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Getty Center

Visitors enjoy the patio at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Bakersfield Museum of Art is taking its monthly First Wednesday events on the road in more ways than one. The program is offering a bus trip to the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday. And starting in January, it hopes to take some BMOA programs to members of our community who aren't able to come to the museum in downtown Bakersfield.

"Artists and presenters will travel to off-site locations under the same format as the on-site program," said Liz Sherwyn, BMOA education coordinator. "We're very excited about the possibility of reaching further into the community."

Typically, the First Wednesday programs are informal affairs with an average attendance of about 50, Sherwyn said. Participants get to take an active part in lectures, performances and displays presented by different artists in varied fields.

"We have had musicians, visual artists, wine connoisseurs, performers, woodworkers, gardeners and authors speak to this audience," she said. "And each program has finished with great applause and many positive comments."

Take it from me, she's not exaggerating. I've been to many of these programs over the past six or seven years and I can attest to both the quality of the presenters and the enthusiastic involvement of the audiences.

BMOA curator Vikki Cruz will accompany the Getty bus trip. Before departing, travelers will meet at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday for a light breakfast at the museum. Expected return time is 5 p.m. Cruz has arranged to have a docent guide the group through the Getty architecture and gardens. The tour is about one hour long so participants will have plenty of time to explore the interior of the museum.

"We are fortunate enough to live in a city like Bakersfield, where larger museums are only a short two-hour drive away," she said. "However, convenience to travel to these destinations is not always accessible for some. We thought the arrangement of a bus would alleviate some of the challenges of driving to and from LA and encourage community members to experience another type of museum setting with their peers."

The Getty has a number of different collections, including European drawings, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts. Plus, and this one is a favorite of mine, American and European photographs from the 19th century to the present.

Lunch is "on your own" and at the Getty I've always found that to be a pleasant experience. You can dine inside -- behind glass where you can still enjoy the view -- or outdoors on one of its landscaped terraces.

Admission to the Getty Center is free. Cost for the bus trip is $25 for BMOA members, $35 for others.