Looking for free fun on a budget?         

From the book Bitches on a Budget:

It’s almost the weekend and it’s time to visit the galleries.

No, you’re not buying, unless of course it’s your neighborhood artists’ association. One night a month most cities’ art galleries have openings—usually from five to eight p.m.—where they show fresh exhibits of the artists they represent. To lure you in they offer free wine and cheese. Most of the time the artist will be there to meet and greet their public. Sometimes, usually on a different night, the artist will give a lecture and open the floor to questions. If you see something you like, ask if there’s an upcoming talk; then go back to learn more.

Don’t feel bad about gobbling their cheese and chugging their jug wine. Galleries compute your consumption into the cost of doing business. (Besides, these guys are pimps, raking in 50 percent commission on each work they sell.) They like the buzz of big crowds, which creates energy and convinces insecure buyers with money that the artist is really popular, thus boosting sales. So do your part for art—drink up, sister.

Visiting galleries is an excellent way to train your eye and educate your art palate. Who knows, one day you may even be able to afford to buy pricey art again—when you do, you’ll have taught yourself about the market, watched what sells and what doesn’t, and developed a sophisticated eye.

If you find that looking at art gets you excited, spread your net wider. You may have to work harder to locate them, and travel farther afield, but find young artists in cheap gallery spaces, or haunt art-school shows and watch talent emerge.