Press Office Expansion

Following Successful Completion of Challenge Grant, SFMOMA to Increase Access with Free Admission for Visitors 18 and Under When Museum Reopens in 2016

$5 Million Challenge Grant Met with Support to Reach $10 Million Goal

SFMOMA Will Also Offer Free Lifetime Membership for All Artists in Collection

Released: November 19, 2013 · Download (520 KB PDF)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today that when its expanded building opens to the public in 2016, admission will be free for visitors 18 and under. Designed to remove financial barriers to attendance for youth and families, the initiative deepens SFMOMA’s commitment to inspiring more young people through vibrant art experiences, and is intended to encourage repeat visits by local youth.

The museum also announced today that all artists with works in SFMOMA’s collection will now receive free lifetime membership benefits. From artists to teens, SFMOMA is ensuring access for more people to discover the new ideas and creativity that can be found through its doors.


Access Grant Makes Free Admission for Visitors 18 and Under Possible

Prior to temporarily closing its building for expansion in June 2013, the museum had been offering free admission for children ages 12 and under since 1995. Expanding that policy to now include visitors 18 and under is predicted to result in as many as 30,000 additional visitors annually between the ages of 13 and 18 to the new museum.

“San Francisco teens will benefit tremendously from the expanded opportunities now available at SFMOMA,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “This initiative builds on the museum’s already strong contribution to arts education programs in city schools. We are grateful to all who have made this increased access possible.”

Spurred by a $5 million dollar challenge grant gifted by donors Arthur Rock and Toni Rembe Rock, which was announced at SFMOMA’s groundbreaking event in May 2013, the museum has succeeded in raising the total $10 million endowment required to ensure free admission to the museum for young visitors. The additional $5 million was donated by Maryellie and Rupert Johnson, Harriet Heyman and Sir Michael Moritz, Lisa and John Pritzker, Irwin and Concepción Federman, and Patricia W. Fitzpatrick.  

“It’s an honor to be able to further the Bay Area community’s ability to experience all that SFMOMA has to offer,” said challenge grant donor Arthur Rock. “The museum is an indispensable educational resource and an aid to personal development that must be provided to our children barrier-free.”

The fulfillment of this challenge grant is a central component of SFMOMA’s investment in art education and increased access. This initiative is part of SFMOMA’s $610 million capital campaign, which will also enable the museum to expand its public art commissioning program, become a national leader in digital engagement, increase its endowment, and develop more robust art and educational programming. With this new development, the total campaign amount raised to date is $554 million, or 91% of the total goal.  


Free Membership for All Artists in the Collection

Coinciding with the announcement of free admission for visitors ages 18 and under, SFMOMA announced plans to roll out free lifetime memberships to all artists currently included in the museum’s collection, as well as those added moving forward. There are currently approximately 3,000 living artists in SFMOMA’s collection, with an average of 120 artists added annually. Artists in the collection already receive free admission to the museum; this initiative will now extend to them the full range of membership benefits.

“We’re thrilled to offer this special invitation to the artists who make SFMOMA possible,” said museum director Neal Benezra. “Their work helps bring cultures together, and contributes to the vitality and advancement of our communities. The ability to better support both our artist and youth audiences is a significant achievement, and we look forward to continuing to improve our value to society.”


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Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a major expansion project to open in 2016 that will significantly enhance gallery, education, and public spaces, enabling the museum to better showcase more of its expanded permanent collection. While the museum is temporarily closed for construction, from June 3, 2013 to early 2016, SFMOMA will be on the go with an extensive array of off-site programming across the Bay Area, including collaborative and traveling museum exhibitions, major outdoor projects and commissioned installations, and new education initiatives.

Visit our website at www.sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

SFMOMA is supported by a broad array of contributors committed to helping advance its mission. Major annual support is provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.  Major support for school, youth, and family programs is provided by the Wells Fargo Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and Target. Education, conservation, and interactive technology programs are generously supported by the Leanne B. Roberts Fund for Education and The Getty Foundation. 


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Jill Lynch 415.357.4172
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
Press Office