LOS ANGELES—The Hammer Museum has announced that it will eliminate its admission fee and become entirely FREE to the public in 2014. Free admission will coincide with the opening of the Hammer’s 2014 exhibition season in early February. Hammer director Ann Philbin shared the exciting news at the Museum’s annual Gala in the Garden fundraiser on Saturday, October 5.
The Hammer is committed to eliminating admission fees permanently. Free admission for the first four years is made possible by two gifts received over the summer from longtime Hammer Museum benefactors Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter. Erika Glazer is an art collector who joined the Hammer’s Board of Directors in 2009. She has worked in the real estate business, construction, and as a private investor since 1976.
“It is rare that you have an opportunity to make a gift that simultaneously helps transform an institution and serves the public in a very broad and meaningful way,” remarked Glazer. “I’m very happy to be a part of this.”
Brenda Potter has been a Hammer supporter since 2003. An avid art collector, Potter is also a Fine Art Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills.
“I’ve supported the Hammer for many years. The quality of their exhibitions and public programs is outstanding,” said Potter. “Helping to provide the community with access to all that the Hammer has to offer is very important to me.”
“We have been working towards free admission for years,” said Hammer Director Annie Philbin. “Our public programs have always been free and now with Brenda and Erika’s support we are finally able to provide open access to all of the Hammer’s offerings. It is part of our institutional ethos—we want to foster a generosity of spirit which emphasizes the essential importance of dialogue, culture, creativity in everyone’s lives—regardless of one’s ability to pay.”
The Hammer will also debut a new membership model beginning in January 2014, placing an emphasis on substantial engagement with the public while encouraging repeat visits to the Museum’s exhibitions and public programs. Details on the new membership model, which will feature the ability to earn membership to the Hammer through regular Museum participation, will be announced in January.
“We believe that museums can and should have a significant impact on civic life. They have the ability to cultivate understanding and open minds,” Philbin continued. “Together with our recent gifts from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Foundation supporting family programming, and the UCLA Dream Fund supporting public programs, we can serve new and more communities in a truly robust way.”
The Hammer’s roster of more than 250 public programs each year—including readings, lectures, conversations between cultural figures, political forums, musical performances, and screenings—have been free for over a decade. The Museum’s shift to free admission builds on its current practice of offering free admission for several groups including students, children under 17, military personnel, and for all visitors every Thursday. In its role as a cultural center, the Hammer strives to be a vibrant intellectual forum for the exploration of art and ideas and believes offering free admission will play a crucial role in furthering this position.