Museums Without Walls: Public Art to See for Free

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The Bay Area is home to some world-class art, some of it housed in big name institutions. But you don’t necessarily have to fork out any entrance fees to get your culture fix with the kids. Over the years millions of dollars have been spent on public art, executed by both international artists and critically acclaimed home grown talent. Think Richard Serra, Diego Rivera and Leo Villareal to name a few. It’s kid-friendly, free and just waiting to be discovered. Click through for the best of the Bay Area’s public art for pint-sized patrons.

Three Gems, San Francisco

Once the kids have circled James Turrell’s dugout ’Skyspace’ a few times, encourage them to take a seat and look upwards. They won’t miss the hole in the roof but it’s harder to spot the shifting colors of LED lights aimed at altering our perception. Turrell’s work is all about using light as his paintbrush to change what we see. He’s made several skyspaces and this one, called Three Gems, was the first shaped like a stupa. Entrance to the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden at the de Young is free and there are a dozen other sculptures by world-renowned artists but if the ‘Do Not Touch’ signs prove too much for small fingers, head off to the museum’s entrance. The kids will delight in following the trail of a manmade crack running through several large stones to the front door. This is the work of Andy Goldsworthy whose site-specific art in San Francisco is robust enough for the interactions of kids big and small. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, Ca Hours: Tues - Sun 9.30 a.m - 5.15 p.m. Online: deyoung.famsf.org Photo credit: Emily Myersfuck

What is your favorite piece of public art? Let us know in the comments below.

–Erin Feher, Emily Myers and Garrick Ramirez