Every Friday night the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Great Stair Hall—a breathtaking, open space with a three-story ceiling and impressive columns—transforms into a cocktail party known as Art After 5. A mix of international music, jazz performances and dance create a distinct evening of entertainment. Starr Events offers snacks and light supper options that vary week-to-week, as well as cocktails, wine and beer. Guests can relax at a table with waiter service, or head to the bar.
On any given day at the PMA, tourists and students from around the world follow guides, listen to podcasts and re-create Rocky Balboa’s triumphant run up the museum’s front steps. By day the building is a quiet, reflective and peaceful place to connect to art and history. But after all the museum-goers have trickled out on a Friday, the muted hallways and galleries come to life for a night of drinks, music and art in an unexpectedly chic setting.
Once you’ve grabbed your bites and drinks, sit back and enjoy Art After 5’s winter lineup. On the 20th, Indian Jazz is lined up with violinist Arun Ramamurthy’s trio. The group will blend modern jazz elements with millennia-old pieces known as raga, the foundation for Indian classical compositions. On the 27th, Philly tenor sax legend Larry McKenna will grace the Great Stair Hall with a solo performance. McKenna has performed with some of jazz’s brightest stars including Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and Woody Herman. In January, you can enjoy performances by the Koresh Dance Company, as well as a variety of jazz artists. Finally in February, hit the Valentine’s Day party or check out Kun-Yang Lin and his company of contemporary dancers.
When you’ve had your fill of the eclectic performances, head to the galleries to discover paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery and more. All of these attractions stay open for Art After 5, and guided tours are included in the $20 admission. You can peruse everything from Monet, Rembrandt and Rubens to Strand, Walker and Warhol, without the crowds and kids.
While PMA is famous for its galleries and movie-famous steps, the Art After 5 program is one of the most exciting events that the museum offers. Before you hit up the rest of the city, relax, grab a drink and enjoy a unique museum experience.
image via flickr