More museums per capita than any other

city in the nation. More legitimate stage productions than in any other American metropolitan region. More resident artists than any other city in the world. Does this sound like the same old La La land?.

Beyond fun-in-the-sun and the glamour of Hollywood, the big news about L.A. these days is the city's emergence as a world-class arts destination.

A haven of artistic energy, Los Angeles is garnering national attention for its cultural impact. "Los Angeles is the most promising new art market in the country," said Arnold Glemcher, president of the Pace Gallery in New York. "Los Angeles will be the undisputed cultural capital of the next millennium," said Robert Barrett, director of cultural tourism for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It's here that artists from every continent are combining their heritage, cutting-edge contemporary concepts and technology to create 21st century culture."

To get a feel for this new arts capital, visitors have the opportunity to experience L.A.'s many unique cultural attractions. More than 2,000 museums, theaters, musical groups and galleries are spread throughout the region.

Foremost among these attractions are the city's many museums, which have spent more than $1.6 billion on construction in the last 10 years_a figure unparalleled in the world_with still more new facilities on the way.

Prized collections, with works by great masters, highlight the city's art scene. More than 60 area museums house works both classical and contemporary, while L.A.'s galleries are elevating the local art scene to one of the most significant in the world. Some of the world's most famous art, like Van Gogh's "Irises" and Gainsborough's "Blue Boy," hangs around town, while more unusual collections (miniatures, movie make-up, cowboy memorabilia) draw crowds of their own.

Topping the list is the J. Paul Getty Museum, which boasts both "Irises" and the world's largest endowment ($4 billion) and will soon be expanding to a new $733 million hilltop location near Brentwood. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the city's largest art showplace and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has two locations showing an impressive collection of modern art.

Visitors will find many of Los Angeles' museums conveniently clustered. Wilshire Boulevard's Museum Row is home to LACMA, as well as a collection of specialty museums: the Petersen Automotive Museum chronicles L.A.'s love affair with the automobile, the Craft and Folk Art Museum shows textiles, pottery and jewelry from around the world, and the George C. Page Museum displays the fossils unearthed from the La Brea Tar Pits.

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