This fine art museum is one of Atlanta's biggest cultural attractions. From Rembrandts to Picassos, High Museum of Art gets them all as they travel the world. There's a whole lot going on here and a wide range of periods covered. The museum exhibits are a little bit Met, a little bit MoMA, and a little bit Southern (it heavily promotes artists from the region and bears the distinction of being the only major North American museum with a department dedicated to folk and self-taught art). Past exhibits have ranged from "Picasso to Warhol" to "Civil Rights Photography, 1956-1968" to "The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army" to "Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting." The museum's permanent collection is also broad, including African, American, European, folk, and decorative art. The building itself is a masterpiece: Opened in 1983, the 135,000-sq.-ft., white enamel exterior structure designed by Richard Meier became the High's new home after the institution outgrew the High family home on Peachtree. In 2002, another three aluminum buildings designed by Renzo Piano were added (at a cost of $124 million), more than doubling the size of the museum.
Friday Nights at the High offer half-price admission after 4pm. On the third Friday of every month, there's live jazz from 5 to 10pm. Parking is available at all times in the garage across from the museum for a fee. The museum gift shop is well stocked with books and other art-related knickknacks, and there's a coffee cart, the High Café for light nibbles, and Table 1280 for heavier lunch or dinner fare. Tip: Download the museum's free app ArtClix, a photo recognition software that allows you to snap a photo of the artwork you're viewing, read or hear more about it right from your smartphone, participate in community forums, and share your museum experiences through social media networks. If you're a true art connoisseur, allow 2 to 3 hrs. for a visit to the High.
- Kristin L. Luna