CONCOURSE VILLAGE — Beginning Thursday, The Bronx Museum of the Arts will waive admission fees for all visitors as part of a yearlong 40th anniversary push to draw more community members to its exhibits.
Along with offering free admission, the museum also will partner with more than 40 new Bronx schools to expose more students to its contemporary art collection, and will eventually add 40 new artworks.
"We felt very strongly that on our 40th anniversary, this is a great gift to the community," said Holly Block, the museum's executive director. "I've always had a dream for the museum to be free."
The museum can afford to drop its $5 adult and $3 student and senior admission charge for the next 15 months thanks to a $62,000 grant from the New York Community Trust, which will also enable the museum to run bus and subway ads promoting the deal.
Block said she hopes to find more funding later to allow the museum to stay free "for perpetuity," though she said that is "a big goal."
The free admission and the partnerships with more than 100 local public schools, along with already-free "First Fridays" and monthly storytelling events, all are components of a drive to attract more Bronxites to the museum, Block said.
"This whole initiative is about building audiences and increasing community engagement," she said, noting that about 75 percent of the museum’s visitors hail from the Bronx.
Last year, the museum counted 25,000 visitors, according to Block. This year, with its 40th anniversary programming, the museum hopes to increase that number by 50 percent, to 37,500 visitors.
An exhibit of more than 100 videos, drawings and other works by the psychedelic South American video artist Juan Downey — the major U.S. survey of his work — runs through May 20.
Beginning April 13, the day of the Yankees’ home opener, the museum will launch its "Baseball in the Bronx" exhibit, complete with free trolley rides to and from the nearby stadium.
The museum, at 1040 Grand Concourse near 165th Street, is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.