Free Museums: No-Cost Exhibits in Miami and Fort Lauderdale This Month

New Year, new you, right? At least that's the baffling idea on everyone's mind come every New Year. The motive to change oneself at the start of a new year is usually moral laziness disguised in an excuse to change all the character imperfections both inside and out.

But we're not here to judge. We here at Cultist are all about encouragement, and we can't think of a better way to be a better you than by relishing all our cultural hub of a city has to offer -- especially if you're getting a bargain while doing it.

This Saturday and Sunday, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's Museums on Us promotion allows cardholders to score free admission to 18 participating Florida museums, eight of which are peppered throughout South Florida. Here are the museums with new exhibitions and goings-on to help you start the year off on the right cultural foot.

Miami Art Museum

One of the three final exhibitions before MAM makes the move to its new digs this fall is "New Work Miami 2013." The exhibition was introduced during Miami Art Week and is on view through May 12. "New Work" celebrates our local artists and the creative energy that makes Miami go round with newly commissioned work by a dozen Miami-based artists, highlighting the diverse and innovative artistic practices of Miami's artists. From site-specific installations to sculpture to painting and photography, it's one of the most well-rounded art exhibits in Miami. Among the featured artists are Gideon Barnett, Bhakti Baxter, Sinisa Kukec, Odalis Valdivieso, George Sánchez-Calderón, and Tom Scicluna.

The Bargain: You won't have to pay the $8 admission price.

101 West Flagler St., Miami, 305-375-3000,

Miami Children's Museum

Few things in the world are as entertaining as kids doing the Dougie. January is Fitness Month at MCM and just in time for the last weekend of winter break, they're hosting "Hip Hop by Panache." This Sunday, January 6, kiddos can learn some fly moves with step-by-step help from instructors from Panache Dance School. Now that your kids have to keep up with with Blue Ivy and Kimye's soon-to-be mini-moguls, this may be a wise plan for this weekend.

This weekend is also your last chance to see The Wizard of Oz exhibition before it continues its tour around the country.

The Bargain: Regular admission costs $15, or $12 if you can prove you're a Florida resident. Imagine all the money that can be banked if you bring a whole family of Bank of America cardholders this weekend.

980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, 305-373-5437,

Museum of Contemporary Art

In continuation from Miami Art Week is "Bill Viola: Liber Insularum." On through March 3, the exhibition, which is presented as part of MOCA's Knight Exhibition Series was first shown last year at Sala de Arte Contemporaneo del Gobierno de Canarias in Spain. Now in Miami, Bill Viola's exhibition at MOCA is inspired by the 15th century text of The Book of the Islands of the Archipelago, by the Florentine ecclesiastic Cristoforo Buondelmonti. Viola uses the works in The Book of Islands as a historic reference point to engage with distinctly modern themes of spiritual isolation in a 21st-century global landscape.

Viola is widely recognized as a pioneer and leading practitioner of video art. One of the standout pieces is "The Raft" (pictured above) -- a gigantic high-definition video projection in extreme slow motion of 19 individuals as they are struck by an onslaught of water from a high-pressure hose. Sounds crazy? It is.

The Bargain: Saving $5 in admission ticket may not seem like much, but that's also $5 more in your pocket to spend on, say a coffee?

770 NE 125th St., 305-893-6211,

Museum of Discovery & Science

We've all wanted to be a paleontologist at one point in our childhood--we can thank Jurassic Park for that. Now that you've got kids of your own (or cousins or nieces or nephews) and you're not in fact a paleontologist, you can take a shot at motivating them to take interest in the career you failed to follow through in. This weekend (January 4-6) is Fossil Fun Weekend at MODS. The Young and curious (as well as the old and exceptionally curious) can dig in to an ancient world when behemoth mammals roamed Florida. Local fossil experts will even be on hand to show you what it takes to be a real life paleontologist.

The Bargain: You're saving $14 on regular admission, meaning you can finally justify spending the $18 to see The Hobbit at the IMAX theater.

401 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-467-6637,

Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale

It's true, Andy Warhol never learned to drive a car. Not only was the ability to drive superfluous for the New York City dweller, but he was too scared. However, that didn't stop him from taking a liking in all things automobile, nor did it prevent him from churning out paintings of autos with factory-assembly-line precision. Just when you thought you'd seen enough of Warhol at Art Basel, Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art comes up with yet another exhibition focused on one of Warhol's many interests.

On through February 10, "Warhol and Cars: American Icons" is retrospective on the pop art icon's fascination with the automobile as products of American Consumer Society. The exhibition is the first of its kind and features more than forty drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, and related archival material spanning the years 1946 to 1986, the exhibition traces the development of Warhol's work with cars throughout his career. The exhibition was organized by New Jersey's Montclair Art Museum and drawn extensively from the collections of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. It's a refreshing change from Coca-Cola and Campbell's Soup cans, that's for sure.

The Bargain: Regular admission costs $18, so that ought'a cover fuel cost to Fort Laud.

1 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-5500,

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Vanessa Martin