The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a staple Philadelphia tourist attraction. Between the Rocky statue by the steps of the museum to the famous works inside the building itself, just about everyone who visits Philly has visited this historical site.
While a trip to the museum is always fun and interesting during the day, the scene changes completely every Friday night when live music fills the main hallway while a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres are served by staff. Access to main exhibits is also offered as a chance to experience the art with music echoing through the building.
Samantha Rise was the featured musician April 5 at the PMA. She performed songs from her new album “Brighter Days: Winter’s End” released March 20. The music was difficult to put into a category, but it is described as a mixture of mountain folk and neo-soul. Samantha Rise is a singer-songwriter who channels Joni Mitchell and Erykah Badu. The music set a mellow and inviting vibe, which allowed listeners to enjoy their food and drinks at small tables or, more commonly, the stairs in the main hallway. The band excelled during instrumental solos while Rise shined singing her newly released music.
A large portion of people gathered with drinks and sat on the steps watching the band play. The event drew a diverse crowd . People attending alone, as well as families, couples, from a wide range of ages gathered throughout the museum.
Pockets of more intimate space inside the exhibits also captured people’s interest as fewer people roamed through the gallery space. The only demographic that was notably absent from the event was small children, probably because of the late timing of the event itself. Otherwise all age groups appeared to have a presence throughout the night.
Permanent and visiting exhibits were available to walk through during the event. After guests ate, drank and relaxed in the main hallway, they could view old and new exhibits with a new lens. The less crowded galleries allowed guests to take their time to absorb different aspects of works they may have rushed past during a day trip.
Stand-out visiting exhibitions from the night included “Whitman Alabama,” curated by Amanda Bock that is at the PMA through June 9. The exhibit commemorates Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday with a film installation by Jennifer Crandell that brings the poem “Song of Myself” to life.
“We the People: American Prints from Between the World Wars,” curated by Jillian Kruse will be at the PMA through July 24, seemed to supplement “Whitman Alabama.” This might be due to its placement which presented itself in the hallway leading up to “Whitman Alabama” and because of its historical significance of prints which were made and sold during the Great Depression with the help of government relief programs that provided artists opportunities to make and sell their work inexpensively. The two galleries complemented each other as they both celebrated and examined the relationship between the common person and art.
Friday night at the PMA is an enjoyable change of pace from the regular day-trip to the museum. Without membership, the admission to the museum is $20 per adult, and members attend for free. As a student or artist, membership at the PMA is $40, while a regular adult membership is $75. Keep in mind, that a member can bring guests.
If you are a member at the museum, it is a must-go event, as the exhibits come to life in new ways in a night-time setting.
Updated 04/12/18 at 3 p.m.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that tickets for Friday Nights at the PMA event were $95 without a membership and are $10 with a membership. Corrections have since been made. The Triangle regrets these errors.