Mix: First Fridays at the Cleveland Museum of Art

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“Caliente!” This was the theme for the Cleveland Museum of Art’s first Friday MIX event.

What made this event particularly exciting was its location – outside the South terrace (entrance), unlike the other events that were housed indoors. The music by Grupo Son Gitano,” emanated throughout University Circle, where I believe, the museum sold more tickets just by people driving by and hearing the Latin beat.

My role for this MIX event was a volunteer greeter; I directed traffic to the many events going on at the museum. Not only was there the MIX event, but also round one of the popular Piano Competition, therefore, there was a bustling of activity at the museum on August 2.

Spiked heels and flowing gowns were the norm as the crowd enthusiastically walked to the enormous atrium to either buy tickets or get a yellow wristband. As a volunteer, you can gauge as people pulled the awkward glass door where they were headed. All I had to say was, “Are you here for the MIX event? Why yes I am! You want to walk straight ahead through the atrium and go left.” There were so many people opening and closing that glass door that the South terrace was going to fill up fast.

People were still coming into the museum well past 7:30 p.m. to buy tickets. “Can we still buy tickets?” We were glad to direct them to the ticket line.

As a few hours went by, I inadvertently told everyone; “Go straight and to the left.” A young couple looked confused; “we came to the museum to look at art.” We definitely have art here where I directed them to all the new galleries through the atrium. Quite frankly, what I enjoy most about the Cleveland Museum of Art is the top quality art that can be seen absolutely “free.”

Cleveland Art Museum - KC McKenna

The band was set up right in front of the large, patina “Thinker” sculpture looking down upon an electrified crowd kicking their heels and moving to the Latin beat.

One volunteer said:

“This is the first time during a MIX event that there was so many people dancing.”

She surmised that the outdoor venue was more intimate where participants didn’t feel out of place moving around the marble platform to the rhythm. Unlike the atrium where it’s so large, many might feel intimidated. Don’t get me wrong, the atrium’s vastness is spectacular; many like myself cannot believe it’s the same museum before the remodel.

I took a break from door duty to see for myself how the crowd was filing into the South entrance. Some of the activities at the event included a table where participants could make a colorful flower to put in their hair or lapel; salsa lessons; and hula-hoops. In fact one of the security guards wore a vibrant, purple flower in his lapel. “Hey,” I said. “Where did you get that giant flower?”

What I can see from the dance floor and the ticket line, the South terrace was transformed, indeed. People were gathered ten deep at the bar line, dancing, and conversing. This flurry of activity reminds me of the museum’s popular Solstice Party where you can just people watch and have an enjoyable time.

Even though I was greeting all the museum visitors, I was exhilarated that so many Northeast Ohioan’s found the Cleveland Museum of Art for their entertainment. The MIX event happens every first Friday but the museum is always open to view “out of this world” art.

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Author: Toni Chanakas

In my Creative Spot blog, I write about what is great about living in Northeast Ohio. There are so many things going on that I want to share all the positives. I have written a few posts on Cool Cleveland and Brewed Fresh Daily as well. I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, that I have to brag about the fantastic Arts and Cultural events going on.