Students at the Pérez Art Museum Miami's (PAMM) press conference on the new PAMM Student Pass (all photos courtesy of the Pérez Art Museum Miami)

Students at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) press conference on the new PAMM Student Pass (all photos courtesy of the Pérez Art Museum Miami)

MIAMI — The Pérez Art Museum Miami wants to make it as easy as possible for local children to spend time surrounded by art. With the help of grant funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Schools Program, the museum has just launched the PAMM Student Pass. Effective immediately, this pass will allow Miami-Dade County Public School students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, and one accompanying adult (a parent or guardian, like another relative or babysitter), to visit the museum for free — anytime they feel like it.

The pass is only available for public and charter school students; private school students can continue taking advantage of free admission at the museum every first Thursday and second Saturday of the month (otherwise, student admission is $12). To enroll, students can find the PAMM Student Pass link at the log-in portal for all Dade County students, fill out a form, and bring it to the PAMM. They can also enroll using applications at the museum’s front desk.

The new Pérez Art Museum Miami student pass

“Education is at the core of what we do, and we try to make that a part of every single thing that we do,” PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans said. “We call ourselves a 21st century museum, because we believe that 21st century museums are dynamic spaces, and are here to be a part of conversations that are important to our community. It begins with our thought-provoking exhibitions and arts education programs.”

The passes expire August 31 of every year; students can re-enroll the next day, on September 1, so long as they are still attending a Miami-Dade County Public School. While the passes do not include museum membership benefits, they allow the students to explore the PAMM in its entirety. And though the pass is only for public school students in grades K-12, it grants children an opportunity that would otherwise be infrequent (field trips to the PAMM happen, of course, but now students can go any day).

Artist Adler Guerrier at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) press conference on the new PAMM Student Pass

The new policy is comparable to fees at other local art museums. At the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, all students pay $3, unless they’re under the age of 12, in which case their entry is free. Students, as well as children aged 6 to 18, pay $8 at the Wolfsonian—Florida International University (if they’re under 6, it’s free). Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 pay $5 at the Bass Museum of Art; children under 12 are free. And the PAMM Student Pass is a far cry from the admission fees at the museum’s neighbor, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, where kids between the ages of 3 and 11 pay a $20 entry fee; if they’re Miami-Dade County residents, a 15% discount renders the entry $17. (After their 12th birthday, they’ll pay either $29 or $24.65).

Access to contemporary art can be significant for a child, both in fostering their critical judgment and, perhaps, igniting their own creative inspiration. As PAMM Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said: “I believe strongly that early exposure to art not only opens a child’s heart and mind to creativity and ingenuity, but also sharpens critical thinking and other skills that help students learn … across the educational disciplines.”

Monica Uszerowicz is a writer and photographer in Miami, FL. She has contributed work to BOMB, Los Angeles Review of Books' Avidly channel, Hazlitt, VICE, and The Miami Rail.