Updated at 2:33 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019. The San Antonio Museum of Art typically charges $12 for students with a valid ID if their school does not participate in the educational institutional membership.
Students, faculty and staff at Texas A&M University-San Antonio can experience art and culture for free at local museums.
The McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art and The Witte Museum offer free general admission to those with a valid school ID.
Liesl Hons, manager of first impressions for the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at A&M-San Antonio, said Dr. Edwin Blanton, executive director, asked her to look into the membership programs.
“We have an educational institutional membership, which is renewable every year,” Hons said.
According to Hons the Mays Center contacted all of the museums, inquired about their memberships and launched the program in January 2019.
Blanton said the university should encourage students, faculty and staff to know and appreciate the art, history and culture in San Antonio.
“Hopefully everyone is taking advantage of that free admission,” he said.
“It is an agreement that we renew annually,” he said. “If attendance is not there we might have to reconsider the partnership.”
Blanton said occasionally there are some special exhibits students cannot get into for free. There is an additional charge from $5-15, depending the museum.
He said “with general admission you can see the majority of the museum,” Blanton said.
A&M-San Antonio art lecturer Justin Korver said museums gift students with insight into unique aspects of human life.
“Museums are important because they act as historical repositories of all these different experiences, of all these different cultural lenses,” Korver said.
Art has the ability to mean different things to people depending on their own experiences.
“Art is like a mirror, right?” Korver said. “Almost like a funhouse mirror. The artist knows that they can distort the mirror in certain ways and that that distortion will affect the viewer. But always reflected in the artwork is the viewer.”
Korver said that without an audience, art would be meaningless. Those who view art play a role in deciding if it is important.
“It’s us who bring meaning to the artwork; we imbue it with meaning,” Korver said. “That’s our role in culture. To say what these things mean, and say if they continue to be relevant; we say if they continue to be beautiful or ugly or interesting or all the things that art can be.”
McNay Art Museum
Kate Carey, head of education at the McNay Art Museum, said it would regularly cost a person $20 per visit, if the university did not have its educational institution membership.
“It’s an investment on the part of the university and for you as students. I think the university wants Texas A&M students to have the richest possible San Antonio experience,” Carey said.
Carey said the museum showcases modern, contemporary art and identifies as the first modern art museum in Texas.
“It’s a picturesque place to take a study break,” Carey said. “It might be the type of place where you discover a painting on your first visit, and want to revisit it many more times.”
San Antonio Museum of Art
Museums offer students moments of peace in a busy world, said Tatiana Herrera-Schneider, director of marketing at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
“I think it’s a great place to go to escape, relax, learn something,” Herrera-Schneider said. “It connects you to San Antonio and to the world at large in a way that other activities can’t.”
To cater to a diverse demographic, SAMA offers different types of informative tours.
“We try to offer a variety of ways to experience the museum,” Herrera-Schneider said. “We actually offer once-a-month tours for the visually impaired. It’s more physical. You’re touching and they bring in your other senses.”
The multisensory tours are free with admission, though participants do have to reserve their spot beforehand.
General admission at SAMA is normally $20 for adults and $12 for students with a valid ID if their school does not participate in the educational institutional membership, according to the museum website.
The Witte Museum
Katye Brought, director of communications and marketing at The Witte Museum, said the free admission includes more than just the museum. General admission is $14 for adults and $12 for students with a valid ID if their school does not participate in the educational institutional membership.
“They get access to our entire campus, which is along the San Antonio River and Brackenridge Park,” she said.
She said people who visit the museum can explore the Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery, the first permanent dinosaur gallery in its 90 year history.
“You can go and explore and learn about some of the dinosaurs that lived in what we now call Texas,” she said.
History senior Monique Ressel said she will use the free admission and that students should be exposed to culture and history.
“It will be really useful for students that want to gain access to that educational information and see the museum, especially if they don’t have the opportunity to do that since it is pretty expensive,” Ressel said.
Clarissa Tejeda, assistant director of Career Services at the Mays Center, said that people can get a new energy when visiting the museums.
“I think just the cultural experience being introduced to different ideas other than your own always makes you a wonderful person,” Tejeda said. “Just seeing the beauty of art is pretty phenomenal.”
Tejeda said it is great to see a full learning experience not just in the classroom.
“I thinks it’s a community need to have that opportunity for access,” Tejeda said.