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Exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Following $10 Million Gift, Admission to LA MoCA Will Soon Be Free

Carolyn Clark Powers, the board president of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (LA MoCA), announced that she will gift $10 million to fund free general admission to the museum. The pledge was made during LA MoCA’s inaugural annual benefit, which took place at Geffen Contemporary on Saturday, May 18 and was received by a standing ovation from the seven hundred guests who attended the event. 

“Carolyn’s gift is an inspiration to us all,” said LA MoCA board of trustees chair Maria Seferian. “We have aspired to be able to provide free general admission for some time, and it is only with this incredible gift that we can now make it a reality.”

A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Powers was elected board president in 2018, after serving as a trustee since 2009. Commenting on her decision to support free admission, she said: “I am committed to the museum’s continued success and leadership, and to MoCA being at the forefront of diversity, inclusiveness, and openness of spirit. Art has the unique ability to bridge cultural and socio-economic divides. Charging admission is counterintuitive to art’s ability and purpose to connect, inspire, and heal people.”

The gift comes seven months into Klaus Biesenbach’s tenure as director and as the museum celebrates its fortieth anniversary. Biesenbach has maintained that he will focus on making the museum a more accessible space for the public. Last month, he revealed that LA MoCA would no longer host its annual gala. Instead, it would hold a benefit intended to bring a “mission-driven sense of philanthropic service” back to the institution. LA MoCA trustee Marina Kellen French underwrote the evening, allowing the museum to invite three hundred artists.

Biesenbach called the donation a “gesture of deep generosity and a terrific example of philanthropy aligned with the museum that will literally resonate in millions of people’s lives.” LA MoCA is working on a plan to roll out the new free admission policy as soon as possible. Tickets to the museum currently cost $15 for adults, $8 for students, and $10 for seniors.