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10 free ways to enjoy the CMA this summer

From May 24 through September 1, South Carolinians can enjoy the Columbia Museum of Art’s 27 galleries and all the different ways to explore them — plus a range of exciting events — admission-free.

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Adult with small child on her lap, coloring with markers in a museum lobby

This is the kind of news we love to share: The CMA is offering free admission for SC residents all summer long, and we’re rounding up the top ten ways to enjoy it.

Photo by Victor Johnson / the Columbia Musuem of Art

In case you missed it, the Columbia Museum of Art recently announced free admission for SC residents — all summer long and for the next two summers — thanks to a generous grant from Art Bridges Foundation’s Access for All program.

The CMA also received a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation to offer a variety of programs and activities on Boyd Plaza throughout the year.

To help you plan your visit, here are the top 10 free things to do at the CMA this summer (in no particular order):

  1. (Un)Settled: The Landscape in American Art | Check out this featured summer exhibition presented in partnership with Art Bridges.
  2. Morning Blend: A Jazz, Soul, and Coffee Series | Sip, relax, and groove into your day, Wednesday mornings in June.
  3. Yoga on the Plaza | Morning and evening sessions are scheduled throughout the summer on Boyd Plaza.
  4. Daily activities | Think: scavenger hunts, art boards, kid-friendly totes, and more. The museum has also refreshed its all-ages interactive space, The Cross Hatch, with new art and hands-on activities.
  5. Tours | Go on a guided tour of the CMA Collection, exhibitions, and more. We’re marking our calendars (and brushing up on Duolingo) for the Bastille Day tour in French with Dr. Frank Martin.
  6. Plaza Pop-Ins | These family-friendly daytime programs will be offered in July and August, featuring story time, tours of (Un)Settled, scavenger hunts, art projects, opportunities to build with the big blue blocks, and more.
    • Party in the U.S.A. | Tuesdays, July 9 and 22 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    • Getting Crafty | Monday, August 5, and Thursday, August 22 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Children playing with big blue blocks outside on Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.

    Enjoy a playful, family-focused morning of art, movement, and stories during each Plaza Pop-In, made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation.

    Photo by Victor Johnson / the Columbia Museum of Art

  7. Read With Art: Silent Book Club at the CMA | Bring along your current book to read among art and new friends on June 27 + July 20.
  8. The CMA Collection | Tip: It’s constantly changing, so there’s always something new to see.

    And keep an eye on the CMA’s website and socials for more details on these upcoming offerings:

  9. Plein Air on Boyd Plaza | Starting in July, morning painting and drawing sessions led by About Face Drawing Group will be held al fresco on Boyd Plaza.
  10. Art in Focus | Love a deep dive into a piece of art? This series of spotlight talks explores themes found in an individual artwork on view, led by fine arts experts like Dr. Anna Swartwood House.

Plan your free visit this summer

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