Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Birmingham Museum of Art showcases local, international art


Students don’t have to study abroad to experience some of the world’s artistic wonders. An escape to far-off lands and diverse cultures is only a short drive away. The Birmingham Museum of Art offers over 27,000 pieces from all over the world as well as art from right here in Alabama.

The Birmingham Museum of Art, or BMA, is located a mere 45 minutes away and is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon – 5 p.m. General museum admission is free for all ages.

“I think in terms of the quality of art that the museum in Birmingham has, as well as the way that they’ve set it up, it’s very interactive and it’s very easy to understand,” said Nina Witman, a senior double majoring in communication studies and political science who interns at the museum. “It’s not something that just forces stuff in your face and you’re like, ‘Oh I don’t know what’s going on.’ So, someone who has a lot of art knowledge would be able to understand and thrive there, and someone who has absolutely no experience with art will be able to do the same.”

BMA is not a museum that holds only one type of art; rather, both its rotating and fixed galleries hold a variety of media and genres. Italian renaissance paintings, Native American art, an intricate Porcelain tea set, Vietnamese vases, African art pieces and a Japanese art exhibit complete with suits of samurai armor are available for viewing, among other things.

In addition to art from all corners of the world, BMA houses the work of Birmingham artists and of artists specifically from the state of Alabama.

“A thing that I think is cool about BMA is it’s not just a modern art museum or it’s not just a classic American art museum or a European art museum — it has a little bit of everything,” Witman said.

Matthew Kizla, a sophomore double majoring in biochemistry and microbiology, is the son of an artist and art teacher. Whenever he and his family visit new cities, they make it a point to visit local art museums, so he has seen his fair share of galleries and exhibits.

“There is stuff there that I really haven’t seen anywhere else, which is amazing because I’ve been to museums all over, and it does make you value what we have here a little more,” Kizla said. “When we think of artistry, we often think of the center of something, like Paris, Milan and London — that kind of thing. And it really is good to support what you have at home.”

The museum is making attempts to draw a younger crowd through its doors.

“I think a lot of people get turned off by art because they think it’s like an old people, snooty type of thing, but it really doesn’t have to be,” Witman said. “I think the museum is a great spot for anyone to go and hang out.”

To that end, BMA is hosting a series this summer called Art on the Rocks where visitors can wander the museum with friends while enjoying cocktails, food and live music. Tickets are $25 for non-members, and the events will take place on three Fridays spread throughout the summer months.

John Martin Weed, a freshman majoring in political science and economics, encourages his peers to experience BMA for themselves.

“It’s not just paintings on the wall,” Weed said. “It’s paintings on a wall, grouped with themes, with descriptions of the painting, and the history behind the paintings. That teaches you lessons about humanity and broader concepts than just like ‘Oh this is a pretty picture,’ which you can’t really do from a Google image search.”

Weed marvels at the accessibility of the art on display at the museum. 

“The way that all of these cultures are represented in one building and the fact that you don’t have to pay to see all of them — I mean there’s a donation box that should be utilized, but the fact that that’s a resource that is available is really incredible,” Weed said.

The general consensus among those who have already visited the museum is that BMA is something UA students should try to experience during their 4 years here.

“I think I’m a little bit sappy because I only have less than 30 days until I graduate, but just having something that like that that’s so close and has really world-renowned art and celebrates world-renowned artists as well is pretty neat,” Witman said. “And I would hope that students would be able to go and check that out at least once.”

The Birmingham Museum of Art is located at 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd. in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. 

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