‘Midwinter Tropics’ Kicks Off Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Patrons get their hands dirty, listen to Caribbean fusion, and walk out with their own pint-sized masterpiece.

Third Thursdays Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Thursday night kicked off this year’s Third Thursdays series at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (Photo by Margaret Burdge)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum brought Boston’s art lovers out of the cold and into the “Midwinter Tropics” on Thursday night.

The first installment of this year’s Third Thursdays had patrons drawing on the walls, getting a miniature masterpiece painted on their nails, and taking part in many tropics-inspired events while exploring the museum after hours. The addition of the New Wing of the museum about two years ago brought with it the newly revamped event series with double the space for double the activities.

The series, with events on the third Thursday of the month, gives art enthusiasts a chance to experience the museum in a new and interactive way. The evening offers gallery talks, games, and even a chance to tap into your own creative side in the Gardner’s new studio. Visitors can spend Thursday nights listening to music over drinks and discussing the different works highlighted each month.

Take a look at highlights from last night’s first Third Thursday of 2014:

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

In the new educational studio on the first floor of the New Wing, patrons were encouraged to get dirty. Each guest was allowed to choose a box, fill it with potting medium, and then cover it with mesh and add an assortment of succulents.

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

The succulents used to make these miniature gardens tied into the tropical theme of the night, as guests worked with plants typically suited to a warmer climate.

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

This miniature masterpiece was part of the Modernist Manicures section of the night. This particular work was based off of a painting by Franz Kline.

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

“It’s almost like having a pen pal,” said Modernist Manicurist Victoria Shen (above) of her relationship with the repeat clients who come to many of her events. “There’s a delay between visits, but we just pick up where we left off.” Shen spent much of the night getting to know the people whose nails she decorated.

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

The “flagship nail,” as Shen described it, based on the work of Piet Mondrian, is one of her specialties. Shen studied at nail school and worked in a salon for a while, but is most inspired by these works. Shen presents Modernist Manicures mostly at pop-ups, bringing exposure to her designs.

third thursdays isabella stewart gardner museum

Photo by Margaret Burdge

The Palace held many of the night’s events, centering the tropical vibe around the beautiful blooms in the historic courtyard. Three spotlight talks illuminated the Gardner’s collections, patrons sipped on custom cocktails and pineapple sparklers, and guests enjoyed electronic music from DJ Adam Gibbons. Throughout the galleries in the historical section, visitors participated in the “Zoom” scavenger hunt. After collecting clues and stickers at each of three works selected within the night’s theme, participants were entered in a drawing for a prize at the end of the night.

 

Third Thursdays take place every third Thursday of the month at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 Fenway, Boston, 617-566-1401, gardnermuseum.org. The next Third Thursday event is February 20 at 5:30 p.m. The theme is “Becoming a Bostonian.”

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