Arts & Culture

Tacoma Art Museum expands free admission for youth

Tacoma Art Museum is making art more accessible to kids. And it’s making it cool.

It’s expanded free admission to virtually all Tacoma youth and added intensive art programs to its education arm.

Before Justyn Ogden, 14, set foot in TAM this summer, he’d never been inside an art museum. He ended up staying two weeks.

The Bethel High School freshman attended Art Camp at TAM, a collaboration with the Tacoma Urban League. He was one of 29 fourth to 12th graders who learned about and made art in the immersion program.

Ogden gave the camp perhaps the highest praise it can get from a teen.

“The program was cool,” he said. “Certain art can capture you.”

TAM educator Christina Westpheling said young people need spaces to tell their own stories, in their own words.

“This gave the youth a great opportunity to explore and celebrate their own identities as youth of color,” she said.

On Aug. 2, families and friends of the youth gathered at TAM to watch the videos the Art Camp kids created. Some incorporated music, others had dance. Some — by the younger boys — had a “Mission Impossible” theme of secret agents at work.

TAM has long had an open studio to create art, but opportunities don’t end there.

TAM Local Jr. is the museum’s quarterly community art show for kids, K-5th grade. Until Sept. 5, it has an open call for submissions for shows in 2019. TAM also offers several programs for teens.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

Get in free

Tacoma Art Museum still charges for admission, but there are more ways than ever to get in free.

Free admission on Saturdays is given to everyone 18 years old and younger.

High school students in the Tacoma Public Schools system can get in free at any time during regular hours.

Military members — active or veterans, and their families — get free admission.

TAM is free to everyone every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday; Free Thursdays 5 to 8 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Admission: $15 adults, $13 students and seniors (65+)