Cupid beckons Baltimore singles to Walters Art Museum on Valentine’s Day - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Cupid beckons Baltimore singles to Walters Art Museum on Valentine’s Day

For Woody Allen, finding love at an art museum became something of a comical cliche.  While museums do tend to attract a more sophisticated, cultured crowd, that cute co-ed in the cardigan may just be sporting more baggage than her stylish satchel.

Last Thursday night, the Walters Art Museum here in Baltimore threw a Valentine’s Day soiree called, “Love is in the Art.”  From 5-9 p.m., the gallery opened its doors to people – single or otherwise attached – for an evening of canoodling with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music and dancing, chocolates and self-guided museum tours.  The event, which drew almost 1,300 people, was an expanded edition of the Walters’ after-hours program, Constellation Thursday Nights.

Walters party - busts

Busts at the Walters Art Museum.

Sponsored by Constellation Energy, Constellation Thursday Nights allow those who work in town during regular business hours, or who might otherwise not have time for a daylight visit, an opportunity to get a bite in the new café, do a little gift shopping in the museum store or take in the museum’s ample aggregation.

The Walters Art Museum is internationally renowned for its extensive art collection.  The collection encompasses world art from ancient Egypt to modern Europe, and counts among its treasures Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi; an impressive assemblage of Old Master paintings and 19th-century European and American masterpieces.  For the ladies, there is Art Nouveau jewelry and for the men, medieval armor and intricately carved ivories.

Events like “Love is in the Art” help allay what some perceive as the elitist nature of the typical art museum audience.  Matt Fry, director of marketing at the Walters Art Museum, said that the museum’s staff was overwhelmed with the turn-out for the party and already was looking ahead to the fall.  “We’re considering some of the possibilities for a fall event; a Halloween Party would be a natural for October.  In the meantime, we’re looking at the other night, to see what we did right or wrong and thinking of ways in which to improve.”

One thing the theme party did get right was attract an exuberant, diverse crowd.

Apollo

Even Apollo wanted to dance.

A smartly dressed couple named Andrew and Heather were enjoying the relative quiet of the ivory hall while spending their first Valentine’s Day together.  The couple told the Baltimore Post-Examiner they had actually had their very first date earlier in the week.  Both said they had previously toured the Walters but agreed the party would make for an enjoyable night out.

Another party-goer on hand for the event was a single, twenty-something secretary named Carol.  Carol said she wasn’t dating anyone at the moment, but after being stuck in a windowless cubicle at work, she just wanted to get out and dance.

Other attendees shared similar feelings during breaks from the driving techno music, including one high-spirited couple known to this reporter: Amanda McCormick and Joseph Young.  McCormick is a fellow poet and an upstart publisher; Young is a highly regarded poet and writer.

The literary couple, who laughingly described their personal relationship as “whatever,” said they arrived late for the festivities but were glad they had made it.

“It’s a nice touch,” McCormick said, “to be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the museum with hot hors d’oeuvres and assorted drinks available.  We were here for only a few minutes before someone offered me a cupcake!”  One negative, McCormick noted, was the seeming shortness of the event.  “I think this should have gone on till midnight.  People are just getting in the mood to dance at nine.”

Angelica and Medoro

Angelica and Medoro

Medoro

Young, who appeared ready for more music, agreed with McCormick’s sentiments.  But he added, “I think parties like this are an excellent way to bring the community in; to bring them together.  It helps to make art social.”

For those who needed a bit more time on the dance floor, an after party was held a few blocks north of the Walters at The Red Maple.

Dylan Kinnett, the social media director for the Walters Art Museum, told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that it was, “really nice to see the huge crowd,” for the Love event but wanted to remind people that the museum is open every Thursday evening from 5-9 p.m.  “The great thing about Thursday nights,” Kinnett said, “is that people can see everything, even special exhibitions, for free.”

General admission to the Walters Art Museum is always free; however most limited attractions are paid ticketed events.

Some upcoming events at the Walters include:

Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue – an exhibit which  focuses on an intricately decorated and inscribed wood panel believed to have come from the famous Ben Ezra synagogue of Old Cairo (Fostat), Egypt.  The door was discovered, not in the sandy dunes of the Sahara, but rather at an estate sale in Florida in the early 1990’s.  The selling price at the estate sale for this eleventh century gem?  $37.50.

Intercambio offers tours in English and in Spanish which allow those presently learning Spanish to expand their lexicon with art and language.

The Chamber of Art and Wonders tour offers patrons one of the most interesting galleries in the museum. This display replicates a 17th century collection of art works and natural wonders from around the world.

All of these events may be experienced for free on selected dates which may be found here.

Happenings such as “Love is in the Art” are just one of the ways culture-minded singles and couples may enjoy a relaxing evening of socializing with kindred spirits.  And for those searching for romance, what better place to do it than in the shadow of Angelica and Medoro?  Art, in all its beauty, has a way of fanning the flames of desire.  Just beware of that cute co-ed in the cardigan.


About the author

Anthony C. Hayes

Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony's poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, "Thou shalt not steal." Contact the author.
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