Long Beach is blessed to have five art museums, each offering unique experiences and inhabiting some of the most beautiful spaces in the city: from the only museum dedicated to LatinX art in the U.S., to a historic home perched on an ocean bluff, each has their own distinct culture and vibe, some drawing energy from the city, others taking what nature gives in spectacular form. Allow us to paint you a picture . . .
Long Beach Museum of Art
The Long Beach Museum of Art’s (2300 E. Ocean Blvd.) permanent collection of more than 3,200 works of American and European art, encompassing all media, are featured in continuous rotating exhibitions in its main space, the Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house, a spectacular example of a California bungalow built in 1911. Visiting and special exhibitions are showcased in the adjacent Pavillion, much of that produced by some of the most provocative contemporary artists of today. LBMA sits on a bluff–bordering a scenic park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean with spectacular views of Long Beach Harbor, Catalina Island and the Queen Mary. You can check out the art, view the sculptures on the museum campus, or enjoy a bite to eat and/or drink alfresco at the oceanview restaurant, Claire’s at the Museum.
Museum of Latin American Art
The only museum in the country dedicated to exhibiting modern and contemporary Latin American and Latinx art, the space itself is a work of art, with its sprawling, outdoor sculpture garden, indoor vaulted ceilings and unique wood floors, all of it created from the shell of what was once a silent film studio. On top of that, the Museum of Latin American Art (628 Alamitos Ave.) presents art from 20 Latin American countries, including artists who, though well-known in their own regions, many times struggle to find recognition in the U.S. MoLAA is also a valuable community resource, featuring such popular events as the Afro-Latinx Festival, Art+Family Film Night and children’s workshops, among many others.
Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum
Located across from the Museum of Latin American Art – each was founded by the late Dr. Robert Gumbiner – the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (695 Alamitos Ave.) is the only museum in the contiguous United States to focus its energies on amplifying the collective wisdom of the Pacific Island peoples of Oceania. Through a unique and exciting permanent collection, as well as educational programs and rotating exhibits, the museum seeks to reveal the unique kinship that exists between ancestor pieces, people and their histories. In little more than 10 years, PIEAM has become a recognizable cultural beacon, featuring a massive mural depicting a traditional Micronesian scene with built in carvings, as well as an eye-catching peaked roof entrance welcoming visitors.
Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum
Sitting on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, the venue formerly known as the University Art Museum has significantly added to its exhibition space. The Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum added 4,000-square-feet, 3,000 of it in its Main Gallery, which now has moveable walls to facilitate multiple exhibitions. Two other smaller gallery spaces are also available and able to accommodate up to three exhibitions. At 11,000-square-feet, the redesigned museum is better able to serve visitors with more accessible and upgraded multi-use spaces, offering visitors the opportunity to experience contemporary art. Freshly landscaped sculpture gardens beautify a Public Art Park.
A collaborative effort between the Long Beach Museum of Art and community arts education organization, ARTX, LBMA Downtown (356 E. Third St.) was created to take advantage of the city’s established and growing artist community. It also serves to bring energy, art and art education to an underserved community. The four building campus has five individual working art studios allowing artists the space to create and, eventually, display and perhaps sell their work to the public. The gallery space has 35-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors and lots of white wall space for artists to display their pieces.