If there's ever a good time to use a credit card, it's during the Museums on Us promotion. That's when you can flash your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch debit or credit card on the first Saturday or Sunday of the month and get free admission to several museums around Miami. You can make it a full cultural weekend and visit a couple of them each day and get the most bang for your buck.
Here's a list of the ones that honor the promo and what you can see
Coral Gables Museum. Ongoing exhibits "Coral Gables Sister Cities: Partners in Peace" and Creating the Dream: George Merrick and his Vision for Coral Gables" provide a comprehensive overview of the City Beautiful. Visitors can also spend some time admiring a couple of other temporary exhibitions. The works of artist Judith Berk King make up the show "The Caribbee Club: Future Tense," which features her zoological and botanical structures made to form hybrid creatures created from different mediums. Also on view, and closing in mid-February is the long-running exhibit "Sacred Ground: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery" which features a photographic essay and documentary video by Miami Herald photographer Carl Juste and C.W. Griffin on the project. 285 Aragon Ave.; 305-603-8067; coralgablesmuseum.org.
History Miami Museum. Learning about South Florida history is always a treat when visiting this Downtown Miami gem that features a lovely outdoor courtyard and is comprised of two separate buildings. The museum houses an impressive permanent collection of museum artifacts including aviation, archaeological, pre-Colombian, architectural records, manuscripts, maritime, technology, and furnishings. These items can be viewed in "Tropical Dreams: A People's History of South Florida," in the Folklife and Whitman Family Galleries and in the "History and Ourselves" interactive exhibition. "A Peculiar Paradise: Florida Photographs by Nathan Benn," which showcases the oftentimes bizarre happenings that occurred in Miami in the early 1980s from narcotics-related crimes to the influx of refugees from the Caribbean, is also on view, but not part of the Museums on Us promotion. 101 W.Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org.
Miami Children's Museum. MiChiMu is a fun place to bring the kids, not only because of all the interactive play but the view, oh the view. They'll love looking at the cruise ships at Port Miami. Inside, there's so much to do, from visiting the bank and sliding down the Castle of Dreams to playing around in the Music Maker Studio, learning about art, and climbing the Mt.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Visit the City of North Miami's Downtown gem, MOCA, and explore their current exhibit "AfriCOBRA: Messages to the People" which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, an artist collective made up of 10 artists, including five founding members and five early artists who defined the Black Arts Movement and complemented the Black Power Movement. Featured in the exhibit are mixed media works, installations, archival documents and photographs as well as oral histories presented to encourage unity through community. The pieces are colorful, large-scale and provocative with a powerful message. 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org.
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Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Plan to spend a whole afternoon visiting the granddaddy of Miami's cultural scene along Miami's bayfront — there's that much to see. Visitors can leisurely stroll along under the massive outdoor hanging plants, sway on swings in the open-air patio that overlooks the water and the cruise ships at Port Miami, and meander through the bright and airy gift shop. And oh yeah, there's also the art. Don't miss the epic Robert Rauschenberg work on the second floor, which you'll stroll by on your way to one of a number of exhibits. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, 1980-83 A Documentary Exhibition" takes a look back at one of Miami's most epic art moments that put Miami on the world's radar. Guests can also witness exhibits of work by artists Ebony G. Patterson, Lynne Golob Gelfman, Liliana Porter and Arthur Jafa. 1103 Biscayne Blvd., 305-375-3000; pamm.org.
The Bass. Four temporary exhibits and three installations are on view at The Bass this weekend, as well as the exhibit "Call & Response: Recent Acquisitions from The Collection." The temporary shows include "Ferngully," with whimsical pieces by brothers Nikolai and Simon Haas inspired by the popular feature film; "Paola Pivi: Art with a View," which includes her feather-covered polar bears, canvases of cascading pearls plus a video and mattress installation; and Aaron Curry's "Tune Yer Head" featuring the Texas-born, LA-based artists colorful pieces that incorporate painting, sculpture and collage; and "Performing the self and other selves" a selection of works on paper by Odalis Valdivieso, showcased in the nearby Walgreens Windows project space. 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-7530; thebass.org.
Museums on Us runs Friday, February 1, through Sunday, February 3, and during the first weekend of each month. Visit bankofamerica.com.