Museum of Fine Arts Blog – Boston Duck Tours Back entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts
Image courtesy of mfa.org

One of my favorite places to visit in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts – this massive museum originally opened on July 4, 1876 (the nation’s centennial) and the museum’s collection has nearly 500,000 works of art! You can spend as much or as little time as you desire wandering around the museum– there are permanent collections of work on display that I can return to as well as over 16 rotating exhibitions that change constantly and provide a brand new experience each time I visit. You can walk around on your own using their free map, or get a Mobile Guide (free for visitors who are deaf or blind) in which a selection of collection highlights are narrated in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and ASL – you can choose from a variety of different tours included one specifically geared towards children!

The permanent collections of the MFA include Art of the Americas, Art of Europe, Art of Asia, Art of Africa and Oceania, Art of the Ancient World, Photography, Prints & Drawings, Musical Instruments, a textiles collection, and even a jewelry collection. There is also a collection of Contemporary Art including even performance art: The MFA is actually one of the first encyclopedic museums in the US to fully integrate performance art into its collection, exhibitions, and programs – like performances that unfold in the Museum’s galleries and engage with its collection, works that form part of cross-media contemporary art exhibitions, as well as interventions that appear in unexpected spaces inside or outside of the Museum itself.

In addition to the permanent collections, the Museum offers over 16 different exhibitions at a time that stay for limited periods of time before making room for another visiting exhibition. These are what make the MFA a new experience each time, even for people like me who live locally, and there are a wide variety of current exhibitions that may peak your interest at the MFA right now: For example, “Matisse in the Studio” is the first major international exhibition to examine the importance of 20th century painter Henri Matisse’s personal collection of objects, which he believed was instrumental and inspirational to his studio practice. There is also an exhibition titled “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine” a collection of works by famous Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, it is apparently the “largest and most important display of Botticelli’s works in the United States.” An exhibition titled “New Women for a New Age: Japanese Beauties, 1890s-1930’s examines the changing image of Japanese women through prints, book illustrations, and photographs made in Japan. There is even a new exhibit titled “David Ortiz: King of the Diamond” with all of David Ortiz World Series Championship rings on display for those Boston sports fans out there!

With all of these collections and exhibitions, as well as special events like studio art classes and lectures, you can absolutely find something at the MFA that sparks your interest. You can get some sustenance from one of the four dining options located at the museum, and you can grab a gift to take home at one of the 3 gift shops – no matter what exhibitions you check out, it will definitely be worth your time. The Museum is open 7 days a week, children under 6 are always free and children ages 7-17 are free on weekends and after 3 on weekdays.

SOWA Boston Blog – Boston Duck Tours SoWa Art & Design District: SoWa is SoWawesome!

SOWA market vendors on a sunny day Image courtesey of http://www.sowaboston.com/

The SoWa Art & Design District is a great place to check out in Boston if you’re looking for a fun outing to do some shopping, see some art, eat some great food, and enjoy live music. SoWa Boston is a community of artist studios, contemporary art galleries, boutiques, design showrooms, and restaurants. Originally named from a shortening of “South of Washington,” it used to just be a bunch of neglected warehouses in Boston’s South End, but has now turned into a world-renowned arts, retail, and lifestyle destination. In 2015, SoWa was actually ranked #2 in USA Today’s 10 Best Art Districts in the country.

Most widely known and frequented by locals and tourists alike in the warmer weather is the SoWa Open Market: Over 150 vendors, live music, and thousands of visitors from across New England make it the largest outdoor market in Boston! The award-winning SoWa Open Market has some of the region’s best handmade artisan goods, fresh farm products, specialty foods, iconic food trucks, and craft beers: the Food Truck Bazaar brings 10-15 of Boston’s best food trucks to the massive parking lot of the market and you can sample all kinds of culinary creations – additionally there is an outdoor Beer Garden where you can enjoy an array of hand picked craft beers, wines and weekly featured brewers! Walking through the Arts Market you can check out 75-100 carefully curated artisans selling quality handmade goods like jewelry, paintings, apparel, home goods, photography, ceramics and more. Then you can head over to the Farmer’s market to fill your shopping bag with a weekly supply of fresh produce, meats, jams, brownies, and more. You can find the SoWa Open Market at 450-460 Harrison Ave. every Saturday and Sunday, April 29 – October 29, 10 am – 4 pm.

They also have special events that happen like DIY days where you can participate in free art workshops, as well as an upcoming Vegan Food and Craft Beer Festival. A regular event takes place known as “SoWa First Fridays”: on the first Friday of every month from 5pm-9pm, over 90 artists & galleries throughout SoWa stage their new shows, featuring the works of emerging and established painters, photographers, and sculptors and open their doors up to the public. In addition, there is the SoWa Art Walk, an annual art festival held each spring which enables many artists to present their works and host open studios: you can meet the artists in their studios, view the latest gallery exhibits, and enjoy an immersive art experience. Finally, there is the SoWa Vintage Market: open year round every Sunday and Saturdays 11-4 during the Open Market Season – you can stop in and every week find a new selection of antiques and vintage collectibles, art, fashion, jewelry, furnishings, and other goodies! If you’re looking for a fun weekend outing for the whole family, SoWa is SoWawesome!!!