Announced at a gala celebrating the museum's fortieth anniversary, the gift will underwrite the costs of a free admission policy for the next five years. For the museum's 2018 fiscal year, revenue from general admission fees for adults, which range between $8 and $15, totaled $1.3 million, less than 7 percent of the museum's annual budget. A museum representative told the L.A. Times that MOCA has "every intention that this is a permanent change," and the gift from Powers buys it time to develop new revenue streams or raise funds that enable it to make the policy permanent.
"This is a game changer, one of the greatest gifts our museum has had in a while," said board chair Maria Seferian. "We've thought for a long time how we could go free and make the museum more inclusive, and now we have the opportunity to."
MOCA director Klaus Biesenbach said that removing financial barriers and making the museum more accessible was part of his "civic-minded" vision for the museum. While serving as MoMA PS1's director and chief curator at large, Biesenbach instituted free admission for New Yorkers. "We are not aiming at having more visitors or larger attendance, but we're aiming at being more accessible, at having open doors," he told the L.A. Times. "As a civic institution, we should be like a library, where you can just walk in."