The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Don’t Pass Up On the Culture Pass

Use your public library card to gain free entry to numerous cultural institutions across the five boroughs
For college students from out of the state, Culture Pass is a convenient way to get out and explore New York City.

New York City has 145 museums, 182 movie theaters, 116 National Historic Landmarks and over 120 live music venues. New events are happening every weekend, and many of them are costly. The options are overwhelming and it can feel impossible to discover all the city has to offer while studying for classes and staying on budget — unless you utilize Culture Pass. 

The Culture Pass program partners with over 90 institutions in each of the five boroughs to offer free tickets to various iconic sites across New York City. To reserve a ticket to your next cultural excursion, all you need is a library card with the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Public Library or the New York Public Library. 

To qualify for a library card with the public library system, you need to be a resident of New York City or a student enrolled at a school or collegiate institution in any of the five boroughs. From there, you can login to the Culture Pass website with the information on your library card. Every Culture Pass ticket counts for one person and their guest — New York City resident or not. 

The program has introduced me to new museums I didn’t previously know about. It has allowed me to go to places I’ve always wanted to visit but never had enough money to spare to buy a ticket for. In the last few weeks, I’ve reserved Culture Pass tickets to the Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s iconic Museum Mile and to the Rubin Museum on West 17th Street in Chelsea.

In the three years I’ve been in New York, this was my first time visiting the Guggenheim Museum.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The exhibit on display at the Guggenheim on an early Friday afternoon in February was “Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility.” Displaying partially concealed art pieces as a metaphor for “the edge of visibility”, the installation remains on display until April 7.

Visitors begin at the ground floor and work their way up the ramp, ultimately viewing the work of 28 artists spread across the six floors of the Guggenheim. While ascending the museum’s skylit rotunda, visitors are confronted with what “the edge of visibility” means in contemporary American society. Artists manipulate form, light, video and sound to encourage reflection on the intersection between visibility and race.

In the three years I’ve been in New York, this was my first time visiting the Guggenheim Museum. I had tried numerous other times to get tickets on the Culture Pass website — they only offer a limited number of tickets per month — but in February I checked early and was lucky. 

The Guggenheim’s architecture makes the building standout in Manhattan’s landscape and has become a symbol for the city itself. The prominent structure was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright to imitate an inverted ziggurat, which is a Babylonian stepped temple design built for religious purposes in Mesopotamian societies.

Ascending the rotunda of the Guggenheim was a museum experience for me like no other. Every artist’s work flowed from one to the next with a degree of ease and intentionality that was possible only because of the museum’s unique structure. This ascension can be likened to a religious experience through the physical trek required of visitors going up the six levels in conjunction with the deep contemplative thought the museum evokes in its visitors through the work of its exhibiting artists. 

I came to the Guggenheim to see the museum’s permanent collection which includes works by Pisarro, Kandinsky, Pollock and more. Ultimately, though, I walked away more struck by the way the design of the Guggenheim itself worked in conjunction with the exhibit on display, which created a powerful impression on visitors.

Financial barriers should not hold you back from exploring the city where you’ve come to learn.

The Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum — which will unfortunately be closing its location on Oct. 6 due to lack of funding — displays art of the Himalayan region through interactive and engaging formats. On the second floor of the museum, a traditional layout guides visitors through the museum’s exhibits. 

Visitors on the third floor will find the Mandala lab, an interactive exhibit where visitors explore the association they have between smell and emotion. According to the Rubin Museum’s website, the Mandala lab invites visitors to “consider how complex feelings show up in your everyday life and imagine how you might have the power to transform them.” 

One activity in the exhibit invites visitors to sit at a table where a scent emits from the small device in front of them. They are instructed to think about how that smell makes them feel, and at the end of the simulation, they see the breakdown of how other visitors felt when exposed to it. At the end of the activity, visitors are invited to write down how their favorite scent made them feel in a guest book — flipping through, you can read about visitors of all ages’ experiences. 

The interactive aspect of the Rubin leaves a powerful impression on museumgoers. I had never heard of the Rubin before getting a ticket through Culture Pass — I randomly picked the museum based on its short description displayed on Culture Pass’ website, which describes how the museum makes connections between modern life and the art of the Himalayas. Now, I definitely plan on returning to the museum prior to its closure. 

The museum’s closure of its physical location doesn’t mean it will cease to exist, the museum will now focus on “traveling exhibitions and long term loans.” However, its contributions to the art scene of New York will always be appreciated and remembered.

Seeing how other New Yorkers and tourists responded to the different emotions created community among those who previously visited the museum. The Rubin taught me about Himalayan art and how to regulate my emotions through the lens of the Mandala lab’s Buddhist teachings. The experiential learning aspect has caused my visit to remain paramount in my mind. 

These are just two of the museums I’ve been able to visit with Culture Pass. Some of the other sites include AKC Museum of the Dog, Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Chinese in America, The Frick Collection and so much more. 

Financial barriers should not hold you back from exploring the city where you’ve come to learn. So next weekend when you’re wondering what to do, grab a friend, get a Culture Pass and learn something new. New tickets on Culture Pass come out at midnight on the first of every month with tickets for the following month.

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About the Contributor
TARA LENTELL, Former Creative Director
Tara Lentell (she/her), FCLC ’25, is the former creative director for The Observer. She is originally from Kansas City and is majoring in international political economy on the pre-law track. When not making graphics or working on The Observer, she can be found watching television, reading a book or exploring a new museum in New York City.

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