Asian Art Museum partners up with Target to offer no-cost admission on Sundays

Officials at the Asian Art Museum are happily bracing themselves for big crowds Sunday, when the institution kicks off its Target First Free Sunday program.

From 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the museum will open its doors for free to host a day packed with dance and musical performances — many by children — along with workshops, artist demonstrations, hands-on activities and author readings.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the museum full of people,” says Deborah Clearwaters, the museum’s director of education and programming. “It’s an educator’s dream.”

The program, which offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month, replaces free admission days on first Tuesdays, which expired in April. With the new plan, the museum hopes to reach working families and individuals who cannot take advantage of free entry on weekdays.

Clearwaters says the idea to switch the free entry day came from Target, which has “significantly” increased the dollar amount of its sponsorship to accommodate the change.

“It’s a huge financial gamble for the institution,” says Clearwaters, “but we crunched the numbers, and we’re ready to do it because part of our mission is to be more accessible.”

Laysha Ward, vice president of community relations for Target, says, “We are proud to join the Asian Art Museum for Target First Free Sundays as a way to make the arts accessible to youth and families in the Bay Area and showcase the rich and diverse heritage of the world’s largest and most populated continent.”

Sunday’s lineup features guests who have appeared at the museum since the grand opening at its Civic Center location five years ago as well as comments from the museum’s new, recently appointed director Jay Xu.

Among the scheduled artists are Gen Taiko, Cambodian Dance from Indochinese Housing Development Corporation, Touch of Polynesia Dance Group, Wendy Tokuda reading from her book “Humphrey the Lost Whale,” Red Panda Chinese Acrobats and June Kuramoto and James Cornwell leading an interactive koto demonstration and workshop.

IF YOU GO

Target Free First Sunday

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco

When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: Admission is free

Contact: (415) 581-3500 or www.asianart.org

A few highlights:

Front steps performance — Touch of Polynesia Dance Group, 12:30 p.m.

Samsung Stage — Wendy Tokuda at 10:15 a.m.

North Court activities — Painting and embroidery demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Docent family tours — Meet at the information desk at 10:15 a.m.

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