91, 92, 93… No, I’m not counting early Renaissance paintings or even the number of lampposts that make Chris Burden’s Urban Light. I’m counting stairs; doing what I call my daily BCAM Climb. In an attempt to add some exercise to my day I’ve taken to walking up and down BCAM’s red staircase—”the spider,” as architect Renzo Piano calls it. Sometimes I’m surpassed by another stair runner. Only she is dressed in spandex, which reveals clearly that she is not escaping her LACMA cubicle like I am; she actually came to the museum to exercise.
At dawn Boot Camp uses the museum’s grounds as a gym, and SAG employees, on their lunch break, speed-walk through the campus. Even dogs come to LACMA to exercise as part of their daily routine—their leash holders cutting through the BP Grand Entrance. Is LACMA not just a purveyor of art and culture, but the newest mid-city gym? Maybe town square is a better description than gym because people are here for all kinds of reasons. You can hear bagpipes mid-day (the first time I heard the pipes I thought Molly Malone’s was promoting a lunch special, but actually this daily occurrence is a woman just practicing her passion), and on Sundays, on the periphery of families making art at family day, there is the singles’ group that meets for coffee and bagels on the plaza. If you make it to the top of BCAM, there are 100 steps, and an incredible view. From there you can see it all.
Karen Satzman, Manager of Art Classes and Family Programs