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Gallery drops admission fee

September 26, 2007|Mike Boehm

The view outside has always been priceless. Now the view of the artwork within is free as well at the Municipal Art Gallery, high on a hillock in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Barnsdall Park in Hollywood.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced this week that the city-run gallery's $7 admission fee had been erased in hopes that freebies would reverse a steep decline in attendance and reestablish the gallery as a popular "first point of entry into the world of art" for L.A. residents.

The gallery, opened in the 1950s, attracted as many as 37,400 visitors a year in 1989, when access cost $1. In 2006, only 14,600 people came for its program of revolving exhibitions -- and most of them came on opening nights or "first Fridays" when admission was free. The gallery's current show, "humor us," features the work of 20 Asian American artists and runs through Dec. 30.

Folks wanting to tour Wright's Hollyhock House, which shares the hilltop with the gallery and an art-education center, will continue to pay $7, with discounts for seniors and students. Identical fees still apply for tours of the other city-run art-and-architectural landmark, the Watts Towers.

-- Mike Boehm

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