Pin It

Final Fridays at the IMA 

There's a certain crowd associated with art museums. It's a mix of older, wealthier people and art students studying the greats. They tend to wander the galleries, quietly murmuring in appreciation (or in the case of the art students, sketching in silence). As one of the oldest and largest galleries in the country, the IMA has a broad reach and big cultural footprint in the city. Still the stereotypes persist.

Except of course on Final Fridays.

On the last Friday of every month, the second floor of the IMA transforms from a staid gallery of some of the world's best art into party (still with some of the world's best art). DJ Kyle Long has partnered with Preston Bautista, the IMA's deputy director of public programs and audience engagement to bring a different scene to the city's premier art museum.

"So the tag line is: live music, cash bar, great art," says Bautista, "what more could you want?"

Bautista is a recent transplant from Baltimore, where he worked as Director of Public Programming at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Final Fridays are his way to "switch up the perception of the museum," he says. "There are places where you can experience art with your friends. I want to expand experiences at the IMA so that it's not always passive spectatorship."

To that end Final Fridays are a big departure from the stereotypes. For one, there are cash bars on the second floor where patrons can grab a drink before joining one of a number of tours provided throughout the museum. Most Final Fridays have at least a loose theme centered around a visiting exhibition or a common element in the museum's collection. The tours tend to highlight that theme, as do the musical acts chosen by Long in his role as guest curator, and the interactive art-making offerings that accompany each Final Friday.

In May, for example, "everything is going to be Ai Wei Wei," says Bautista, referencing the up-coming exhibition by the famed Chinese artist and dissident. "The band that's playing is going to be inspired by Ai Wei Wei, and the activity will be too."

March's Final Friday drew a big crowd, over a thousand people had come in by 8pm when dance-rock band Party Lines had come on stage for the night's live music. The fading light painted the Sunset Bar on the fourth floor in shades of gold while early guests mingled. Dozens went on each of the guided tours throughout the galleries, laughing along with animated docents who provided context and trivia for select pieces in the large collection.

Ben Risinger of Do It Indy was in attendance, his first Final Friday, enjoying Sun King brews and taking in the art. "I love it man," Risinger said, "this is great - bringing in people for music and drinks with the art? It's fantastic." 

  • Pin It

Speaking of Final Fridays, Indianapolis Museum Of Art

  • The Show Must Go On

    Performers share their tips to avert disaster on stage and on the road, whether due to technical difficulties or impromptu illnesses.
    • Feb 16, 2016
  • Best of the Rest: Jan. 22, 2016

    Take a look at the other arts and entertainment stories that made news in and around Indy this week.
    • Jan 22, 2016
  • Positive Impressions

    Ben chats with IMA’s artist-in-residence about introducing the process of woodblock printmaking to the masses.
    • Jan 10, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Nate the Great Returns

    Starting Thursday, Artrageous with Nate joins PBS Digital Studios’ lineup to bring the fun and fascination of the arts -- science, history and technology -- to youth.
    • Jan 6, 2016
  • Tunnel Vision

    Indiana Department of Transportation could take lessons from Dutch artist Herman Kuijer, who executed his bright idea of underpass art installations in the Netherlands.
    • Dec 31, 2015

About The Author

Mike Potter

Mike Potter

Bio:
Production Editor Mike Potter is a big fan of magazines. When he isn't designing, photographing, writing or developing, he likes to try formulating a better author bio.

More by Mike Potter

  • Don't Wanna Miss An American Idiot

    The Phoenix Theatre brings the musical adaptation of Green Day's multi-platinum album to life in the two-time Tony Award-winning musical.
    • Jun 9, 2015
  • Turn Your Head and Laugh

    Purdue graduate Jon Spelman returns to Indiana to share his story of masculinity in the face of prostate cancer.
    • Jan 9, 2015
  • Gaming without Guilt

    Ditch Angry Birds and the like for some of today's more cerebral selections that blur the line between video games and art.
    • Dec 25, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Public

  • The Last Straw

    Jim Poyser’s Strawbale merges art and science in a simple way to increase environmental awareness and support Indy’s waterways.
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • Nate the Great Returns

    Starting Thursday, Artrageous with Nate joins PBS Digital Studios’ lineup to bring the fun and fascination of the arts -- science, history and technology -- to youth.
    • Jan 6, 2016
  • Tunnel Vision

    Indiana Department of Transportation could take lessons from Dutch artist Herman Kuijer, who executed his bright idea of underpass art installations in the Netherlands.
    • Dec 31, 2015
  • More »
© 2017 CICF
Twitter
Facebook
Privacy Policy
Contact Us:
P: 317.634.2423   F: 317.684.0943
info@skybluewindow.org
Central Indiana Community Foundation
615 N. Alabama St. #119
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-1431
Sky Blue Window is presented by:

Website powered by Foundation