Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Solstice Celebration brings Cleveland Museum of Art to life

Summertime in Cleveland is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

Once we Midwesterners have dug out from snow, ice and wind, we embrace summer with verve. The Summer Solstice Celebration at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) embodies the passion for warm months, celebrating the summer solstice, otherwise known as the first day of summer, while beautifully intertwining the fine art and culture of Cleveland.
Photo courtesy of phansticphotos

The Summer Solstice Party at the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the largest parties held at a fine art museum in the Midwest. Well-soled heels kick-off celebration of the longest day of the year in late June (easy to remember for next year! Mark your calendar now, trust me.) Thousands of guests from across the world descend upon the CMA to kick off the summer season with a night-long affair of art, live music, food and cocktails.
Party guests toast a welcome to summer as the clock ticks to midnight. Merrymaking continues well into the witching hours. The event quite literally takes over the entire Cleveland Museum of Art including galleries, the front lawn and everywhere in between. On June 26 this year, I attended my first Cleveland Museum of Art Summer Solstice Celebration. It surpassed my expectations, set high by the passionate stories spun by friends. Allow me to paint a portrait of the evening by first saying this is NOT your typical museum fundraising experience. It's exponentially more fun.

What To Expect at Summer Solstice Celebration at Cleveland Museum of Art?

Summer Solstice Celebration Gate Times (or as I call it, Levels of Fun)

Eventide 6pm to 2am

General admission = $175
CMA members = $125
Includes Mediterranean style hors d'oeuvers and open bar.
Audience: Refined, distinguished. Guests feel that they're truly part of a benefit for the Cleveland Museum.

GATE TIME #2: Twilight 7:30 to 2am

General admission = $60 per person
CMA members = $40
Includes Latin American style hors d'oeuvers and cash bar.
Audience: Younger guests mingle with earlier crowd.

GATE TIME #3 Solstice, 10pm to 2am

Advance = $15 per person
Limited availability $20 tickets at the door (Never seen any available at the door. It sells out every year.)

Includes snacks and cash bar.
Audience: Look - it starts at 10pm. You can do the math.

Piazza Party and World-Class Live Music

Photo courtesy of CMA website.

Some would consider the outdoor "lawn party" and concert stage hosting world-class musicians as the epicenter of Summer Solstice Celebration. Select galleries within the museum are open - more on that shortly - but the "celebration" is arguably outside.
A full-scale stage, complete with intricate concert style lighting and a top-notch sound-system, is constructed at the ceremonial entrance of the Museum.

Courtesy of CMA website.

There are marble stairs and veranda, providing a perch perfect for people watching. The enormous patio accommodates the crowd that gathers in front of the pop-up stage. The space is transformed into a pop-up concert venue and the musicians that perform embrace the nature of experience.

The best performance was Mucca Puzza. An attempt to summarize their music (if the photos don't quite paint the picture)....Consider Mucca Puzza a very cool, hipster circus marching band.

A full line-up of the world-class musicians is profiled over at my friend’s blog, Cleveland’s A Plum.

Being the Cleveland Museum of Art, no detail is missed in creating an optical playground for guests.
Performers took to lighted and raised platforms throughout the audience.

Cleveland Museum of Art Gallery Tours
If you know me, you know I love to travel. I’m ashamed to say I’ve not yet gotten my passport. The Museum gives anyone the chance to travel the world through art. Cross the globe through the museum’s new galleries of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, medieval and African art.

The CMA is known as having one of the best collections in the entire world. A multi-million dollar transformation of the Museum over course of several years, while some may have been seen as a challenge, haven proven results as simply breath taking.
Wall Street Journal expounds upon the multi-phase project with more eloquence (plus fabulous photos.) Summer Solstice Celebration gives you the chance see the CMA makeover of the West Wing in mouth-gaping awe.he entire renovation is slated to be complete in 18 months and it will become a beacon of architectural showmanship when the unveiling is complete.

Have you booked your calendar for June 2012 for Cleveland Museum of Art's Summer Solstice Celebration?

No, that's not me. That's the Mucca Pazza cheerleader.
Consider this my cheering you to join the Summer Solstice Celebration in 2012. I'll be there.

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