build the collection and serve the public.


Los Angeles


It was with wistfulness and longing that the photo of the Saint Louis Art Museum greeted me in Knight's article on LACMA's admission policy. After returning to Los Angeles from living in St. Louis for two years, I have missed my spur-of-the-moment visits to the free museum, where I could linger over artwork that I would not normally have been drawn to in a typical marathon visit of trying to get my money's worth of art viewing.

Since my return to L.A. last year, I have not visited LACMA because, honestly, right now I can't afford it at $7 per person plus parking expenses. But I have visited the Getty twice, where $5 parks a carload of people. How sad that the Getty, in the hills of Brentwood, is becoming the accessible people's museum instead of LACMA, in the heart of the city.


Culver City


I agree with Knight's argument for free admittance to LACMA.

I did go to the Luca Giordano exhibition (it was indeed remarkable), but was surprised at the $7 admission fee and dismayed to find only two other people attending the show.

A museum of this stature should really be a public institution similar to a library. People certainly should not be dissuaded from attending because of a steep admission fee. A voluntary fee could be substituted and would probably bring in almost as much revenue, or perhaps the shortfall could be taken out of the massive reconstruction budget.


Playa del Rey

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