Students want cheaper museum fees for more access

Lower admission prices would encourage more students to explore art and history


By Gina Rogers

A new course, introduction to museum and curatorial studies, is coming to Langara College in the spring of 2020 on how museums are “complex social and cultural institutions,” with students exploring the history and theory of curating art.

Vancouver Art Gallery, unlike many art galleries in Vancouver, operates by donation every Tuesday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Art Gallery of Ontario made admission free for anybody under 25-years-old earlier this year.

Students in a visual arts program get a $5 annual membership to the VAG, compared to the standard $48 per year membership price. The drop-in student rate is $18 per ticket. The Museum of Anthropology offers a group rate for reduced admission.

The National Gallery in London, United Kingdom, is free at all times. The Musée du Louvre in Paris is free to all visitors who meet certain criteria, including being under the age of 18, in possession of certain passes, persons with disabilities.

Lynn Ruscheinsky has been curating art for 35 years and will be teaching the new course at Langara.

Free art is likely not an option

Ruscheinsky thinks of the entrance fees like the other costs of schooling. She said that making art free to view for all is “just not realistic”.

“The government has cut back funding in the arts so much,” Ruscheinsky said.

“Who’s going to support the arts if we don’t encourage young people to get involved,” she added.

Ruscheinsky said that countries with free art have patronage, where “wealthy people donate the works and donate the money in perpetuity to maintain those works.” With costly upkeep covered, this art will be accessible to a wide audience.

Local artist, Ian Horsfield, said he would support free viewing of his art if someone were to buy it and then show it for free.

Langara computer science student, Wayne Navarrette, said that if the gallery were near campus, and free, he might consider it for date night.

Navarrette enjoyed walking around the Imaginus poster fair on campus, saying that “people were drawn to it.”

Ruscheinsky’s students will visit the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, the VAG and a commercial gallery before they create their own exhibit.

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