LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Museum of Latin American Art

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 29. Museum of Latin American Art

This week we visit the Museum of Latin American Art located in Long Beach. California.  Housed in a contemporary structure designed by Mexican architect Manuel Rosen, the museum is home to four galleries, a contemporary “project space” and an outdoor sculpture garden. Founded in 1996 by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, MOLAA is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art.  The mission of the museum is to expand knowledge and appreciation of modern Latin American and Latino art through its collections, ground-breaking exhibitions, stimulating educational programs, engaging cultural events, and to promote a cross-cultural dialogue.

MOLAA has a permanent collection numbering over 1,500 works of paintings, sculpture, drawing, mixed media, photography and video art.   We enjoyed the Sculpture Garden which in keeping with the Latin design tradition, features a water element - two low profile bubbling water fountains, the largest being located in the center of the garden.  There is large mural out front, along with a sculpture to the left of the entry way, and a waterfall sculpture facing the street. The exhibitions change frequently and everyone working at the museum was friendly and helpful, some proactively offering us information.

 Free admission on Sunday and plenty of free parking on an adjacent parking lot.




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.