Making Noise for Art’s Sake

The Montclair Art Museum will host a centennial bash on January 15 featuring food trucks, live music, a cash bar and gallery tours.

Celebrating a Century: In honor of its 100th year, the Montclair Art Museum will showcase works from its extensive permanent collection, including the Delaware Water Gap, left, an 1857 oil painting by George Inness.
Photo Courtesy of Montclair Art Museum: Gift of Mrs. F.G. Herman Fayen in memory of Mr. Fayen

Because the Montclair Art Museum is celebrating its 100th birthday this month, director Lora Urbanelli won’t object if visitors temporarily set aside their inclination to speak in hushed tones during walk-throughs.

“We want to make a lot of noise, and we’re counting on the community to help us,” she says.

The jolly and leather-lunged will be especially welcome January 15, when the museum opens its doors for what Urbanelli hopes will be a rollicking bash.

“We’re going to have food trucks, a cash bar, artists’ presentations, gallery tours”—and live music, including the jazz band from Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music and the Newark Boys Chorus, Urbanelli says.

The party, free and open to the public, is modeled after the museum’s successful First Thursday Nights program, during which the public can roam the galleries and listen to live music free of charge. Urbanelli says First Thursdays—the first Thursday of each month—typically attract 700 visitors. She expects the centennial bash to draw around 1,000.

In spirit, the party also blows kisses to the founders of the museum, the collector William T. Evans and the heiress Florence Osgood Rand Lang. (Evans donated works that seeded the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., in addition to the Montclair Art Museum.)

“They wanted this area to have a cultural center and a cultural heart,” Urbanelli says. “We want to continue that, but in an updated way, with wide open arms and accessibility.”

The centennial celebration includes “100 Works for 100 Years,” an exhibit of highlights from the museum’s 12,000-object permanent collection, including paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper. The exhibit, which has rolled out in phases since September, will open in its entirety January 15 and run through July.

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