Libraries are wonderful places, and one of Tacoma’s best-kept arts secrets is hidden inside your local library – the Art Access Pass. Never heard of it? You’re not alone; most people I’ve mentioned it to haven’t either. It’s a pass that’ll get you free into the Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum or Tacoma Art Place, along with three other people, anytime you like. All you need is a library card (apply for these at any branch of Tacoma, Puyallup, Pierce County, Roy City or Joint Base Lewis McChord libraries).
The pass is on a card inside a DVD case in the non-fiction DVD collection. It’s pretty popular, judging from the current listings on the library’s website, and you can’t place a hold. But when you find it, you borrow it just as you would any other DVD, and voilà – free museum art.
In fact, it’s often better than the other free museum days (ArtWalk third Thursdays, free community days) because the place is much less crowded. What’s up at Tacoma Art Museum right now? In ascending order up the curvy gallery ramp, the exhibits are TAM’s collection of over 30 Dale Chihuly glass sculptures, the serenely beautiful “Edo to Tacoma” Japanese woodblock prints (closes Feb. 13), Impressionist works from the TAM collection (closes Feb. 6) and “Mighty Tacoma,” a photographic portrait of our city through the eyes of local, regional and national artists – it’ll open your eyes to how you see our city. Coming up is the touring blockbuster of Norman Rockwell paintings, which I’ll be writing about on Sunday Feb. 20.
There’s a slew of lectures and docent tours (visit the website) and don’t forget TAM’s awesome art studio, one of the best in town for making two- and occasionally three-dimensional art based on current exhibits. You can also make art for free with the Pass at the community-based Tacoma Art Place studio.
More information about the library art pass, along with locations and hours, is online at www.piercecountylibrary.org, www.tacomapubliclibrary.org, www.puyalluplibrary.org, roylibrary.home.comcast.net, and www.jblmmwr.com/libraries.html. Tacoma Art Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. third Thursdays at 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4258, www.tacomaartmuseum.org. Tacoma Art Place is open 1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 1-5:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday at 1116 S. 11th St., Tacoma. 253-238-1006, www.tacomaartplace.org