Free Entry to SFMOMA, MoAD and Other Museums on Third Thursday

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Museum of the African Diaspora has laid off seven employees and reduced the hours of its remaining 11 employees. (Courtesy Museum of the African Diaspora)

Penny-pinchers unite! On Thursday, Feb. 20, the museums of the Yerba Buena neighborhood are opening their doors free of charge. The list of participating institutions in this year’s first Culture for Community Free Day includes the California Historical Society, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspora, SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

What to See

There’s a lot to see at all of the above, especially if you try to hit up each and every venue, so I have a few recommendations. Don’t miss An American Project, Dawoud Bey’s retrospective at SFMOMA. There you’ll see four decades of his beautiful photographs of Harlem residents, high school students, and most recently, sites that evoke the route of the Underground Railroad.

At the CJM, there’s a whole show about Levi Strauss, the man who invented the blue jean and established San Francisco as the center of a denim empire. A bit further afield, but worth the trek to Market and 6th, SF Camerawork hosts a solo by local artist Jamil Hellu, whose collaborative photographic work (and narrative titles) you might recognize from the most recent Bay Area Now.

And last but not least, don’t sleep on Kwame Brathwaite’s Black is Beautiful, a MoAD show filled with beautifully saturated photographs that embody that titular rally cry—and open new avenues for reflecting on the complicated legacy of Brathwaite’s imagery.

Here’s the full day’s schedule, for your viewing and visiting pleasure:

Read more about the event here.