Opening Our Doors Festival 2017 Returns With More Than 80 Free Events

See special performances from the Huntington Theatre Company and take gallery walks through Boston's finest art institutions for free.

Opening Our Doors Festival

Photo by Ryan McMahon

The 16th annual Opening Our Doors festival returns on Monday, October 9, featuring more than 20 community organizations, youth performers and artists in an effort to give residents an easy way to experience the cultural activities available right in their neighborhoods.

Kelly Brilliant, executive director of the Fenway Alliance and founder of Opening Our Doors, says the festival provides access to “all of the resources and the cultural riches of the Fenway Cultural District to everyone for one day of free activities.”

People can attend more than 80 activities on Monday in a number of locations, including art gallery walks through the Gardner Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, tours of the Back Bay Fens, and returning performances from the Boston Children’s Chorus and Sociedad Latina Youth Alumni Band.

Boston Children's Chorus

Photo by Ryan McMahon

While the Fenway Alliance prioritizes offering family-friendly happenings, this year there will also be acts geared towards young adults and college students at Northeastern’s Krentzman Quad for the first time. Scheduled performances include the Harry Potter Soundtrack Orchestra at 1 p.m. and Berklee’s all-male a capella group, the CharlieChords, at 3:30 p.m.

The American Therapy Booth, an interactive art installation by Julie Ann Otis, is another highlight to visit. Brilliant says attendees will be able to experience live drawing at Evans Way while candidly speaking about their experiences as Americans.

“[Otis] asks people what they want to say to America. It’s very nonjudgmental, nonthreatening, and it doesn’t take any political sides,” Brilliant says. “While they’re responding to her, art is drawn in relation to what they’re saying.”

In addition to music and visual arts, there will also be events for theater lovers. Huntington Theatre Company will have an open house where attendees can see performances from Merrily We Roll Along and speak with the theater’s managing director, Michael Maso, about what’s to come in the 2017-2018 season.

Despite a gloomy, rainy weather forecast, the Fenway Alliance plans to keep all activities up and running. “I’m a little nervous about the weather, but I do want to say it is a rain or shine event,” Brilliant says. “A lot of the activities are easily able to go inside and we move things that are outside indoors.”

Opening Our Doors Fesival

Photo by Ryan McMahon

The festivities kick off at the Christian Science Plaza Monday at 10 a.m. Brilliant says it is a unique opportunity to come together with your community without expense.

“I think in an ever-divisive world—in many ways, including economic ways—to have one day that’s for everyone and cost is not a barrier… I think it’s special,” Brilliant says. “I am very proud that we’ve been able to maintain it as a free day. It’s important to us.”

Opening Our Doors Festival

Photo by Ryan McMahon

Opening Our Doors, Monday, October 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.,