Any arts lover imagines themselves as a frequent attendee of museum exhibits, plays, operas and gallery openings. However, those events tend to not only be expensive, but also a bit stodgy for the traditional Wellesley student. Luckily, Boston is a large city with a large and untraditional arts scene. Boston offers several interesting opportunities for arts lovers that make for a good and relatively inexpensive date night or outing.
Boston Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210
South Station – Red Line, World Trade Center – Silver Line
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the ICA is all sharp glass angles, a drastic departure from the Boston’s well-known colonial architecture. The museum features a cantilevered glass expanse that hovers vertiginously over Boston Harbor. The ICA considers itself “a renegade offspring of the Museum of Modern Art.” An afternoon spent perusing the contemporary art in the ICA is an exciting alternative to a return trip to Boston’s better known Museum of Fine Arts. You don’t need to be an artist or art history major to appreciate the ICA’s offerings. Anyone interested in emotional and interactive art will enjoy the diverse installations. Most importantly, admission to the ICA is free on the first Friday of the month and every Thursday evening.
Boston Poetry Slam
38 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139
Central Square – Red Line
The Cantab Lounge features a poetry slam every Wednesday. There are open-mics for first-time poets and poetry slams where the audience decides on a winner. The poetry slams are based on a singular theme on which each poet performs a piece. Winners of the poetry slams make up a national team that travels the country to represent Boston in competitions. Labored rehearsal and careful vetting of these poems is always apparent during performances. The poets evoke strong emotions, masterfully blending artistry and story telling. Plus, it’s the only place off campus where it’s socially acceptable to snap.
Silver Line Bus – Union Park Street Stop
460C Harrison Avenue
SoWa, shorthand for South of Washington, is a neighborhood in Boston’s South End that’s full of artistic opportunities. Most notably, the SoWa open market has quickly become a summer institution for Boston hipsters. SoWa open market has three main areas: the vintage and artisan section, the farmer’s market and the food trucks. On summer and fall Sundays, local vendors flock to the South End to sell a variety of goods. SoWa offers farmers’ market staples, including organic cheese, breads, homemade sauces and cold brew coffee. The artisan section features independent, local retailers selling items such as candles, soap and jewelry. Between each section of the market are independent art galleries and boutiques. The SoWa market is a great opportunity for anyone looking to experience Boston’s artisan community. One block over from SoWa is a collection of Boston’s food trucks, which offer a variety of cuisines including modern fast-food reinventions and vegan fare.
10 Tyler Street, Somerville, Massachusetts
Near the Harvard Square & Porter Square T stops
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new skill like metalworking, glass blowing or even bike maintenance, try Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville. Artisan’s Asylum is a non-profit community craft studio dedicated to supporting, teaching and practicing a variety of crafts. They offer classes in everything from Robotics to Fiber Arts including weaving, usually on a loom. If you already have an interesting skill and want to share it with others, you can sign up to teach a class. They have two rooms dedicated to classes and a computer lab for design and building classes. Members have unlimited access to a variety of tools owned by the Asylum, but materials are provided for classes available to the public. Artisan’s Asylum is a great place to immerse yourself in creative culture whether you prefer screen-printing or computer hacking.
If you’re looking for alternative sources of entertainment, check out http://www.thebostoncalendar.com/, whose tagline “Boston Events That Don’t Suck” is more accurate than most community calendars. The Boston Calendar features a wide variety of offbeat, interesting events by local artists and performers that you might not have heard about otherwise and that you won’t have to pay monumental fees to get into. These include painting classes, dance performances by local troupes, small plays and talks by famous authors.